While blondes are known to "have more fun," and redheads make up only about 2 percent of the population, brown hair colors usually don't get any sort of exciting metaphorical spotlight. (In fact, "mousey brown" hair typically gets a bad rap for being boring or drab. See: Vivian Kensington from Legally Blonde.)
Well, unlike redheads, brown hair might be ubiquitous—but that doesn't make brown hairstyles any less sexy, gorgeous, and out-of-the-box. Below, find 40 shades of brown hair color that'll convince you (once and for all) that blondes aren't the only ones having fun.
Choosing a Shade: The further the shade of brown is from your natural hair color, the more noticeable your roots will be when they grow in.
Maintenance Level: For all-over color, you should expect to get your roots touched up every six to eight weeks. Those with lowlights or balayage will see softer root growth, and can space their appointments farther apart.
Goes Great With: Monochromatic nude eyeshadow, rich berry lip shades.
Price: For all-over color, expect to pay between $80-$200, depending on where you live. For more precisely placed lowlights or balayage, expect to pay $100-$300.
These aren't your average blonde streaks you gave yourself from a box in the 2000s. (Remember Sun-In?) Try a grown-up (and professionally colored) version of subtle, golden highlights.
As a natural brunette, one of the easiest ways to experiment is to simply drizzle in some subtle, caramel-hued highlights via a balayage style. You can lighten things up without committing to an entire dye job, and simply grow out your roots if you realize the look isn't your thing.
Brown Box Braids
We've seen box braids in every color of the rainbow, but we're particularly loving this golden brown shade at the moment.
If you want something super natural-looking and warm, hair painting might be for you. Although there are more efficient methods for more extreme color jobs, hair painting is perfect if you're looking for subtle, soft dimension and a rich glow.
Shades of Gray
Whether you call it "gray" or "mushroom brown," this stunning bob incorporates smoky, ashy hues in a blended balayage for a perfectly on-trend moment.
Not sure what "neutral brown" is? Meet the Switzerland of brown hair colors: It's perfectly designed to balance out both the warm and cool tones in your hair for completely neutral, flattering results.
Freshen up your entire face (and look like you belong on a surfboard) with golden, sunny highlights all over. To avoid constant maintenance and root touch-ups, keep them intentionally dark and smudged so they can grow in with grace.
Lightening up brown hair with a reddish tint is the perfect way to give your 'do next-level dimension. (And of course, you'll have that much more glow when you find your light for selfies.)
Babylights (aka super delicate highlights) may be most commonly associated with blondes, but they work for brunettes seeking a sun-kissed look, too. Rather than white blonde, your colorist will probably customize a hue that's simply a few shades lighter than your natural color.
Dark Roast Balayage
If you have dark brown hair, take your natural color and majorly brighten it up with an auburn balayage situation that complements any complexion.
The best colorist out there will take into account your skin and eye color to pick the perfect shade of brown. Even though dark brown hair colors like this might look simple, they're personalized to a T, making for a striking finish.
The "brassy" hair color usually gets a bad rap, primarily for its perceived unwanted orange undertones. But when you pull off the shade (and undertones) perfectly so they look natural rather than neon? Yes, please.
With a warm skin tone, it's always a good idea to find warm shades to match (in this case, a complementary chestnut brown hair color). Bonus points for gorgeous, bouncy curls too.
Toeing the line of blonde territory, the lightest brown you can go is probably this soft, sandy beige. Keep it as healthy as this shiny style with a good smoothing serum.
Tight curls are perfect for sprinkling in pops of color. Rather than highlighting entire sections, warm up brown hair with some unexpected dashes of gold or honey to lighten things up.
Can't decide between going red or going brown? Try both. This auburn hue is the perfect middle-ground between "firetruck" and "milk chocolate," and we're obsessed.
To go only a few shades darker than a "dirty blonde," try a cool, ashy shade of brown like this one. Multifaceted highlights and lowlights can balance your look out so it doesn't veer into "gray" territory, if that's not what you're looking for.
Good beach waves are made all the more covetable with great color. We love the look of this balayage complete with sweet honey highlights.
Brown hair color tends to get slightly brassier in the sun, so a subtle, brown-to-copper ombré is a simple way to fool people into thinking your dye job is all natural.
It's almost black—but not quite. If you're tempted to go to the dark side, you can't go wrong with a deep raven hue, which happens to be flattering on most complexions.
If you're a natural brunette (whose shade could possibly be described as "mousy" by Elle Woods), up the ante by going for an ultra-rich and saturated brown that's more "chocolate mousse" than "dishwater."
If you're looking to go dark dark, try a rich, deep brown that borders on jet black, and wear it slick-straight for extra impact.
Dark & Pigmented
We always encourage people to go for the bold and make the chop. (Find our favorite bob inspo here.) Choose a rich, dark brown hair color for instant grown-up, Victoria Beckham vibes.
There are endless shades of brown to choose from, many of which have been in style for decades—but a multidimensional golden brown like this one somehow feels completely fresh every time.
Don't be afraid of a little contrast. Go darker at the roots, then add babylights, strandlights (aka, a freehand coloring technique), and/or color-blocking for a major golden brown balayage moment, featuring bright blonde ends.
You don't have to be a coffee lover to appreciate deep, mocha-hued curls. Make a dark brown hair color more dimensional with an extra-shiny style. (Find our best curly hair tips here.)
Have a "bronde" moment with face-framing, golden highlights mixed in with a neutral, darker brown hair color. (Gorgeous loose waves sold separately.)
The beauty of brown hair is you can incorporate however many hues you choose. And why pick just one? You can blend together honey, toffee, bronze, and more (as long as your colorist knows what they're doing—don't try this at home).
If you're looking to take a warmer brown hue for a spin, this gingerbread latte color is all the rage, and it works on any hair texture.
If you're trying to take the plunge into darker territory, try a smoky brown hair color like this shade, with cool, grayish undertones.
Strands of Gold
It doesn't have to be sunny out for you to lighten things up. If your brown hue is feeling lifeless, brighten it with sunny, golden highlights that'll almost put you in the blonde category.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Try a brown balayage with dark chocolate roots and blonder, cookie dough-hued highlights. Hungry? Same.
Light Brown Braids
Make a statement with extra-long box braids in a warm, light-brown hair color. Top it off with some colorful accessories for bonus points.
Say "yes" to sunny, honey highlights with darker brown lowlights.
We love purple hair and reddish tints—but a saturated, eggplant-hued brown hair color takes the cake. It might be unexpected, but styled into smooth, retro waves, the look is surprisingly classic.
Make waves with a multifaceted brown hair color resembling everyone's favorite fall drink.
Give dark, saturated hair some extra dimension with some tinted, subtle highlights and stunning beach-wave styling.
Flip the ombré look on its head (literally) with a reverse version featuring gorgeous brown hues. The honey-chestnut roots blend into the rich, dark ends perfectly.
Whether your highlights are natural or not, we love the contrast of a rich, dark brown hair color with splashes of lighter, warm hues throughout that make it look like you just spent a summer on the beach.
Brown hair is versatile—whether you love your natural hair color or not, it's usually fairly easy to try out a somewhat lighter or darker look. Keep your roots intentionally dark (or smudged) and subtly lighten things up around your face and ends for an effortlessly chic, low-maintenance dye job.