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20 Rich Dark Brown Hair Ideas and Color Tips for 2022

20 Rich Dark Brown Hair Ideas and Color Tips for 2022

Dark brown hair looks are trending and we’re in love with these sultry deep shades! See the top 20 trendy dark brown hair ideas to try in our complete photo guide. Snag some helpful color tips while you’re here and see how the right dark brunette shade can transform your whole look!

What Is Dark Brown Hair?

  • Brunette shade levels 2-4 are considered dark brown
  • Choose from warm or cool-toned dark brown hair colors
  • Use dark brown hair color all over, root contrast, or lowlights

Since dark brown hair is everywhere right now, there’s a good chance you’re at least considering giving one of these rich, sultry brunette shades a try. Before you darken your strands with a full-bodied brown color, it’s really helpful to know exactly what dark brown hair – and what it isn’t. 

Dark brown hair is just a term used to describe hair colors between level 2 (darkest black-brown) and level 4 (dark brown). Some might consider level 5 brown to be “dark brown,” but levels 5 and 6 are actually medium brown. 

Dark brown hair colors just happen to encompass some of the most iconic brunette shades. Rich espresso, dark chocolate, deep chestnut, black cherry, mahogany, cafe noir, and dark ash brown are just a sample of how diverse the dark brunette shades are! 

If you’re interested in rocking dark brown hair, you’ll be making a choice between these similarly dark but vastly different shades. That choice gets a lot easier when you start looking at them through the lens of color temperature. 

Every dark brown hair color falls under one of 3 color temperature categories: Warm, cool, or neutral. Choosing your dark brown shade according to the color temperature of your skin’s undertone is the only way to 100% ensure a flattering result. 

Most shades of dark brown are warm with notable golden, auburn, copper, or bronze undertones. Warm dark browns include dark chocolate, dark chestnut, and deep golden browns. These shades look amazing on skin with warm undertones, which usually give your complexion a peachy or golden tint. 

There aren’t as many cool dark brown shades, but silvery dark ash brown and dark mushroom brown are popular options that really flatter skin with cool undertones. Cool skin undertones are usually visible as a very subtle pink or blue tint to the skin. 

The final color temperature category for dark browns is neutral. Neutral dark brown hair colors have both warm and cool undertones that are balanced to suit neutral skin tones well. Shades like espresso, cafe noir, black cherry, mahogany, and maroon are all ideal on neutral skin tones. 

Once you ID your skin’s undertone and know which dark brown shades to look for, you’re on the path to a gorgeous color that flatters your complexion! All that’s left to do from there is decide on all-over, balayage, ombre, or highlighted color. 

Dark brown hair is beautiful on its own. Not many other colors are as rich, silky, and full-bodied as deep brunette shades! But if it seems like you’ll be bored of a single, all-over color, you have a ton of other options to consider. 

Use dark brown hair color as a base for a subtle balayage color with medium brown to slightly lift the color. Try a dark brown root melt and unexpected copper or auburn to create a two-toned ombre look that turns heads! 

You can pair unique color combinations, like cool mushroom brown and warm mahogany, to formulate a dark brown color that puts you in the most flattering light. Or try a high-contrast dark blonde highlight with a dark brown hair color! 

The options are nearly endless – just how we like it! Take a peek below to see some of our favorite dark brown hair colors and find the ones that will flatter your complexion best. 

20 Most Flattering Dark Brown Hair Ideas

We rounded up 20 of the most flattering dark brown hair ideas so you can browse and pick the options you like best. Whether you’re seeking out luxe, all-over color in a single dark brown shade or want a gorgeous balayage look, you’ll find some stunning options below! 

1. Hot Chocolate Brown With Golden Brown Accents

Woman poses with her hair lifted around her in a dark brown chocolate shade

Subbotina Anna/Shutterstock

Love warm dark brown hair colors? Don’t sleep on a toasty hot chocolate shade adorned with some medium golden brown accents! This rich color brings tons of depth and dimension thanks to tucked-away chunks of golden-flecked brown hiding throughout. 

2. Cafe Noir and Chocolate Balayage

African American woman tilts her head and smiles wearing white blouse with long dark brown hair in soft waves

L Julia/Shutterstock

If you’re afraid to go too dark or just prefer the softness of medium brown, you can still wear the dark brown hair trend! Try a milk/dark chocolate balayage on a dark cafe noir base color around level 2. This black-brown shade benefits from the lift that golden chocolate tones provide. 

3. Dark Chestnut to Auburn Ombre

Back view of woman with dark brown hair and auburn ombre color wearing black t-shirt in front of off-white wall

Maaleenn/Shutterstock

Rich chestnut brown has those glowing, warm red undertones that really boost the dimension and depth of the shade. Choosing a dark chestnut color makes an auburn ombre look perfect since it brings out those warm, coppery undertones. 

4. Medium Mushroom Brown to Dark Mahogany

Woman glances off to the side wearing gray cable knit sweater and long curly dark brown hair with mahogany ombre

Art_man/Shutterstock

Take a cool/neutral-toned mushroom brown in a medium shade to new heights with dark, sultry mahogany color for a pretty ombre effect. These drastically different tones manage to seamlessly blend in a gradient look that allows you to wear a dark, rich brown without taking those deep tones all the way up to your roots. 

5. Cool-Toned Dark Ash Brown

Asian woman glances at camera with her ash-toned dark brown hair blowing in the wind in front of a gray wall

LifetimeStock/Shutterstock

Ash brown is one of the rare cool-toned brunette shades that makes wearing the dark brown hair trend a lot easier for cool-toned ladies! If your skin has a cool undertone, try a deep ash brown in a level 4 to get skin-boosting benefits from that subtle silvery glow!

6. Subtle Chocolate to Chestnut Ombre

Side view of woman looking to the right with chocolate dark brown hair finished with subtle chestnut color

sruilk/Shutterstock

Subtle ombre, or sombre, color is ideal if you’re eyeing two or more shades of dark brown. Here, a warm chocolate tone dominates the roots through the midshaft zone. Reddish dark chestnut brown picks up in the midshaft and carries that warm, auburn-hued brown color through the ends. 

7. Black With Dark Chestnut Ribbon Balayage

Back view of woman in white blouse with a long bob haircut in dark brown shade with black

Maaleenn/Shutterstock

Naturally black hair is a great candidate for trying out dark brown hair color. We love how a deep chestnut colored ribbon balayage looks with natural black roots! The warm chestnut shade sweeps up into the base color, lifting it a bit and adding pretty red tones that sparkle in the light. 

8. Deep Ash Brown With Light Golden Brown Balayage

Smiling woman on a city street wears a gray sweater and straight long dark brown hair with golden brown highlights

Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock

Normally, we caution against pairing warm and cool-toned colors like ash brown (cool) and golden brown (warm). It works well in this case and can be really flattering for those with neutral undertones. You get a balanced warm/cool effect with plenty of depth from the dark ash tones! 

9. Subtle Black Cherry

Smiling woman in front of pink wall in blue shirt has curly hair in a dark brown black cherry color

Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Black cherry doesn’t sound like a dark brown hair color, but it is! This is a rich shade around level 2 with subtle violet and red undertones that give it a finish much like the delectable fruit. This color looks subtle in dim lighting, but really sparkles in natural and bright light!

10. Dark Brown With Vibrant Copper Balayage

Woman places finger on chin and wears big round sunglasses in front of mint colored wall with long dark brown hair and auburn ombre

HighKey/Shutterstock

There are subtle violet undertones in the cool, dark brown base color in this balayage look. They contrast nicely with the bright, orange-red metallic tones in the copper color that weaves through the bottom half. This warm/cool color combo works very well on skin with neutral undertones!

11. Dark Chestnut With Espresso Root Smudge

Woman poses in front of dark gray wall and smiles with white sweater, showing her fanned out curly dark brown hair

KOBRIN PHOTO/Shutterstock

Fall in love with the depth of a dark chestnut brown, featuring prominent auburn undertones that come to life in the light. Apply this color all-over for a gorgeously silky look and try a few golden brown highlights throughout. A dark espresso smudged root is great for simple maintenance if your natural color is dark brown or black. 

12. Espresso With Dark Maroon Balayage

Woman seen from back wearing black t-shirt models shoulder-length dark brown hair with maroon balayage

Maaleenn/Shutterstock

Super-dark espresso brown looks nearly black, but still has that warm richness of a deep brown shade. It’s gorgeous alone, but pair it with a dark maroon balayage to flick dark brown with hints of red and violet upward into the base shade. 

13. Dimensional Dark Chocolate Brown 

Happy woman crosses her arms and smiles while standing in front of pink wall with long dark chocolate brown hair

Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

The rich taste of dark chocolate somehow translates into this level 4 hair color that’s full of dimension and oh-so-shiny! Fans of classic dark brown hair colors can wear this color all-over with no need for highlights or additional color. It’s that vibrant and rich on its own! 

14. Dark Chestnut Brown With Golden Copper Highlights

Woman shown from rear with arms raised to lift her long dark brown hair with copper highlights wearing black long sleeved shirt

sruilk/Shutterstock

There’s something so special about dark brown hair colors with rich copper accents! A reddish deep chestnut brown shade gets lifted (and gifted!) with gilded copper highlights that don’t quite reach the roots. Can you say gorgeous and low-maintenance?

15. Dark Roasted Coffee Brown

Woman with closed eyes and bare shoulders lifts her long dark brown hair above her shoulders and smiles

RooftopStudioBangkok/Shutterstock

Picture a full-bodied, dark roast coffee that delights your senses – that’s pretty much what this hair color is. Radiant but subtle red undertones accent this dark brown hair color and lend it tons of dimension and shine. 

16. Silky Espresso With Copper Ribbon Lights

Rear view of long-haired woman in black shirt with espresso and copper balayage hair color

sruilk/Shutterstock

We love a multi-toned color, especially when you bring a dark brown shade into the mix! Rich espresso tones provide the depth and shadow in the background for this look. Warm, bright copper ribbon lights (ribbon balayage color) weaves up through the look to add brightness and rich red tones. 

17. Rich Black-Brown Sombre

Woman tilts her head and smiles with glamorous waves done in her dark brown hair with black-brown roots

Irina Bg/Shutterstock

Try a subtle ombre color to see how you like a rich dark brown color before jumping in with both feet. This black-brown level 2 color is softened up with a dark level 3-4 brown transition in the bottom portion. Keeping the two shades within 1-2 levels of each other gives you that gorgeously subtle gradient effect. 

18. Cafe Noir With Dark Chocolate Ribbon Balayage

Back view of woman with hand on her shoulder showing off a long bob with curled ends and dark brown color

MRAORAOR/Shutterstock

Ribbon balayage looks bring the lighter color up through the base with chunky ribbons of color. It’s a beautiful way to liven up a very dark brown hair color without sacrificing that sultry depth. We love how dark chocolate pairs with black-brown cafe noir color and brings in some subtle gold and reddish undertones. 

19. Dark Coffee With Light Golden Brown Balayage

Woman with a small smile looks at camera with long brown curly hair colored with light brown balayage lying over her shoulder

sruilk/Shutterstock

Embody the full, dark richness of a perfectly roasted coffee bean with your base color and let it brighten up to a light golden brown through the ends. It’s the formula for a beautiful balayage that breaks the “2 shade” rule for highlights, but still looks amazing. 

20. Dark Chocolate and Auburn Balayage

Rear view of woman wearing an off-shoulder black top with long hair featuring dark brown and auburn balayage

sruilk/Shutterstock

Enrich those roots with dark chocolate brown tones to infuse a little warmth and depth. The real magic happens with the dark auburn color painted up through the ends into the midshaft for a gorgeously unique balayage color! If you’re not a fan of red tones, try a medium or light golden brown instead of auburn. 

Things to Consider

It doesn’t matter if you’re a natural dark brunette or this’ll be your first time experimenting with sultry dark brown hair. If you keep the following considerations and tips in mind, you’ll enjoy the silkiest, richest color results! 

  • Look for shades that suit your coloring. Warm skin undertones look best in warm dark brown colors, like chestnut, dark chocolate, coffee brown, and dark golden brown. Cool skin undertones look best in cool dark browns, like dark ash brown and dark mushroom brown. Neutral skin undertones can try warm, cool, or neutral browns like espresso, mahogany, burgundy, or maroon. 
  • Help your color last longer with the right shampoo. Don’t even think about coloring your hair dark brown until you’re all set with a gentle sulfate-free shampoo! Grab a good shampoo for dark colored hair to ensure it won’t strip dye and reduce the lifespan of your dark brown hair color. Try to wash less often if you can – this is another way to help your dark brown shade last a little longer. 
  • Consider dressing your color up a bit. Dark brown shades can be gorgeously rich and dimensional on their own, but you may love the way balayage, ombre, highlights, or peekaboo color looks with a deep shade of brown. If you want a low-contrast look, just opt for a medium brown tone that matches the undertones in your base shade (like a medium chocolate brown highlight with a dark chocolate brown base). For more contrast, leap a few shade levels with your highlight/balayage color to help it stand out more! 
  • Try it on virtually first. Trying a new hair color is a much smoother process when you can see how it looks before you commit. We created an easy virtual hair color try-on tool that shows you how you’ll look with different hair colors, cuts, and styles in real time using your web cam! This way, you can be sure you’ll love the new dark brown hair color before you book that appointment or buy your box color. 

Will You Give Dark Brown Hair a Try?

As beautiful as dark brown hair is, it’s definitely a bold color choice that may not work for everyone. With the considerations and tips in this guide, you have a lot of info to help you decide if a deep brunette shade is going to be the look for you. 

If you’re excited about rocking dark brown hair but worry it’ll be too harsh against your skin tone, we really recommend starting small. Consider a dark chocolate or deep ash brown root melt with a lighter color, or going with a few chunky dark brunette lowlights in your current color.

And if you come to the conclusion that dark brown hair just isn’t the right choice for you, we’ve got a lot of other looks that we think you’ll love. Check out 15 Trendy Light Brown Hair Colors We Love or Our Favorite Honey Blonde Hair Color Ideas next!