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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!