30 Caramel Hair Color Ideas for Every Hair Type and Texture

Jennifer Lopez voluminous, caramel-colored curls

John Shearer / Contributor

From bronde to tortoiseshell, variations of caramel hair color dominate our Instagram and Pinterest feeds more than any other shade. The way the light catches the color makes it incredibly nuanced, and we're here for all the styles and cuts that showcase caramel in all its glory. Whether you want subtle babylights or a dramatic "money" piece, there are so many different caramel hues to flatter every skin tone and hair color. To inspire your next salon visit, we spoke with celebrity colorists who specialize in caramel hair color.

Caramel Hair Color

Choosing a Shade: "It's important when trying to achieve that perfect caramel shade, to decide if you want to go lighter or richer," says Hazan. "You can go one way or the other to achieve that perfect balance of lightness in the hair. "

Maintenance Level: Low to medium. Your maintenance level will depend on how far you stray from your natural shade, and whether you opt for highlights or all-over color.

Goes Great With: Warm or neutral undertones, brown or hazel eyes, brunette hair

Similar Shades: Brown with blonde highlights, brown balayage, tortoiseshell, light brown

Price: Cost will vary depending on the techniques used

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Caramel Highlights

Caramel Hair Colors Highlights Hannah Jeter


The subtle transition from dark brown to caramel color achieved via highlights is truly astonishing. "This is one of my most-requested looks in the salon," says Papanikolas. "The placement of the highlights is very strategic, focusing on the face frame, natural part, and ends. It's a great way for brunettes to add lightness and dimension to their hair, and it's universally flattering."

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Cool Caramel

Caramel Hair Colors Cool Toned


These chestnut locks have a soft and subtle bronde balayage that's also highlighted lightly at the roots. "This is an ideal shade for clients who don’t want to see any red or orange undertones," says Papanikolas. "It’s very flattering on fair skin and olive tones. Keeping the highlights very delicate allows them to lighten past the warm tones."

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Light Golden Brown

Caramel Hair Colors Light Golden Brown Beyonce

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While Queen B mainly sticks to light golden brown hues here (which pair well with her dark chestnut roots) you can still see where this darker caramel melds with lighter honey tones, creating a truly dynamic and rich color.

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Pumpkin Spice

Caramel Hair Colors Pumpkin Spice Francesca Eastwood


Pumpkin spice has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, including beauty. This look incorporates a blend of warm caramel, strawberry blonde, and honey blonde tones.

According to Papanikolas, pumpkin spice hair color is a great way for very dark hair to go lighter. "To avoid the look from feeling brassy, you should be very strategic with a few highlights," he advises.

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Warm Honey

Caramel Hair Colors Honey Ana de Armas

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Ana de Armas positively glows with this light brown with honey accents, created by Papanikolas. "These warm tones are a great complement to neutral and golden skin tones," he explains. "If your hair tends to bleach out very late, you can ask for a warm golden gloss to give the hair a sheer finish."

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Caramel Coffee Balayage

Caramel Hair Colors Coffee Jessica Biel

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Transitioning from a lighter dye job or looking to brighten up a darker 'do? Try creamy caramel ends and just a few subtle face-framing highlights for a look that's low-maintenance but high-impact.

To produce the weightless volume that you see here (and keep it intact throughout the day) flexible hold hairspray is key.

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Caramel Hair Colors Butterscotch Gigi Hadid

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Hazan describes Gigi Hadid's color as "a warm caramel shade, but not orangey." The overall look feels cooler but still finds warmth in tawny highlights throughout.

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Ash Ombré

Caramel Hair Colors Ashy Ombre Ciara

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Ciara looks stunning in this bold ash-caramel ombré. Her cascading waves start with a richer chestnut root, then transition through balayage to ash blonde on the ends.

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Sandy Blonde

Caramel Hair Colors Sandy Blonde Jennifer Aniston

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If anyone knows sandy blonde color, it's the magical hands behind Jennifer Aniston's beige mane. This particular color is great for someone who wants a more ash hue instead of the warmer spectrum of caramel. Canalé describes it as "medium blonde with a cool tone." This is a perfect example of balayage done expertly.

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Candied Caramel Curls

caramel afro


Apologies for the excessive alliteration, but we couldn't resist when it came to this bright, bouncy look. Janibell Rosanne's beautiful curls go from dark brunette to a sweet, candied caramel, with her ends painted a light honey blonde.

Meet the Expert

  • Michael Canalé is a Hollywood hair color guru and Jennifer Aniston's longtime colorist.
  • George Papanikolas is a Matrix and Bioage celebrity colorist whose celeb clientele includes Hannah Jeter and Ana de Armas.
  • Rita Hazan is a celebrity colorist, salon owner, and the woman responsible for the tresses of superstars like Beyoncé and J.Lo.
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Caramel Stripes

Chunky Caramel Highlights


We love a subtle highlight, but there's something so chic about these alternating coffee and caramel streaks. The chunky highlights have us reminiscing about the early aughts.

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Honey Caramel

Curly Honey Caramel Hair


Caramel shading melts into honey blonde tips on this gorgeous, full head of curls. Highlights, coupled with curly texture, lend dimension to this style.

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Gilded Dark Caramel

Caramel Hair Colors Dark Golden Sofia Vergara

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The lighter streaks in Sofia Vergara's luscious wavy hair give her darker caramel color a gilded, almost metallic touch. To get her glossy finish, invest in a shine spray.

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Caramel Swirl

Fall Hair Colors Caramel Swirl Lily Aldridge

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Want an effortless look? This style keeps the crown of the head naturally dark, with warm, caramel blonde highlights through the mid-lengths. The addition of soft curls creates movement.

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Caramel Cream

Caramel Hair Colors Curly Jillian Hervey

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Jillian Hervey's voluminous caramel curls resemble the mouth-watering shade of Werther's Original Hard Candy. Feel free to let your roots grow in with this low-maintenance look.

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Caramel Auburn

Caramel Hair Colors Auburn


This dark interpretation of caramel gets a dose of mahogany thanks to auburn streaks that start around the crown of the head and fan out towards the ends. This is a popular color for fall but can be worn year-round.

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Sun-Kissed Brown

Caramel Hair Colors Warm Ash Brown Priyanka Chopra

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When Priyanka Chopra Jonas tried out caramel hair, she went for subtle highlights. They are the perfect inspiration if your natural color is on the darker side and you just want to brighten up a bit.

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Chunky Caramel Highlights

Caramel Hair Colors Highlights Gina Rodriguez

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Balayage may still be all the rage these days, but there's also a place for chunky highlights. Case in point: Gina Rodriguez's asymmetrical bob. The thicker stripes brighten up her face while still creating a gradual ombré effect.

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Golden Caramel

Caramel Hair Colors Golden


Looking to change up your blonde hair color but don't want anything too dramatic? Then consider opting for this golden hue of blonde caramel that practically gleams in the light—enough said.

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Rich Brunette Melt

Caramel Hair Colors Rich Brunette Naomie Harris

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Naomie Harris's soft ombré transitions from deep mahogany brown to a lighter, but still rich, caramel shade without any harsh blonde highlights. Not only does it look natural but it also enhances her natural color.

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Bright Caramel Coils

Caramel Hair Colors Swirly Highlights


Reddish caramel highlights mix with a deep chocolate base for the ultimate candied color combination. Just keep in mind that red hues tend to fade quickly, so be sure to follow a hair care regimen that will keep your color bright.

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Salted Caramel

Caramel Hair Color Salted Sandy Annie Murphy

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Schitt's Creek star Annie Murphy gives us a breezy take on caramel with a salted ombré that gives her hair a light, bouncy appearance. This color was meant for her loose waves.

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Caramel Babylights

Olivia Munn's sleek lob with caramel highlights

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

Olivia Munn's delicate caramel-colored babylights give her hair just the right amount of dimension to highlight her face and skin tone. If you have thin hair, these types of highlights are a perfect way to make your hair reflect the light in a way that gives the illusion of thicker hair.

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Caramel Blonde Balayage

Gisele Bundchen's caramel blonde highlights

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Gisele Bündchen's hair always looks effortless, shiny, and healthy. Her caramel blonde balayage is undoubtedly one of the most requested looks for beachy hair. It also grows out well and requires little maintenance—just saying.

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Bronze Caramel Highlights

Eva Mendes Bronze Caramel Highlights

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Eva Mendes has found the perfect shade to flatter her skin tone: bronze caramel highlights. They frame her face perfectly, while also adding dimension to her hair. This would be a great choice for those with dark hair who want to keep their highlights on the warmer—versus the blonde—spectrum.

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Caramel Ginger

Chrissy Teigen caramel ginger lob

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Chrissy Teigen's hair color leans more toward the red spectrum while still keeping with the warmth that defines caramel color. "Caramel is always a warm shade, so either way you go, it has to have that perfect balance of warmth," explains Hazan.

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Grown-Out Caramel

Lucy Hale with caramel ombre hair

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Follow Lucy Hale's lead and skip your next root touch-up appointment. Her grown-out caramel color is visually effortless.

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Light Brown Caramel

Kaia Gerber long brown-caramel hair

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Kaia Gerber's long hair provides the perfect canvas to show off her gradient color. Light brown roots seamlessly blend into caramel mids and ends and we can't get enough.

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Caramel Copper Highlights

Camila Cabello long brown hair with caramel highlights

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Camila Cabello's hair has got it going on: a wolf cut, curtain bangs, and effortless waves, all brought out by lovely caramel highlights. The slightly copper hue adds a further degree of warmth that pairs perfectly with her olive skin tone.

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Mussy Caramel

Michelle Yeoh grown-out caramel hair

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Academy award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh is always glamorous, even with her grown-out caramel color and subtle cool-girl side flip. To get her mussy finish, apply a texturizing spray.

  • What skin tone looks best with caramel highlights?

    In general, caramel highlights tend to complement neutral or warm skin tones that have a bit of olive or yellow. Those with cool skin tones should consider an ash blonde or champagne blonde. One quick way to determine your skin tone is to look at your eyes. Those with warm skin tones often have darker eyes or gold flecks in their eyes, while cool skin tones often have blue or green eyes.

  • Do you have to bleach your hair to get caramel highlights?

    Depending on your natural hair color and what shade of caramel highlights you desire, you may need to bleach the hair you are wanting to highlight before the color is applied. If your hair is lighter and you want darker caramel lowlights, no bleaching is required. If bleaching is required, you should go to a professional stylist for best results.

  • Should I get balayage caramel highlights or foil caramel highlights?

    It depends on what kind of look you're going for. Balayage is strategically hand-painted throughout your hair and will achieve subtle, natural-looking results. Meanwhile, foil highlights will give you a more uniform look and will start closer to the scalp.

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