Light brown hair is the middle child of the salon world. Raven-haired ladies get all the dates, and blondes have all the fun. What does that leave for the girl who’s right in the middle? This may be a controversial opinion, but we’re here to tell you that light brown hair (and its popular cousin ash blonde) is better than either extreme.
Ashy shades invite experimentation, blending well with pastels and silver accents. On the other hand, warm neutrals flatter all skin tones and play well with red hues. Scroll down to take a look at our very favorite light brown hair color ideas for every skin tone and eye color.
True Light Brown
Pure light brown is a criminally overlooked shade on the hair color spectrum. It’s nutty and neutral, so understated that it's a perfect fit in today’s minimalist fashion world. Unlike the flashy golden blondes of years past, light brown never goes out of style.
Whether or not you choose this shade for the name alone, we guarantee you’ll be satisfied. (You’ll really want a snack, too.)
Imagine a rich, warm brown hair color that’s not quite as dark as chestnut, but not as bright as a light amber. That glorious shade is walnut, which makes up for its decidedly unsexy name in shine and depth. As an added bonus, it's beautiful on every hair type.
Not every shade of brown is named after some kind of food, we promise. If you’re looking for a warm brown that’s not quite as red as walnut, we totally stand by hazelnut as your best option.
If that’s too close to becoming a redhead for your liking, dial your copper down a notch. Have your stylist apply the shade as a very subtle highlight throughout the hair and maintain a dark base color.
To get this style right, ask for your stylist to hand paint the blonde into your hair, starting around the mid-lengths. That way, you’ll still get to keep the face-framing light brown that flatters your complexion while simultaneously seeing the benefits of going blonde.
There are two ways to tackle peekaboo color: subtle or entirely the opposite. If you’re aiming for under-the-radar peekaboos, red, blonde, and dark chocolate shades work beautifully as hidden hair color underneath your light brown.
Decades ago, hair that looked anything less than salon perfect was an absolute no-go. These days, undone is the new impeccable. Celebrity hair stylists have built entire careers on the visible roots look, one that implies you’re way too busy to spend hours in the salon chair.
Soft Purple Ends
Here’s another take on the pastel trend, one that doesn’t involve dunking your entire head in bleach and hoping for the best. Instead, we like the look of ashy lavender ends on light brown hair.
Like pastels, ash brown has seen its own windfall of popularity. The shade’s casually cool undertones appeal to off-duty models and Instagram influencers, meaning the rest of the world can’t wait to follow suit.
Here’s another shade that deserves to breeze down a runway. If you’re a lady with medium or dark skin, then golden brown is a perfect choice for any season. The light shade incorporates notes of red and honey, resulting in a look that’s all bronzed bombshell.
Let us introduce you to brown sugar, an absolutely no-fail shade. It’s multi-tonal and lovely, creating the illusion of extra thick, voluminous hair.
While honey hair color looks flawless on just about everyone, we particularly like it on long hair. The multifaceted hue looks extra good when it can move and catch the light.
Our favorite hair colors are nearly always those that seem to have the most depth. Nobody wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a fresh color only to find that it’s seriously underwhelming. That’s why caramel hair is so good!
If we're totally honest, chocolate is a shade that mostly makes us very hungry. Growling stomachs aside, this delightful color neatly edges its way into the light brown category. It’s primarily a balanced brunette that gets its depth from soft light brown notes.
Light brown and gingery red are a match made in salon heaven. The two shades share toasty warm notes, making them an ideal duo for any head of hair. We like to see the secondary tone applied as ombre, fading gently from cocoa to orange-red.
Take this opportunity to try out a moody auburn alongside your standard brown shade. You’ll be impressed at how much a small formula tweak can change the way you feel about your hair.
To achieve this shade, ask your stylist for a light brown that’s tailored to fit the warm or cool undertones in your complexion. If possible, we like to suggest a few lighter sections around the face.
If you’re interested in rose gold-influenced light brown hair, talk to your hair stylist about the coolest possible iteration of the shade. Rose gold looks spectacular on light and medium skin tones, in particular.
Chestnut hair combines the best of light and dark brown hair in a single ‘do. We love it as a transitional color for fall.
Not big on high maintenance hair color? We feel you. Try an ombre instead—it’ll grow out without a visible line of demarcation, which means you can last longer between touch-ups.
We love this shade for rosy complexions, primarily because the color features plenty of red notes. It’s the perfect transitional shade for fall or winter.
Warm shades make a flattering duo, and a blended dip dye is surprisingly neutral. We’d call this a no-fail way to try out new hair color while still maintaining darker roots.
With mahogany base notes and light brown highlights, you really can have it all. This is how you do dark brown without overwhelming your complexion.
The shade incorporates notes of light brown and buttery blonde over dark roots, resulting in a perfect brunette shade for spring. If you’re looking for an extra sexy shade of light brown, caramel is your new go-to.
A minimalistic shade like light brown looks extra modern when it’s on short hair. Don’t be afraid to chop it all off—your color packs a punch by itself.
The lob is one of the most universally flattering styles we’ve seen this side of the millennium. Try it with light brown hair for a neutral, understated appearance.
If you're a natural redhead, you'll love this burgundy take on light brown hair color.
Somewhere between red and brown, auburn miraculously flatters every single skin tone.
If subtle light brown hair is a look you find appealing—I’m-too-busy chic, if you will—ask your stylist to leave your hair darkest around the roots. She can then work in your light brown and follow it with a blonde shade, if that appeals to you.
Don’t feel like you have to forgo your blonde instincts entirely! We love the way this hint of platinum catches the sun.
A fresh light brown hue and curls are a match made in salon heaven.
Show off your light brown hair color with a beachy, effortless wave.
So, maybe you miss that beachy blonde a little bit. That’s just fine! In this one thing, you really can have it all. We love the way honey and caramel blonde look when mixed into light brown hair.
CoolStay icy, girl. Although cool hair colors can take a bit of effort to maintain, the payoff is worthwhile.
Sweet like..you know, honey blonde is admittedly a bit brighter than any of the options we've offered so far. But if you're looking to stay in the light brown family, honey just might be the right choice for you.
Low effort, high reward! Natural-looking brown hair is the wave of the future.
For customized light brown hair color, use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.