Rich brown hair color is undeniably timeless, but even classic hair trends require the occasional upgrade. For devoted brunettes craving a slightly warmer, lighter hue, honey brown hair fits the bill. This medium-brown color's sunkissed, golden undertones brighten up monotone brown locks without straying too far from your roots (or going too heavy on the bleach).
Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about indulging in honey brown hair color, plus 35 different ways to try the trending shade yourself.
What color is honey brown hair?
Honey brown hair is a warm, medium-to-light brown hair color infused with golden to red undertones. Like actual honey, which can range in color from pale yellow to dark amber, honey brown hair is versatile. Some classic versions of the sumptuous shade include warm bronde, gilded caramel, and illuminated bronze. A professional colorist can help you find a variation of honey brown that best flatters your skin tone and undertones.
How do you get honey highlights on brown hair?
To achieve honey brown hair with highlights, your colorist will lighten strands via a traditional highlighting or balayage technique, then tone the areas of lifted hair to your desired shade. While bleach will always cause some damage, a professional stylist will tailor the process to your hair type to help minimize potential harm. That’s why we always recommend consulting a licensed hairdresser for hair color transformations, no matter how big or small.
How do you care for honey brown hair?
While honey brown generally requires less maintenance than other shades, such as platinum blonde or cowgirl copper, it’s still important to pack your routine with products formulated for color-treated hair to preserve your hue. Here’s how:
Pick up a color care system.
First, we suggest swapping your regular shampoo and conditioner with a color-safe system like the Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner. The acidic duo helps balance hair’s pH levels for enhanced color vibrancy and shine between salon appointments.
Neutralize unwanted brass.
Honey brown hair color has purposeful hints of orange and red, but if your hair starts skewing brassier than you’d like, a blue shampoo can tone it down. Our pick is Matrix’s Brass Off Shampoo. Blue-violet pigments in the formula work to neutralize brassy tones in dark blonde and light brunette hair.
Use a moisturizing mask.
Often, the bleaching and coloring process can make your strands feel a bit dry and brittle. Add a weekly moisturizing hair mask to your routine to help transform the look and feel of your hair. We love Pureology’s Hydrate Superfood Treatment, which boosts shine while intensely moisturizing hair with essential nutrients.
Protect hair from heat.
Those committed to hot styling should note that the damaging effects of heat can dim their color’s vibrancy. We recommend investing in a heat protectant like the Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer to guard hair against heat, add volume, and provide long-lasting control.
Who does honey brown hair work best for?
There’s no one way to try honey brown hair; the versatile shade can be customized to flatter nearly any skin tone or undertone. A pro can create a unique color based on your desired maintenance level, skin tone, and starting base color.
Whether you opt for a full head of honey brown hair with highlights or a honey brown balayage, the color is the perfect transition into natural-looking sunkissed hair any time of year. Keep scrolling for 35 of our favorite ways to lean into this luxe-looking hue.
35 Honey Brown Hair Color Ideas to Warm Up Your Brunette
Brown Hair with Honey Highlights
Look to highlights whenever you want to edge into a new hue without going overboard. Shimmering honey highlights help bring warmth and dimension to your base without committing to all-over color.
Golden Honey Brown
Channel the magic of “golden hour” by adding a hint of gold to your honey brown hair. If you’re tan or have naturally dark skin, the added warmth will make you look like a beachy goddess—even in the dead of winter.
Honey Brown Balayage
Despite new hair coloring techniques popping up, balayage will always have a place in our hearts (and on our heads). A honey brown balayage is the ultimate way to brighten your lengths. The freehand-painting technique gradually lightens hair from mid-lengths to ends, keeping root touch-ups to a minimum.
Sandy Brown With Honey Highlights
Warmer hair colors can sometimes wash out cooler complexions, but your colorist can manipulate them to enhance your skin tone. Case in point: Infusing ashy, sandy brown into your honey blonde creates the perfect cool-toned mix that’ll add vitality to fair skin.
Honey Brown to Honey Blonde Ombré
The only thing better than one honeyed hair color is two. For a look that combines honey blonde with honey brunette, ask your colorist for a classic ombré: darker honey brown roots that fade into honey brown at the ends. It’s similar to a balayage, but the contrast created by an ombré is more dramatic.
Honey Brown Midlights
The midlight technique, created by Redken brand ambassador Matt Rez, involves seamlessly melting your highlight color with your base color for a natural, non-streaky look. You can learn more about the method in our complete guide to midlights.
Hidden Honey Brown Highlights
Go covert with honey brown highlights hidden in the middle layers of your hair. The peekaboo highlights will stay hidden when your hair is down but pop beautifully in updos or styles with lots of movement.
Chocolate Honey Brown
Chocolate brown hair is a classic fall and winter color. You can add rich honey brown highlights throughout for a lighter, more modern take on the timeless hue.
Honey Brown With Face-Framing Highlights
Still trying to decide whether to commit to a full head of honey brown hair with highlights? Ask your colorist about face-framing highlights. They will strategically lighten the strands around your face to brighten your complexion while leaving your base color untouched.
Amber Honey Brown
To add even more depth to your honey brown hue, opt for touches of amber throughout your hair. This warm, reddish variation of honey brown pops against medium to dark skin tones.
Honey Brown Curly Hair
Honey brown is a dimensional shade, and curls play up that tonal quality. Visiting a licensed colorist for your honey glow-up is the best way to maintain your curl pattern, even after a round of bleach.
Honey Brown Bob
The demand for short strands isn’t going anywhere any time soon. A bob haircut is the trendiest way to show off your honey-dipped locks. Not to mention, a significant chop removes damaged ends for healthier-looking and -feeling hair.
Dark Honey Brown Hair
Enhance your hair’s depth and richness by opting for a deep brunette shade with a subtle hint of honey brown. To help show off the nuances of your subtle color, invest in a spritz like Redken’s Shine Flash Spray. The non-greasy, anti-frizz shine spray adds a sleek, glass-like shine to hair.
Ultra Subtle Honey Brown Highlights
Tap into your inner beach babe with honey babylights. The barely-there highlights mimic the way natural brown hair lightens after a day spent in the sun.
Rich Auburn Honey Brown
Before committing to a bolder color like cowgirl copper, try adding honeyed auburn streaks to your brunette hair for a wearable wash of warmth.
Honey Brown and Champagne Balayage
Combine two of this year's biggest hair trends—honey brown and champagne blonde—for a dimensional color worthy of a toast.
“I love this combo because it kicks out the brass while still giving champagne vibes,” says Kelsey Brogan, the stylist behind the hue pictured above. “I glossed with Shades EQ Hair Gloss 09GI Hamptons + 09NB Irish Creme + 08V Iridescent Quartz.” Shades EQ Hair Gloss is a demi-permanent dye that tones hair, adds a sheer wash of color, conditions strands, and promotes shine.
Honey Caramel Brown Hair
Have your colorist weave bright golden, honey, and caramel tones throughout a neutral brown base to give tresses a multi-dimensional glow.
Light Honey Brown Hair
Transitioning between shades requires lots of patience and trips to the salon. Fortunately, this medium honey brown hair color can ease the in-between period. The almost-copper shade brims with red undertones, so remember to let your stylist know you’re okay with that.
Light Honey Brown Money Piece
It’s understandable to have hesitations before coloring virgin hair. But you don’t need to take the plunge all at once. A light honey brown money piece (a chunky face-framing highlight) can help you dip your toes into the world of color without altering too much of your natural hue.
Dark Honey Brown Money Piece
Or, go a tad darker via a dark honey brown money piece. No matter which shade you choose, money pieces are extra blended at the root, allowing them to grow out easily when you’re ready to try something new.
Honey Brown With Extra Contrast
A white money piece paired with a honey brown to blonde balayage brings drama to a shorter haircut. Keep in mind that white hair color is especially susceptible to dryness, so you’ll want to use products containing hyaluronic acid (a natural humectant) to help replenish moisture levels. You’ll find this hydrator in Kérastase’s Blond Absolu 2% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum,
Bronze Honey Brown
Bronze honey brown is as warm-toned and sunkissed as honey brown can get. We love this shade against medium and dark skin tones.
Medium Honey Brown
Not too light and not too dark, medium honey brown is just right. If bangs are part of your final look, keep them a shade or two darker than the rest of your hair to create unexpected contrast. Check out our article on How to Find the Best Bangs for Your Face Shape to help guide you to your most flattering fringe.
Honey Bronde Hair
Play up more of your blonde side with honey bronde, which gives you warm notes of both blonde and brown in one blended look.
Honey Brown Hair Ribbons
Get a modern taste of Y2K’s chunky highlight trend with the hair ribboning technique. Your colorist will apply honey brown highlights on larger swaths of hair to imitate how ribbon weaves through fabric. The resulting brightness creates tons of depth and movement within your mane.
Chestnut With Honey Brown
Chestnut hair is a cold-weather staple, but colorists are always dreaming up new ways to make it enticing year-round. Blended, honey brown highlights are a great way to infuse some lightness into the deeper hair color. Honey-flecked streaks break up the reddish-brown base for an iridescent finish.
Honey Golden Brown
Honey golden brown is slightly warmer in nature than a regular honey brown. We advise working your way up to this lighter hue over time to spare your darker locks an intense bleach session.
Auburn Honey Bronde Balayage
Refresh your medium auburn mane with hand-painted bands of shimmering honey bronde throughout.
Honey Brown Lowlights On Blonde
Achieving a cool, super-light blonde takes a lot of bleach (and time in the salon chair). When you’re eager to switch up your look but want to minimize damage, opt for honey lowlights to enrich your blonde base. Lowlights often use demi-permanent or permanent hair color to shift hair’s hue, which can be less damaging than a bleached highlight.
Rich Brownie With Honey Brown Sheen
Brunettes can stay true to their roots by adding low-maintenance ambery highlights—without all the lift. A blunt, inverted lob brings some edge to the final ‘do.
Dark Brown With Coppery Honey Brown
Coppery brown highlights perfectly complement ultra-rich brunette shades, adding warmth without altering your color too much.
Onyx Black With Honey Brown
Even the darkest shades of hair can pull off honey brown, though there’s a caveat: The darker your base, the higher the possibility of brassiness once you lighten it. Fend off the unwanted undertones by adding a neutralizing mask like Matrix’s Brass Off into your hair care routine once a week.
Honey Brown Babylights
Get that ultra-blended finish (no matter your base color) with honey brown babylights. The fine, natural-looking highlights add dimension without dramatically brightening your hair.
All-Over Honeyed Hair
The opposite of babylights is all-over highlights that almost overtake your natural brown. It’s a fresh, summery look that can flatter many skin tones and undertones.
Copper Honey Brown
This hair color is a harmonious mix of honey brown and copper. It’s bright, warm, and happy—and in our experience, wearing it can make you feel that way, too.
Interested in trying honey brown hair color? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.