13 Hair Color Ideas for Brunettes

If you believe brunettes have more fun, you might think there’s no way to change up your look—blondes can be platinum, dirty blonde, and more, but brown hair is just… brown. Right?

Wrong. There are actually tons of ways to dye your hair and keep your brunette base, from balayage to glazes to the fan-favorite ombre fade. Below, check out our favorite hair color ideas for brunettes, from natural blends to crazy pops of color. Don’t forget to pin to your inspo boards for your next salon appointment.

Sun-kissed highlights


Adding in just a few face-framing blonde highlights can totally change your look by warming things up and giving you a beach-ready glow. To avoid things getting streaky, keep the blonde more gold-toned as opposed to white or platinum, and add all around the crown instead of just the front to give a more natural, kissed-by-the-sun vibe.

Mushroom brown


This muted melt is anything but boring, thanks to a unique mushroom-like shade that falls somewhere between ashy blonde and taupe. Both cool-toned and warm-toned blondes blend flawlessly into a mushroom-colored fade, and it’s the subtle shade Instagram is loving for color that’s casual-cool.

Rose gold fade


If you know your hair tends to pull slightly orange when it bleaches, a rose gold look is the perfect way to lighten up your brunette locks while keeping roots dark. This is the kind of look that gets better as it fades, so what starts as a warm, brown-to-rosy-toned glow will end up a rockstar-approved orange-y pink over time.

Warm red glaze


If the idea of bleaching your brunette hair terrifies you, opting for an all-over glaze is the perfect way to inject a little color into your look. A red-toned tinge can warm up dull brown locks and give them an almost burgundy look. Plus, glazing treatments can add strength and shine to hair, so you can leave the salon with a whole new ‘do in a short amount of time.

Smoky brunette


This dark black-to-brunette fade is seriously stunning—and proof that you don’t have to go blonde to shake up your look. Plus, dark dyes are healthier for hair than bleaching, so your strands will thank you.

Colored ends


If you like the look of dark, almost-black brown hair but want to get a little wild, adding a pop of color to ends is the perfect solution. Dip dye for a messy, care-free look, or do a melt like the look above for a seamless transition. Navy or teal are statement-making yet wearable options if neon pink doesn’t suit your day job.

Classic ombre


Ombre hair started making waves a few years ago, with stars like Jessica Alba, Chrissy Teigen, and J. Lo flaunting perfectly blended brunette-to-blonde locks. This look is more natural than some other dye jobs, thanks to the progressive fade from root to tip. Plus, you don’t have to worry about hair looking bad when the roots grow out—it only adds to the look!

Chocolate melt


Mousy browns are a total turnoff, but a rich, hot-chocolate color is an absolute must. Whether it’s a brunette glaze to brighten and shine your brown locks, or subtle toning using different shades of brunette to get the perfect, decadent look, this is a safe bet for beginner dyers who want their hair color enhanced, not changed.

Brunette to icy gray


If blonde tips seem too sweet for your taste, a brown-to-gray fade is an updated, edgier take on highlights. Intentional gray and silver tones not only look effortlessly cool, but this dye job can also work wonders for women going gray early who want to mask—or embrace!—their silver fox status.

Ashy balayage


An ashier look is a cool-toned take on the warm, summer-blonde streaks loved by many. Somewhere between gray and gold, the perfect ashy blonde exists to lighten up brunette locks and give them some much-needed lift when dyed using a balayage style, where the color is blended in at the crown of the head and becomes more prominent at the ends.

Hidden rainbow hair


For the daredevil with an office job, the only way to embrace your mermaid-meets-unicorn hair fantasies is to opt for what’s known as a hidden dye job. This means the top layer of hair looks completely natural, but when pulled into a half-up style, a layer of secret color is revealed.



Bronde is the perfect combination of brunette and blonde, made popular by celebs like Blake Lively. The look is lived-in and effortlessly blended, and can be a great first step if you’re considering eventually transitioning to full-on blonde in the future.

Dusty pink blend

loveisinthehair_byjanet /Instagram

Think of this as rose gold’s cooler older sister—no warm tones here, but the pop of color keeps things interesting and trendy. This shade blends best with more naturally ashy brunettes, whereas warmer brown hair is better suited for a rosier tone.

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