Choosing a hair color is a daunting task. You typically want to consider what maintenance will look like, how many sessions it will take to achieve your desired look, and the financial cost associated with that look. But sometimes, even with all that research, you might find that the look you've selected just doesn't feel like you. One way colorists often recommend their clients avoid this disappointment is to choose a hair color that complements your eye color—and of course, with a neutral color like brown eyes, this strategy opens up a world of options.
Brown eyes are the most common eye color in the world, and with so many subtleties and shades, they're truly a beautiful companion to a wide range of hair colors. Of course, you can always color your hair in any way you please (regardless of the "rules" around complementing your eye color). But if you are interested in a new hair color that will really put the spotlight on your brown eyes, look no further.
Ahead, celebrity hairstylists Trey Gillen and Richy Kandasamy share their 20 favorite hair color ideas for brown hair.
Meet the Expert
Choosing a hair color that complements your natural eye color can ensure that your final look is all that you hoped for - so which hair colors enhance brown eyes? To make your search easier, we consulted two hair color experts for their recommendations on the most flattering hair colors for brown eyes.
Keep reading for our list of 20 hair colors that look extra gorgeous with brown eyes.
"As with lavender eye shadows, a lavender shade will make brown eyes pop," shares Gillen. "I love putting lavender in my brown shades to enhance the gold in a brown-eyed person. You can do this quite literally with fun lavender fashion colors or subtly in the brunette," he explains.
The lavender color can be applied directly to brown hair for a more subtle undertone or for a more striking lavender look like Justine Sky, some lightening of the hair may be needed first. If you want to try adding lavender to your hair without commitment, try a color-depositing deep conditioner, like the Maria Nila Colour Refresh Lavender.
Warm Caramel Highlights
Subtle changes to your hair color can make a big difference in the amount of attention drawn to your eyes. Kandasamy says that the perfect color depth acts like a frame for the face by drawing attention to the eyes and giving an overall balance. To bring out the light hints of brown eyes, Kandasamy recommends warm caramel highlights, especially for those with warmer skin tones.
If bright red is too intense for you, consider an auburn hue. Gillen says "live a little and bring out the rich auburn undertones in your brown." He adds that this is an especially wonderful color option if your brown eyes ever look hazel, because the auburn will bring out any green in your eyes. This color is also a great option for those who have a lot of red or orange undertones naturally.
Face Framing Babylights
If you're looking to draw attention to your face, look no further than face-framing babylights. This highlighting technique emphasizes your facial features by lightening the strands that frame your face. Gillen explains that this will give brown hair a boost by strategically drawing interest to your face. "Keep the babylights cool and just natural enough to show off your styling and add a pop around the face," he explains.
When styling this coloring, consider leaving the babylight sections out of updos, as seen here on Addison Rae. This will allow those lighter strands to really pop against your brown eyes.
Rich Golden Brunette
A favorite of both Gillen and Queen B, a rich golden brunette is a great warm tone to bring out your brown eyes. "This is great with brown eyes, as it enhances the warmth and brings the color forward in the eyes," Gillen explains. He says it's a look that is sophisticated and smoldering—and we have to agree. Beyoncé has embraced a golden brunette tone quite a few times over the course of her career and it brings out both her deep brown eyes and the definition of her curls.
If you are going to be coloring curly hair, Gillen does recommend giving it some TLC afterward. "After color, give your hair some love and nourishment with the Sachajuan Curl Treatment. After washing, towel dry, apply Curl Treatment, and set a timer for 10-20 mins. Rinse well and style as normal. You can also use it as your daily conditioner in the shower," advises Gillen.
While there are plenty of colors found in a sunset, we often associate sunsets with warm pink, purple, orange, and yellow hues. All of these colors can complement naturally brown eyes and play off of the depth of colors inside. Not ready to commit to a full head of sunset hair? Gillen recommends a sunset balayage for a similar vibe. "I always love a natural looking balayage with warm sunset tones. Think of those pictures you see where the brown hair is just perfect in the warm lighting of a sunset," shares Gillen.
Glowing Lightest Brown
This shade verges into dirty blonde category, but Gillen assures us this is still brunette. "This is a show stopper, and is almost blonde but not quite," he says. "This is one of the only colors I like to do with a single tone all over, as people will swear it’s your natural hair color." A great complement to medium-to-dark brown eyes, Gillen recommends keeping this color slightly golden so it glows and brings out the warm tones in your eyes.
Bold red color options bring punchy new life to brown eyes. For those with warmer brown eyes, the red can highlight the yellows or golds found within the brown iris. For darker brown eyes, bold red colors can help to bring balance and light to your entire face, but especially your eyes. Gillen recommends working with your hair’s natural red tones, sharing "embrace the undertones and let them add warmth to your skin and eyes."
Julia Roberts never shies away from large, caramel ribbons. "Caramel is never a mistake with brown eyes," says Gillen. "Chunky ribbons are trending and totally give summer vibes." Here, you can really see how the caramel color brings out the warmth in Julia's brown eyes—and it gives her signature waves a glossy depth.
Color Melt Brunette
A subtle brunette color melt could be great for someone looking for low-maintenance and soft grow-out, as this technique allows you to leave your roots as-is. With this style, you keep the roots dark and slowly melt into lighter shades of brown as you reach the ends. "This allows every level of brown to be present," says Gillen. "Darkest at the root to lightest brown at the ends—think modern ombré. The darkness at the root won’t wash you out and will help with low-maintenance hair appointments."
Bold, brown-eyed individuals can look no further for a hue that complements their eye color: pink is your color. Kandasamy loves pastel hair colors for brown eyes because it creates a stunning contrast. He says pink will make your brown eyes pop because of the opposite depth and tone of color. If pink isn't your vibe, he also says pastels of blue and purple can have a similar effect.
Cool Caramel Highlights
If you're looking to add more depth to brown eyes, Kandasamy says to consider cool caramel highlights. This ashier tone is cooler than the traditional caramel and Kandasamy says "cool tones compliment the opposite warmth of brown eyes and accentuates the gloss in the eyes."
True jet-black hair is a stunning contrast to brown eyes. Kandasamy says jet-black hair creates harmonious intensity for brown eyes - something we can't help but agree with. Jet black hair might be a fresh new option for those with brown hair who don't want to have to bleach their natural hair, but still want to embrace a new color to bring out their eyes.
For those with brown eyes and curly hair, Kandsamy recommends creating movement and depth in the hair with lighter shades. "Coloring curly and textured hair is all about dimension, separation, and movement in the hair," he says. "Adding some highlights and lowlights can work like magic to give you more dimension and illusion of volume."
Kandsamy notes that when you're planning to dye curly hair, make sure you schedule a consultation with a qualified colorist who is trained in protecting the integrity of textured hair during the highlighting or lowlighting process.
Burgundy and Maroon Hints
Changing your hair color to highlight your brown eyes does not always mean committing to a totally new hair color. "Red, burgundy, and maroon hints can really bring out brown eyes with a smoother, more harmonious overall look," explains Kandasamy. Consider adding hints and highlights to test how a hair color balances out your skin and eye colors.
Verging into the blonde territory, Gillen suggests a beige-brunette hue. "We often think of 'beigey blondes,' but take things a little darker," he explains. Gillen says to keep that perfect “not too warm, not too cool” shade of beige and it will be the perfect shade for super dark brown eyes. "Hair color can either enhance or diminish the eye color, so it’s just as important to consider the eyes as it is a client’s skin tone," explains Gillen.
Can't go wrong with a classic! Dark hair and eyes make for a deeply beautiful combo. Kandasamy says dark brown hair creates a balance for brown eyes, helping them to really shine. If you have medium brown or even light-colored hair naturally, trying a darker shade may help you to appreciate your brown eyes even more.
This look is peach-perfect for brown eyes. Kandasamy explains that peach tones help to calibrate the richness of brown eyes, providing a playful balance. You can commit to a full head of gorgeous peach locks, or try some peach face-framing highlights to see if they bring out your eye color.
Milk Chocolate Highlights
Another favorite color choice for Gillen is what he describes as dark brown with milk chocolate highlights. Calling this look "the best of everything," Gillen recommends you keep things simple with your dark roots being kept dark and adding horizontally foiled highlights of rich milk chocolate. He adds that for a fun twist, you can add a touch of red-violet to the milk chocolate, which is like a chocolate bar with raisins.
It's important to closely analyze the colors in your brown eyes to understand what tones will bring them out. For brown eyes with flecks of hazel, gold, and light brown, a honey hue will certainly make your iris seem to sparkle even more.