We fully believe that light brown hair is magic—it complements anyone and everyone. No matter your hair type, texture, eye color, or skin tone, light brown hair is destined to look good. It's a universally flattering hair color and one that's perfect for displaying summery highlights. It also requires little to no maintenance (especially compared to other popular hair color trends—like peach or platinum blonde). While it's never been a hair color that's gone out of style, its effortless upkeep and the warm vibe is why we think it's trendy right now.
Whether it's J.Lo's golden brown red-carpet bob or Mandy Moore's caramel-hued waves, celebrities are inspiring us to commit to lighter locks. "The most flattering shades tend to be within two shades of your natural color. Any lighter results in a brassy tone and darker can be harsh," says MATRIX celebrity colorist George Papanikolas. We spoke to Papanikolas and Joico brand ambassador Larisa Love for more light brown hair ideas.
Below, check out 25 variations of light brown hair.
Light Brown With Blonde Streaks
Natalie Portman is one of Hollywood's most consistent supporters of light brown hair. In this Oscar-worthy look, her light brown locks are cut in a chic bob and are highlighted with thin streaks of blonde hair on either side of her face. Maintenance-wise, this is a pretty easy-to-maintain look. "Being a brunette is easier than being any other color because you don’t need to lift exponentially, and brunettes fade slower," says Love.
Light Brown With Darker Roots
Nicole Richie's light brown hair verges on blonde, but we're still counting it thanks to her darker roots. It looks like she's in the process of growing out the color, which gives it an effortless vibe.
"If you have olive skin or a darker complexion, a cool-toned brunette would be most suitable. If you have a more pale complexion, a warm-toned brunette will complement you best," says Love.
Starting with her raven roots and melding into a light-brown bob, Beyoncé's curled tips add some flair to her already chic look. To get the perfect curled tips on a short haircut, try the T3 Single Pass Curling Iron ($160).
Though Brit beauty Alexa Chung has gone darker with her hair, we're still not over this perfect light brown color. Her dark-to-light brown ombré is subtle but showcases a bit of her signature edge.
We can't decide what we like more: Ciara's soft feathery fringe or her multi-tonal brown hair that goes from dark to light and back again. "Dark hair that is going lighter always pulls warm, so unless you want a coppery-brown, it's important to use an ash tone to balance out and neutralize the unwanted orange tones," says Papanikolas.
At-home care is essential. "I would highly recommend using professional products only," says Love. She recommends Joico Defy Damage Shampoo and Conditioner ($20/each) and K-PAK Color Therapy Luster Lock Spray ($23).
Preserve color by washing hair less frequently and waiting a full 72 hours after a color treatment before washing.
Emily Blunt is known to be a hair color chameleon. We have a special place in our hearts for the gradient, undulating light brown color she's sporting here, which almost borders on a strawberry blonde.
One Allover Shade
We adore Issa Rae's natural brown shade, which still looks shiny, vibrant, and rich on her natural texture without any obvious highlights, balayage, or roots. What a perfect example of "less is more."
Jourdan Dunn's light brown color is basically a master class in achieving the perfect gradient ombré. The color seamlessly transforms from dark brown at the root to caramel blonde at the ends, and her long layers add some texture to her sleek mane.
Although she was born and raised in New England, Mandy Moore truly embodies the California girl aesthetic. Her equally beachy golden-blonde ombré highlights complement her textured beach waves. For similar texture and wave definition, try spritzing Verb Sea Texture Spray ($18) from mid-lengths to ends.
Laverne Cox's cool-toned take on light brown has us swearing off shades with "honey" in the name for the foreseeable future. Her sleek, wet-look bob seriously elevates the color.
Light Brown With Blonde Highlights
Jessica Biel is another celebrity who is synonymous with light brown hair with blonde highlights. This style here is classic Biel, simple and beachy, but works on various skin types. "Light brown can complement any skin tone, but the underlining pigment is what’s important," Love says. "Skin tone is a key factor in choosing the right shade of brunette."
Gisele Bündchen is always seen with hair that's dyed varying shades of "bronde," or a brown/blonde hybrid color. Here, it's more brown than blonde, but her soft and subtle highlights could make you do a double-take.
Soft Blonde Highlights
We can't get over Nina Agdal's super soft blonde highlights. They meld into the rest of her brown hair so perfectly; they're almost too good to be true.
Sleek Light Brown
Chrissy Teigen has been a pioneer of the light-brown hair trend, and it's easy to see why. We love how the soft, sweeping waves in her long bob perfectly shape around her glowing skin.
It's always exciting to check-in on model Chanel Iman because you truly never know what hair color she'll be trying next. While she's prone to versatility, Iman most often rocks jet black hair, so the addition of caramel streaks, seen here, is a fun statement.
Bouncy Golden Brown
Every photo taken of Sofia Vergara looks like it could be used for a luxury shampoo ad. Her long, golden-brown locks have a full, beachy wave. There is literally a curling iron called The Beachwaver ($129) if you want the same carefree look.
Light Brown Ombré
Here's a throwback for you: remember when Miley Cyrus had light brown hair? Here she is pictured on the red carpet with a lovely light-brown ombré look.
Dark-to-Light With Dark Brows
While Cara Delevingne is known for her blonde hair and dark, thick eyebrows, we loved her light-brown hair moment. Her middle part and long waves were classic, but the rich, tawny hue was a delightful and beautifully executed surprise.
Dark Roots With Lighter Ends
Gemma Chan is pictured here sporting a long, brunette shade with nearly black roots and much lighter brown ends. The look adds dimension and looks especially great with a slight wave, as seen here.
We're always in awe of Jennifer Lopez, but this shoulder-length chop in this gorgeous brown/blonde color left us especially mesmerized. Her chestnut brown locks perfectly complement her bronzed skin.
Going brunette might seem easy enough, but maybe don't try this at home. Papanikolas says, "There are so many factors when choosing the right shade and type of color technology that it's really recommended to see a professional to get the best result."
Ashley Tisdale is also a proponent of a black-to-light-brown ombré. Her jet-black roots transition into a chestnut brown, gradually lightening until ending with toasted brown tips.
Serena William's disco-worthy curls aren't light enough to be truly blonde here. Still, that cool beigey tone keeps them angelic without actually exiting the brown family—what the word "bronde" describes perfectly.
Meagan Good's golden, reddish-brown highlights are chic, especially on a sophisticated pixie styled in a deep side part and slicked back behind one ear. To mimic her shine, we'll be using Alterna Haircare Caviar Infinite Color Hold Top Coat Shine Spray ($32).
Jessica Alba, to us, is basically the poster child for light brown hair. She's been rocking the color for years, and it always looks fresh, light, and youthful. Her soft brown and caramel tones are beautifully accented with her gold earrings and copper-colored dress.
As for how much you can expect to pay for a similar look, Love says that depends. "Price at the salon varies on your hair texture, length and history," she says. "The first appointment in the salon will probably be the most expensive to get you to the perfect shade of brunette you’ve been dreaming of."
Miranda Kerr's light brown hair looks best when styled in a wavy, textured lob. The key to this look is volume, which Kerr has at the roots of her hair. Try using Ouai Volume Spray ($26) for a similar boost.