If you have decided to go brunette but aren’t ready to embrace the rich, deep tones of a dark brown color, consider trying a light brown hair color first. Natural-looking, soft, and romantic, it’s an ideal hair tone to wear year-round. And if you have decided to try your hand at hair coloring, check out our step-by-step guide on how to dye hair light brown at home.
If you take the plunge, remember that brunette hair color does require some maintenance! That’s why we included our must-know aftercare tips for dyed hair. To keep you feeling glam, we cap things off with makeup and fashion tips for light brown hair.
In this article:
- How to Dye Hair Light Brown at Home
- Maintaining Your Light Brown Hair Color
- Makeup for Light Brown Hair
- Fashion Tips for Light Brown Hair
How to Dye Hair Light Brown at Home
Dyeing your hair light brown might mean that you have to go darker, or it might mean that you have to go lighter! It all depends on what hair color you’re starting out with.
If your hair is just a little darker or a little lighter than the light brown hair color you want to try, then a regular light brown hair dye will be more than enough! If your hair is significantly darker, however, then you will probably need to bleach it first, although just one session with a lower-volume developer will probably be enough.
That said, we did find a few light brown hair dye kits that can lighten dark brown hair all on their own. It’s worth noting that when you go from dark to light, the hair often turns very warm naturally, so you may want to choose a more golden or ashier light brown hair dye, even if you’re aiming for a neutral or slightly warm light brown hair.
If your hair is very light, then you might need to dye it a few times before the light brown hair dye can really take hold. You can do this in steps – first dyeing your hair a darker blonde and then dyeing it a light brown.
Another thing to keep in mind is undertones – it’s very common for ash brown hair to turn green when applied to very light hair, but you can counter that by opting for a warmer light brown hair color or by filling in your hair with a darker golden blonde or copper blonde color at first.
If your hair has already been dyed, especially if it’s a darker color or a very saturated color, you should first do a color-removing session. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to lighten dyed hair, while for hair that’s been dyed a lighter color, the pigment can cause your light brown hair dye to come out muddy or altered.
Finally, another thing to consider is what kind of light brown hair color look you’re going for. Are you wanting light brown hair all-over, or just a balayage? We give directions for solid, all-over color, but you might want to play around with placement or combining different shades of brown for different effects.
You Will Need:
- Light brown hair dye kit (see the list above for suggestions)
- A pair of gloves
- Hair dyeing brush
- Plastic mixing bowl (only if your hair dye kit doesn’t include an applicator bottle)
- Old, loose shirt
- Plastic hair clips
- Petroleum jelly (optional)
The Dyeing Process:
- Before you get started, set yourself up for success! Make sure you have everything you need on hand. Then get yourself ready by putting on an old shirt and the gloves.
- Using the pointy end of your hair dyeing brush, separate your hair into however many sections will make it easy for you to dye. 3-5 is usually perfect. Make sure the sections also follow the natural part of your hair.
- In a bowl or mixing bottle, put together your hair dye and developer and mix them together.
- If you’re worried about staining the skin, apply petroleum jelly along your hairline and to the tops of your ears, and it will act as a protective barrier.
- If you’re also relying on the hair dye to lighten your hair, save the roots for last. If you’re covering gray hairs or starting with a light hair color, then start with the roots.
- Start by covering the part of your hair with light brown hair dye. Dispense the color and then use the brush to pat it in along the length of your part and pull it outwards about an inch.
- Next, start dyeing your hair in sections. Unclip the first section and separate a smaller piece from it. Start applying color at the root, pulling the color down towards the ends with the brush and dispensing more dye as you go along if it’s necessary.
- Keep dyeing that first section in small pieces until it’s covered in its entirety. You can massage the hair a bit with your gloved fingers to make sure the hair dye covers each hair completely.
- Once you’re done, clip that section back up and unclip the next section.
- Continue dyeing your entire head in the same fashion.
- Finally, once your entire head is covered, go back over the roots since that’s usually where mistakes and missed spots are the most likely. You can simply massage more dye into the roots with your hands.
- Clip up all of your hair and wait 20-45 minutes for the color to take its hold. Usually, the longer you let the color sit in your hair, the darker it will get, although this also depends on the formula.
- You can put on a shower cap, especially if you’re worried about staining walls or clothes.
- Once your hair has finished processing, hop into the shower and rinse out the color. Don’t shampoo your hair, although you can condition it if you like.
- Get out of the shower and either wait for your hair to air-dry or help it along with blow-drying on a low, gentle setting.
- Examine your hair to see if you spot any mistakes or missed spots – if you do, correct them with a bit more hair dye.
- Once your hair is done, enjoy your new look and keep reading for more brunette hair tips!
Maintaining Your Light Brown Hair Color Bright
Light brown hair dye tends to hold quite well, but you should still follow some basic maintenance steps in order to keep it healthy and shiny.
- No matter the color, it’s really important that you keep hair washing to a minimum after you’ve dyed your hair. The less frequently you shampoo your hair, the longer your color will last, and the better it will look.
- What you use when you shampoo your light brown hair is also very important! First and foremost, avoiding hot water is key to preserving the integrity of the hair, especially if you transitioned from dark brown to light brown.
- Sulfate-free shampoos are also important because they help to clean the hair without pulling out the dye.
- You can choose a slightly tinted shampoo that will help to reinforce the undertone of your light brown hair, as well. Choose a shampoo that corresponds with the undertone of your light brown hair, so a reddish shampoo for copper brown, a gold shampoo for a golden brown, a blue shampoo for cool brown, or a purple shampoo for ash brown.
- If you’ve dyed your hair light brown all over, you will have to touch up the root every 4-6 weeks. Light brown balayage and sombre hair colors are much more forgiving, and you may not need to worry about touching up the roots at all.
- The sun’s rays can cause colors like light brown to fade, so take care of your hair by wearing a hat or by using a UV protecting hair product like Sun Bum’s 3-in-1 Leave-in Hair Conditioner Spray from Amazon.
- Heat styling is not as problematic on light brown hair as it is on heavily bleached hair, but it still takes a toll. Try to limit how often you use heat-styling tools and opt for lower temperatures. Blow-drying on a low setting is usually the safest way to heat style the hair.
- If you’re a swimmer, be aware that chlorinated water from pools can alter your hair color. You can apply a protective leave-in conditioner before getting in the pool or even just soak your hair with regular water to prevent the chlorine from getting in. Make sure to wash your hair immediately after getting out of the pool in order to rinse the chlorine out, as well.
Makeup Ideas for Those with Light Brown Hair
The great thing about light brown hair is that it doesn’t require too many changes. Other details, like your skin tone, eye color, and outfit color will be much more important when it comes to creating your makeup look. We still have a few tips and tricks to help you match your makeup to your hair, although, don’t be afraid to break the rules and experiment!
- The one thing you will probably have to change is the shade you use to fill in your brows. Make sure to choose an eyebrow pencil that matches the undertone of your light brown hair. Choose a chocolate tone for neutral light brown, an ash tone for cool brown, an auburn or ginger tone for reddish brown, or a blonde shade for brown hair with gold undertones.
- When it comes to foundation or concealer, you don’t need to change anything! As long as you get the level of coverage you like and your products match your skin tone, you’re good to go.
- The same applies to other complexion products like contour, bronzer, and highlight. Depending on the type of color change you’ve undergone, you may find yourself wanting to use those dimension-enhancing products more or less. Usually, when going from lighter hair to darker hair, you want to amp things up and vice versa.
- Unless your light brown hair color leans very strongly towards cool gray or reddish brown, you don’t need to worry at all about your blush clashing, so just make sure to choose a blush shade that suits your undertone.
- If your hair does lean very strongly towards a particular undertone, choose a blush that’ll match, so a warm peach or copper blush for coppery hair, a berry, pink or purple-based blush for cool hair, or a neutral blush for red-brown hair.
- The same undertone principles apply to lipstick, although, there is a ton of room here to play around, and the less saturated a lipstick color is, the more likely it is to work with your hair no matter the undertone.
- When it comes to eye makeup, you can play around as much or as little as you like! Neutrals, metallics, jewel tones, earth tones, bright shades – the important thing is that the colors you choose flatter your skin tone and eye color.
- Finally, let’s talk about mascara! A black mascara is always a safe choice, even with light brown hair, but if you want an extremely natural look, you can choose a dark brown mascara instead.
Fashion Tips for Light Brown Hair
Brunettes can wear whatever they please! Once again, there are no strict rules, but we do have some suggestions.
- In general, some contrast between clothes and hair tends to be the most flattering, so you want to avoid brown shades that are too close to your hair color, especially in dresses or jackets that take up a lot of space.
- We find that even when it comes to brown hair that skews warm or cool, there are rarely any clashes since the brown base is still more balanced than primary or even secondary colors.
- Choose solid colors that have contrast with your hair! Any vivid or bright color will work.
- Light brown hair looks especially fetching against bright yellow, any saturated shade of blue, violet, magenta, orange, and, of course, red!
- If you want a more elegant look that won’t stand out too much, opt for darker hues of those bright colors, like navy, dark green, or burgundy.
- When it comes to pastels, it’s better to choose a lighter pastel that’s very close to beige or white, so you can have a bit more of a contrast between your hair and the garment.
- From color blocking to subtler color stories, feel free to experiment. As long as there’s some contrast between the different shades you’re wearing, it’ll be easier to wear colors that on their own wouldn’t look good with your hair, like browns.
Photos via @ashleeloveshair, Instagram