Dark brown hair is massively underrated, but we’re doing our part to give it the credit it deserves. While brunette hair might be extremely common, it’s more complex than you think! It can have a ton of different undertones, and it can be combined with other hair colors easily to achieve all kinds of effects.
All-over brunette, highlights, balayages, and sombrés – there are so many ways to rock dark brown hair, and we’ve found the best examples of each style! Whether you’re a natural brunette wanting to play around or someone with a totally different hair color looking to make a big change, we’ve got you covered! We’ve selected the most stunning examples of dark brown hair from across the Internet to show you all of the different options and get you inspired.
1. Brunette Hair with Caramel Swirl
This gorgeous balayage combines different shades of brown for a rich, sweet look. The bulk of the hair is colored a cool dark brown hair color, with threads of warm caramel adding that transitional brightness that makes the color feel more complex.
2. Dark Brown Hair with Vertical Highlights
For highlights to be good, they don’t need to be plentiful but just well-placed. This stunning curly brunette hair color is touched by vertical streaks of golden brown that give a sun-dappled effect to the hair while also giving the illusion of intense shine and thickness.
3. Dark Brown and Ash Balayage
This balayage keeps things totally neutral, which is why it works despite the high color contrast. The super dark brown hair is neither warm nor cool, and the same is true for the intense ash blonde balayage, which leads to a harmonious effect.
4. Lush Brunette Waves
Long hair styled into smooth waves will probably look amazing, no matter the color. That’s why these chocolate brown locks seem regal, though we gotta admit those golden streaks in the mids and ends also help.
5. Dark Brown Hair with Money Piece
If you want a dark brown hair color but are also still tempted to feel like a blonde, then this is exactly the kind of look to experiment with. The bulk of the hair remains a dark and neutral brown shade, with a hint of dirty blonde balayage and then a money piece, which is a streak of blonde right at the front that brightens up the whole face.
6. Blingy Gold and Dark Brown Hair
This is a heavily highlighted example of dark brown hair, with a neutral, espresso-colored base that’s made blingy and dynamic thanks to streaks and streaks of shimmery gold blonde. It works even better because of the flirty layered haircut.
7. Metallic Ash Brown Hair
Romantic waves and curls would look pretty no matter what, but a metallic touch of ash brings them to the next level. The bulk of the hair is a cool dark brown that combines beautifully with the cool ash shade, and a hint of hair gloss makes it look like molten metal.
8. Earth Mushroom Brown Hair
This high-contrast look is irresistibly dramatic. It’s a very cool-toned balayage, with cool dark brown hair balayaged over with super-light mushroom blonde tones, which add a ton of shine and lightness without brassiness.
9. Espresso and Ginger Hair
Now, this look is spicy! This shade of espresso brown hair is perfectly neutral (maybe even a little cool), so these ginger-colored balayaged streaks add some very warm contrast. It’s the perfect combination of red and brown, especially if you’re wanting autumn hair.
10. Dark Auburn Brown
This is a more restrained but slightly warmer take on brunette hair. There are neutral, espresso-colored lowlights in there, but the ruling shade is a warmer brown that leans towards auburn with touches of honey here and there.
11. Caramel-Enhanced Brunette
Even small streaks can have a big impact. The caramel streaks might be fairly thin and concentrated near the front, but because they’re so light and warm, they really help punch up the neutral dark brown hair base.
12. Mussed and Voluminous Brunette Hair
This look proves that dark, messy hair can be extremely glamorous, as well. The combination of a deep side part, feathery waves, and a lot of volume come together to have a marvelous effect. The base of the hair is a black-brown shade, with caramel streaks at the end that add a bit more intentionality to the look.
13. Gold-Touched Dark Brown Waves
So pretty yet so simple! The naturally dark brown hair was made a bit more multidimensional with the addition of gold-leaning brown streaks, with a few additional streaks of golden blonde that frame the face.
14. Deep Reverse Balayage
You don’t have to give up on the idea of a dark brown balayage just because your hair has been lightened. This gorgeous, deep balayage was achieved on already bleached hair, with the roots dyed an espresso dark brown hair color, and with the mids and ends covered in a cool wash of medium brown and ash.
15. Bronzed Espresso Hair
Some more metallic hair to drool over! Neutral espresso is deep and rich, so the heavy streaks of caramel bronze along the bottom add multidimensional sheen that is emphasized by the slightly feathery waves.
16. Copper and Chocolate Princess Waves
Styling your hair into unidirectional waves is the real secret to feeling like a princess, although a great hair color also helps. The base of the hair is a deep chocolate brown with a copper sombré with very thin streaks that add texture.
17. Chocolate and Gold with Curtain Bangs
Color and a cut, anyone? We’re obsessed with curtain bangs right now, and this look proves they look great along with a balayage. The hair is a unique combination of cool dark brown that leans a touch towards purple and bright golden blonde highlights.
18. Ginger to Dark Brown Transition Hair
Hair color is often a journey, and going from brunette to redhead or vice versa can require multiple steps. We like this combination of cool, reddish dark brown hair with a ton of vivid, coppery streaks all on its own or as a mid-point on that journey.
19. Brown Sugar Balayage
Sweet and warm but without red or brassy tones – this is a great take on dark brown hair for those with warm or olive undertones. The roots and upper mids are a neutral espresso that gets progressively lighter with a heavy balayage technique. The mids are a medium brown, and the ends are a bright, playful golden-brown sugar shade.
20. Soft and Cool Dark Brown
If your skin has those cool undertones, then this would be a very harmonious hair color to try out. Though it looks soft and smooth, there is actually a lot of shade variation going on here with deeper, purple-leaning brown hair as well as hints of more reddish auburn.
21. Airy Dark Brown Curls
If you’d like to change up your brunette hair a little bit, why not try a new variation on styling? These gold-touched chocolate brown locks were styled into small but very airy curls that remind us of a modern Disney princess.
22. Beachy Caramel Balayage
If you’re naturally rocking brunette hair color, a caramel balayage can be great for changing up your look, especially in summer, but with a low commitment. These streaks add movement and brightness to a color that can be a little too solid and intense.
23. Warm Dark Brown Hair Melt
This look is almost similar to the previous one, but even though the dark brown roots are longer, the coloring is more complex, with a hint of reddish-brown adding warmth at the mids and connecting the caramel ends to the neutral base.
24. Highlighted Dark Brown Lob
Dark brown hair doesn’t have to be super long to be glamorous. The metallic highlights over this wavy long bob add all the richness and shine you need to feel like a million bucks!
25. Peachy Dark Brown Curls
If you want something a little unusual but still not extreme, this combination of dark brown hair with peachy hand-painted highlights is a winner, especially over such lush curls. The peach blends into the hair perfectly since there is also some understated copper in there, leading to a red-based by still flattering look.
26. Honey and Chocolate Dark Brown Hair
This sweet balayage has the kind of depth and richness we crave out of a desert. It’s an intense balayage with a ton of thin streaks of honey through the ends, but by letting the dark tones dominate at the roots and mids, it still remains a true brunette look.
27. Textured Dark Brown Hair
We love this textured and matte variation on dark brown hair. The deep tones are really in charge here, with a nearly black color that is given dimension in the form of ashy brown streaks. Combined with side-swept bangs and fluffy waves, it’s a modern and pretty look.
28. Warmed-up Brunette
Feeling a little cold? We like how just a couple of streaks add so much warmth to this gorgeous, neutral-cool brunette hair color. The roots are darker and cooler, but the mids are a mid-brown with chocolatey neutrality.
29. Extra-Long Peach and Dark Brown Balayage
This is another take on peachy streaks that add a joyful feel to dark brown hair. If you’ve always wanted to experiment with pastels, this is an easy and ever-appropriate way to do it. This look is magnificent thanks to the extra-long layers, but it’d look just as nice on shorter hair.
30. Glossy Brown Hair Color
As long as you keep your hair shining with health, you don’t need to go overboard with highlights! This cool-toned dark brown hair color gleams with health after a simple blowout, and while there are a few streaks at the end, they are there just to make things interesting.
31. Autumn Brunette Waves
This red-based brunette look has a complex richness that reminds us of autumn leaves. Naturally more neutral brown hair was given a reddish auburn treatment at the mids and ends, with a few streaks of bronze for lively movement.
32. Gently Lit Dark Brown Waves
Soft, gentle, smooth – these are the words that come to mind when we look at this lovely hairstyle! The waves are so natural-looking, and the combination of espresso and milk chocolate shades is creamy and lovely, with a few odd streaks of gold that just light things up.
33. Subtle Dark Brown Colormelt
This super subtle colormelt is gorgeous and soft, perfect for someone who wants to feel just a bit more glamorous without having anyone notice why. The roots are a cool dark brown with a touch of red that slowly transforms into a lighter chocolate shade and then turns into a soft golden brown at the ends.
34. Straw Blonde and Dark Brown Balayage
A few streaks of straw blonde are all it takes to feel like a beach babe even when rocking dark brown hair. Thin streaks add texture, while thick ones at the front light up the face. The gorgeous loose waves and razored edges are what keeps this look perfectly breezy.
35. Warm Boho Brunette Hair
This combination of warm medium brown and dark brown hair colors gives us serious boho vibes, with tousled waves helping as well. Dyed following the sombré technique, this style works because the warm highlights lean towards golden and are themselves composed of multiple shades of brown.
36. Dark Bronze Bombshell Blowout
Here’s another brunette bombshell look to get you sweating! Ultra-voluminous, wavy, and tousled, this look makes glamour appear effortless. The hair is a rich chocolate brown with a glossy sheen, touched by a few lighter brown highlights that are subtle and barely perceptible.
37. Shaggy Brunette Lob
This shaggy, layered long bob is a really fun and flirty haircut that’s perfect for making the hair look light yet voluminous. The dark brown hair color, which is carefully highlighted with milk chocolate tones, emphasizes the texture of the hair.
38. Black Caramel Curls
This a unique combination of hair colors that you don’t frequently see in dark brown hairstyles. There is a black base through the hair that leans towards colder, with medium-sized caramel streaks that add contrasting warmth, making the hair gleam.
39. Dramatic Dark Brown Waves
We celebrate all approaches to dark brown hair, here, including the ultra-dramatic ones! This particular look is great because it utilizes many of the potential undertones dark brown hair can have. The streaks here consist of warm, orange-leaning caramel, cool, purple-leaning mahogany, with neutral, espresso brown roots.
40. Dimensional Dark Brown
Dark brown hair can be made more dimensional without extreme highlighting. In this look, hair that is a natural chocolatey shade was made a bit more dynamic by the addition of soft, low-contrast medium brown highlights.
41. Gray-Washed Dark Brown Hair
Now, this is something special! This look celebrates the matte finish with diffused highlights in ash gray close to the roots, and slightly warmer milk chocolate touches at the mids and ends. It feels ultra-youthful thanks to the curtain bangs and thick, brushed-out styling.
42. Shiny Chocolate Waves
We love the occasional matte look, but it’s undeniable that shiny hair holds a mesmerizing charm. The brown tones themselves lean a little towards red, which is always lovely, but the real impact of this look comes from the sheen that Brazilian bond builder imparts.
43. Old Hollywood Brunette
The golden age of Hollywood gives us an endless fountain of beauty inspiration, like this stunning brunette hair look. The deep side part and romantic Marcel wave are timeless, but the occasional caramel streak is a modern touch.
44. Corrected Dark Brown Balayage
This look is a reminder that dark brown hair dye is a commitment since it’s actually showing us the attempt to go lighter through a caramel balayage. The switch from nearly black at the roots to the more golden tone at the mids was softened by some dark brown shades, but this high-contrast look is definitely transitional.
45. Bronzed Balayage
When you combine a lot of shine with dark brown hair, you end up with bronze, a warm yet dark metallic that draws a ton of attention. This warm shade was added to the hair with a heavy-handed balayage that’s not for the faint of heart.
46. Dark Brown Glam Bob
This look proves that bob haircuts can be totally versatile! The glamorous curls draw most of the attention, so it’s easy to miss that the color itself is a fantastic gradient from muted dark brown roots to a warm medium brown at the ends.
47. Golden Brunette
This is one of those balayages that make a brunette feel like a blonde. It’s all about the way that a golden blonde tone is dispersed over bronzed streaks, so even though it’s barely there, where it has been placed is impactful.
48. Fresh Dark Brown Balayage
We love the idea of this simple balayage for spring! There’s something clean and fresh about the simple blend of deep, neutral brown tones with the golden brown highlights. Because the highlights are not overdone, the dark tones still get to shine.
49. Pop Punk Dark Brown Hair
This gorgeous combination of ash and dark brown is giving us major pop-punk start vibes, both thanks to the colors themselves and because of the amazing feathered cut. The colors are truly neutral to flatter all skin tones.
50. Grown-out Dark Brown Colormelt
Hair dye techniques that keep dark brown roots in their natural form are easy to keep looking beautiful. This grown-out look proves it with a gradient of brown shades that would look awesome no matter the length of the darkest part at the top.
51. Sun-Kissed Brunette Hair
This is one of the purest balayages we’ve seen in a while. The balayage technique is meant to mimic the natural effects of the sun on the hair, and that’s exactly what this look does with subtle, carefully placed touches of chestnut over dark brunette hair.
52. Dark Brunette with Blonde Money Piece
There is something edgy and a little rock ‘n’ roll about this unusual balayage. This look really focuses on the money piece (the light blonde highlights at the front that have a massive impact on the face). This results in a contrast with the dark brown base of the hair, which ends up looking darker and edgier as a result.
53. Honeyed Brunette Hair
This fantastic dark brown balayage works so well because the undertones are just so harmonious. It’s a warm look but without a hint of red in sight! Instead, the ruling shade is yellow, which gives the light brown streaks over the neutral dark brown base a honey-like appearance.
54. Blonde Brunette Hair
Can’t decide between dark brown or blonde? Well, you can do both if you want some intense, high-contrast hair. This look features an ultra-dark, espresso base highlighted with a gorgeous cool metallic blonde. A hint of chocolate at the mids does soften the contrast somewhat.
55. Flowy Golden Melt
This colormelt is so seamless it’s almost hard to believe it’s real. The transition from dark brown roots to truly golden blonde ends relies on subtle progression towards both lightness and warmth, so it’s definitely the kind of look only an expert can create.
56. Warm and Sleek Dark Brown Hair
Looks can be deceiving. Though this sleek style might seem solidly colored, there’s actually some subtle highlighting going on that makes the hair look as though it’s literally made of metal. The warm shades of dark brown in here are predominantly orange-leaning, which makes this border on copper.
57. Softly Blended Dark Brown Bronde
This hair looks velvet smooth, which we think is just as good as glossy. This lovely, blended look is actually quite unique because it combines a dark brown shade that has a slight red tint but zero oranges or yellows with a gold-based money piece that’s free of reds. Because the texture is so soft, the result is gorgeous and gentle without a clash.
58. Simple Dark Brown Sombré
Stunning dark brown hairstyles don’t need to be complicated. This sombré keeps things simple by sticking to neutral shades of light and dark brown and by not breaking up chunks of hair with too much streaking.
59. Spiced Chocolate Streaks
By contrast, this look isn’t simple at all! The hair has a ton of movement thanks to slim streaks of spicy copper that add warmth to the neutral dark brown base. Styling it into sexy waves makes the whole thing even hotter!
60. Graduated Dark Brown Hair with Streaks
Show off some modern Posh Spice vibes with a long and sleek graduated bob in a dark hair color. The cut is a classic, of course, but the slim medium brown streaks add a whole other dimension to it.
61. Luxurious Dark Brown Hair
Who would have thought that dark brown hair could look so expensive? This stunning look gets a lot of its impact just from the sheer length of the hair, but the impeccable caramel balayage and the extreme shine of the healthy dark brown locks also play a part.
62. Platinum-Touched Espresso Hair
There’s not a lot of highlighting in this look, but what is there is intense. The hyper-light, platinum touches really emphasize just how dark this neutral, espresso-colored hair happens to be.
63. Cinnamon Spice Brunette Hair Color
Gleaming and complex, this warm balayage is intriguingly spicy. The dark brown shade was enhanced with long streaks of a deep, reddish-brown mahogany tone, but then a few streaks of bright cinnamon-brown at the front make things bright and more playful.
64. Double Chocolate Panel Highlights
These even and clean panel highlights remind us of a layered chocolate mousse or cake. The darker steaks, which are more dominant, are like that rich and slightly bitter 70% dark stuff, while lighter streaks remind us of creamy milk chocolate.
65. Dark Brown Hair with Shimmering Balayage
What we love about this look is that even the highlights have highlights! The lighter brown balayage over the espresso base is enhanced with touches of gold that make the hair look as though it’s shimmering even without sunlight.
66. Two-in-One Gold and Brown Hair
Can’t decide between blonde and brunette? Why not be both? Dark brown hair on top melts easily into the golden blonde at the bottom for a high-contrast, high-drama, and high-shine look.
67. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Hair
Yet another sweet balayage to get you hungry! The chocolate base is a classic by now, of course, while the heavy-handed highlights of a golden, light brown shade bring to mind creamy and salty peanut butter.
68. Fiery Dark Brown Hair with Highlights
If you’re not afraid of reds, and your main goal is to exude warmth, this is how you make dark brown hair work for you. The base is a cherry-tinged dark brown hair color, with peachy highlights that give a bright fiery touch.
69. Punky Dark Brown and Gold Highlights
Dark brown hair, especially when it’s truly neutral, is a great hair color for edgy types, with ultra-skinny warmer highlights helping to give a grunge contrast. The styling is also important, and this razored, loosely wavy haircut works well with the coloring.
70. Falling Through Copper Dark Brown Waves
These waves are imbued with so much flow and movement, it’s like they’re dancing! This has to do with both the styling and the hand-painted copper highlights that contrast against dark brown hair beautifully, adding major glow.
71. Caramel Truffle Dark Brown
The caramel flows strongly through these chocolate brown tresses, like a rich, delicious truffle. The highlights start at the mids, which guarantees an effortless grow-out. We love the flirty touch of having slightly lighter, more golden highlights near the front!
72. Macchiato Ombre Balayage
Before getting into the colors, let’s admire this awesome balayage-ombre hybrid, which isn’t afraid of letting the mids stay mostly dark and doesn’t need those money pieces. The colors themselves are great, with deep, dark espresso roots and milky brown highlights that remind us of the foam on top of an espresso macchiato.
73. Dark Brown with Cherry and Caramel Gloss
We’re finishing with something truly glamorous! This cherry cola twist on dark brown hair features a lot of classy red tones but without a hint of brassiness. The caramel balayage over the ends brightens things up, making the hair look like it’s sparkling.
Photos via Instagram