Want to liven up a basic brunette shade? The honey highlights on brown hair trend will be perfect for you! Warm, honey-toned strands woven into a light, medium, or dark brown base are an excellent way to embellish a one-dimensional color.
See complete color descriptions, our favorite honey highlight examples on different shades of brunette hair, and tips for achieving your perfect honey and brown color combo in this guide!
Trend Alert: Honey Highlights on Brown Hair
- Warm honey highlights brighten and add dimension to brown hair
- Honey tones range from light golden to dark amber
- Brown base shades with gold or amber undertones work best
Brown hair with honey highlights is very trendy right now. As we move away from cooler-toned brown shades like ash brown, warm and toasty brunette shades are settling into the spotlight.
What better way to wake up warm brown shades than with dimensional honey-colored highlights? Honey highlights on brown hair is one of our favorite color combos.
A range of honey blonde tones from light gold to deep amber serve to brighten up brown color by bringing a little more light into shadowy brunette shades with a complementary golden or amber tone.
They add gleaming dimension and sparkle to otherwise basic, one-dimensional brown colors. When we talk about trendy honey highlights on brown hair, there’s actually a lot of range and variation in the look.
The color and tone you choose for your highlights and brown base color will tweak your final results. So you can easily create a honey and brown color combo that works really well for your complexion!
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Honey Highlight Colors and Undertones
Honey highlights have a ton of range and diversity. You don’t have to go light blonde with your honey highlights (though that’s a beautiful option)! Shades of honey highlights include:
- Pale golden blonde
- Bold sparkling yellow-golden blonde
- Darker coppery-golden or caramel gold shades
- Deep golden auburn amber tones
The undertones in honey highlights are usually yellow or golden. In darker shades of honey blonde, copper, auburn, or amber undertones pop up and offer a deeper, richer color with those same golden undertones found in lighter shades of honey blonde.
You’ll typically choose your highlight color by pairing it with a complementary base color that shares similar undertones. So if you’re leaning toward a pale golden honey highlight, consider light golden brown or light chestnut base colors.
If you want a bright golden honey blonde highlight color, you’ll want to look at brown base colors with golden undertones. If you’re looking more at deep amber-toned honey highlights, a base color like rich chestnut brown would be a perfect fit.
Brown Base Colors and Undertones
Your brown base color can range from a very light warm brown, like lightest golden brown or caramel brown, to medium shades like auburn brown or bronze, to deeper shades like dark chestnut brown or dark chocolate brown.
These brown base colors not only differ in their level and depth (how light or dark they are), but also in their undertone colors.
- Golden brown has a gold/yellow undertone that pairs really well with pale honey blonde or bright golden honey highlights.
- Caramel brown has a rich gold and copper undertone that looks amazing with bright golden honey or deep amber honey highlights.
- Auburn brown has a radiant red undertone slightly deeper than copper and pairs well with coppery honey blonde or amber-honey highlights.
- Bronze brown has a red and gold undertone, so it looks great with different shades of golden honey highlights and amber honey highlights.
- Chestnut brown has an auburn red undertone that makes it a perfect match for amber-toned honey highlights or copper honey highlights.
- Chocolate brown has golden and sometimes mahogany red undertones, so it can work with a range of honey highlight tones from pale golden honey to rich amber honey.
In most cases, you don’t want too much contrast between a honey highlight and a brown base color. A honey-colored highlight may be 2-3 shades lighter than your base brown shade for an ultra-flattering, more natural result.
10 Trendy Examples of Honey Highlights on Brown Hair
It’s easier to get a sense of just how much variety and diversity there is in this look by checking out some examples of honey highlights on brown hair. These are some of our favorite honey-lightened brown colors of all shades and depths!
1. Light Brown With Pale Honey Blonde Highlights
Extensive highlighting is the best way to add a lot of brightness to a brown base shade without losing that dimensional depth.
All-over foils add pale honey streaks through the light brown base to create a beautiful color that’s nearly equal parts honey blonde and brown. Notice that the base color looks almost like lowlights with the heavy foils in this example.
2. Chestnut Brown With Amber Honey Highlights
For a more subtle highlighted look, pair similar colors and undertones together. Chestnut brown and amber honey both have reddish golden undertones, so they make an excellent dark brown color and highlight combo!
This look features heavy red tones for those who can’t quite decide between brown or red but still want those glistening honey highlights.
3. Dark Chocolate Brown With Golden Honey Highlights
Pairing a warm dark chocolate brown with golden honey tones is a no-fail way to rock honey highlights on brown hair.
The dark chocolate base color brings shadow and dimension to the look, while flashy golden tones in the highlights add brightness and light. These highlights begin around the midshaft zone to leave a darker root intact for more contrast.
4. Sun-Kissed Brown With Gilded Honey Highlights
The lightest golden brown color straddles the line between dark blonde and light brown. This sun-kissed color makes a gorgeous base for pale golden honey highlights that add sparkle and dimension to the shade!
The color lightens up at the ends where the honey highlights overtake the base color to beautifully highlight the texture at the ends.
5. Rich Auburn Brown With Honey Blonde Highlights
Honey blonde highlights are gorgeous in a rich auburn brown base color due to their complementary warm, golden undertones. This look is one of our favorites because this incredible length includes long sliced layers that are accented with the brightened honey highlights.
6. Light Chestnut Brown and Copper Honey Highlights
Copper honey includes golden and copper undertones with hints of amber tint for a multidimensional highlight that plays well with the copper gold tones in auburn-tinted chestnut brown.
This subtle balayage color keeps the highlights and base close in level and color depth, but packs a punch with sparkling strands of varying shades.
7. Light Golden Brown Base With Caramel Honey Highlights
This beautiful color combo pairs a light golden brown base with caramel-toned honey blonde foils giving it a natural, sun-kissed look. Both colors are warm and golden with brown tones to keep the overall effect subtle and bright.
8. Honey-Dipped Mahogany Brown
This bold two-tone hair color look stacks a rich mahogany brown base with red-violet undertones over a sparkling, bright golden honey hue for contrast. The result is a honey-dipped look that’s a little edgy with plenty of dimension and complementary undertones!
9. Chestnut Brown With Chunky Golden Honey Streaks
Chunky highlights were a big deal in the late 90s and 00s, but they’re back today with a polished twist. Instead of perfectly placing your chunky streaks evenly throughout the hair, stagger the placement a bit for a more natural-looking effect. With radiant red undertones in a toasty chestnut brown, the golden honey highlights are super flattering.
10. Dark Brown With Bronzed Honey Balayage
We love the richness and boldness of a dark brown base color with a deep bronzed honey balayage. Bronzed honey features gorgeous red, brown, and golden undertones that pick up the brown and golden undertones in the rich base color.
Choosing Highlight and Base Shades for Your Complexion
Honey highlights on brown hair can be ultra-flattering when you choose the shades based on your complexion. To perfectly match your honey and brown tones for your complexion, you’ll need to determine the warmth/coolness of your undertones, identify your skin tone, and consider the overall color look you’re going for.
Do You Have Warm Undertones?
Since honey is a warm, golden blonde color, it’s always going to look best on skin with warm undertones. Brown shades are also usually warm colors (with a few exceptions) that look best on skin with warm undertones.
Warm undertones feature a subtle yellow, golden brown, or peachy tint. To check your undertone warmth or coolness, take a second to look at the following:
- What color are the veins inside your wrist? If they look greenish, you likely have warm undertones. Blue-purple color indicates cool undertones, while greenish-blue or a lack of discernible vein color indicates neutral undertones.
- What color are your eyes? Look closely. Deep brown, hazel, amber, and gold-flecked eyes typically mean you have warm undertones. Blue, green, and pale brown eyes indicate cool undertones. A mixture of both warm and cool (like blue with gold flecks) indicate neutral undertones.
- Try on some silver and gold jewelry. Which metal looks more flattering against your skin? If it’s yellow gold, you likely have warm undertones. If silver looks better, you likely have cool undertones. And if you can’t decide because both gold and silver are flattering on your skin, you may have neutral undertones.
So, if you have greenish-colored veins, deep brown, hazel, amber, or gold-flecked eyes, and look better in gold jewelry than silver, it’s safe to say that you have warm undertones. This means honey highlights on brown hair will be a perfect color combo for you!
What’s Your Skin Tone?
Once you’ve nailed your undertone ID as warm, you can start choosing the right shades of honey and brown for your highlighted look based on your skin tone. Your skin tone refers to how light or deep your skin color is.
Your skin tone will be fairly obvious, but if you’re not sure, consider how your skin responds to sunlight exposure. If you burn and have trouble tanning, your skin tone is fair/light.
If you tan easily and burn occasionally, your skin tone is medium. If your skin is darker in color and rarely burns, your skin tone is deep.
- Fair/Light: Consider pale honey blonde, golden honey blonde, or copper-honey blonde highlights with light golden brown, light chestnut brown, or auburn brown base color.
- Medium: Check out pale honey blonde, golden honey blonde, caramel honey blonde, copper-honey blonde, or amber-honey blonde highlights with medium golden brown, chestnut brown, auburn brown, chocolate brown, or mahogany base color.
- Deep: You’ll look best with golden honey blonde, caramel honey blonde, copper-honey blonde, or amber-honey blonde highlights in a rich base color like dark chestnut, deep auburn, dark chocolate, or mahogany brown.
What Colors and Tones Do You Like Best?
Once you know you have warm undertones and have determined the shades that work well with your skin tone, your preferences have the final say on which shades and tones to pick for your honey highlights and brown base color.
Since honey is a golden-yellow to golden-copper or amber color, you’ll want to pick your highlight and base color shades based on the undertones (gold and red) you want to see more or less of.
If you want…
- Mostly gold undertones: Pick golden brown or chocolate brown base shades with pale or bright golden honey blonde highlights
- Mostly red undertones: Pick auburn brown or mahogany brown base shades with copper-honey or amber-honey blonde highlights
- Balanced gold + red undertones: Pick chestnut brown or bronze base shades with golden honey, amber-honey, or golden copper-honey blonde highlights
So, if you have warm undertones, fair/light skin, and prefer mostly gold undertones without red, you might opt for pale honey blonde highlights with a light golden brown base color.
If you have a medium skin tone and want mostly red undertones with less gold, you might choose an auburn brown base with amber-honey blonde highlights.
If you have a deep skin tone and want a balanced gold/red undertone, you could opt for a bronze base color with golden copper-honey highlights.
Helpful Tips and Things to Consider
Before you book your highlight and color appointment, there are a few things you should think about and keep in mind to ensure you end up with great results. Check out these final tips and things to consider!
- Balayage/foiliage makes maintenance easier. Leaving your roots dark means less maintenance for you, so consider balayage (hand-painted highlights that don’t reach the roots) or foiliage (balayage highlights with foils) instead of traditional foils. You’ll need fewer touch ups to keep your color looking great!
- Keep your highlight level near your base color. Generally speaking, highlights should be anywhere from 1-3 shades lighter than your base color for a more natural-looking result. But if you’re after bold, high-contrast highlights, you can certainly ignore this rule of thumb.
- Think about your highlight thickness and placement. Stylists can’t read your mind, so be prepared before you arrive at the salon and know exactly what you want your highlights to look like. Do you want thin, subtle highlights placed only around the face? Do you want all-over chunky streaks? Maybe you’re after T-zone highlights placed mostly in the top layer of your hair. It’s really helpful to bring inspiration photos to show your stylist exactly how you want your highlights (and base color) done!
- Make sure your hair is healthy enough. Getting a new base color and highlights does quite a number on your hair, even if it’s healthy. You definitely don’t want to subject already-damaged hair to these chemical processes! If you’re experiencing a lot of breakage, straw-like texture, increased split ends, or a mushy/gummy feeling in your strands, you should focus on repairing your damaged hair for a month or two before dying and highlighting your hair.
- Prolong your color and protect against fading. Your honey-toned highlights and brown base color will last longer if you take a few preventative steps to prolong them. Switch to a sulfate-free shampoo for colored hair, avoid excessive heat styling and start using a heat protectant spray, wear a hat when outdoors, and avoid washing your hair more often than necessary to protect your color from fading too fast.
Trendy honey highlights on brown hair is such a flattering color combo for anyone with warm undertones. Whether you’re fair, medium, or deep-skinned, there are shades of honey and brown to perfectly complement your complexion.
All you need to know is which color undertone (red or gold) or undertone combo (balanced red and gold) you like best to pick your most flattering shades!
The pretty pair of honey highlights and brown base color will transform your mane into a shimmering cascade of golden and brown tones, with or without the radiant copper or auburn undertones found in some of the most popular honey and brown shades.
Basic brunette is beautiful, but nothing beats the multi-dimensional tones you get with honey highlights on brown hair. You’ll appear to glow from within with any of the gorgeous examples we shared in this guide – all that’s left to do is pick your favorites!