Trendy light brown hair has the brightness and luminosity of a deep blonde with the richness and depth of brunette colors. See our favorite light brown hair color ideas and learn how to find your perfect light brown shade in this guide!
The Light Brown Hair Color Trend
- Light brown shades have the brilliance of blonde + depth of brunette
- Tons of shades that suit all skin tones and undertones
- Perfect for dimensional all-over color, balayage, ombre, and highlights
While different shades of blonde, red, and dark brown have had their time in the spotlight, it’s light brown’s turn to shine. Light brown hair has made its way into the foreground and honestly, it’s one of the most versatile and universally flattering hair colors we’ve seen.
Light brown hair blends the prismatic brilliance of blonde with the shiny depth of brunette shades. It’s a flattering “in-between” hair color that never looks too light or too dark/harsh on different skin tones.
Seriously – light brown shades can suit anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re fair, medium, or deep-skinned. It doesn’t matter if your undertones are warm, cool, or neutral.
There’s a shade – or several! – of light brown that will perfectly flatter your complexion and give you a natural, balanced color that works for any season. There are warm light brown shades with brilliant golden or radiant red undertones, like light golden brown, light bronze, and light chestnut brown.
These warm, dimensional shades of light brown suit anyone with a golden or peachy undertone so well that the color will look natural and give your complexion a healthy glow.
Or, if you have cooler undertones, there are cool light brown shades with shimmering silvery ash or muted violet undertones, like light ash brown, mushroom brown, or lilac ash brown.
The cooler end of the light brown spectrum is ideal for flattering a cool-toned complexion and won’t clash with the natural red, pink, or bluish tint in your skin. Light brown shades are perfect for dimensional all-over color or in multi-toned balayage, ombre, or highlighted looks.
These shades pair really well with bright and deep blondes, rich reds, and medium to dark brown colors. Since light brown hair colors are so trendy right now, we decided to pull together a list of some of our favorite shades along with photos to help you envision the color you want.
We’ll also give you some pointers to pick out pretty light brown colors that are sure to suit you based on your skin tone and undertone.
What Shade of Light Brown Hair Will Look Best on You?
- Warm light browns (golden/red undertones) glow against warm undertones
- Cool light browns (ash/violet undertones) are perfect for cool undertones
- Warm, cool, and mixed warm/cool light browns are ideal for neutral undertones
Before we check out some of our favorite examples of the many shades of light brown, let’s talk about pinpointing the shades that will work best for you. This way, you can focus on the shades that are going to look amazing on you in the list below while ignoring the ones that won’t do you any favors.
If you want a flattering shade of light brown that won’t clash with your skin and will look natural and balanced on you, you have to take your undertone (warm, cool, or neutral) into account.
Determining Your Skin’s Undertone
If you’ve ever tried a color and found that it “clashed” with your skin – maybe even giving your skin a reddish or sallow tint – you’ll understand why matching your hair color to your undertones is so important.
Since there are a range of light brown shades to choose from, you’ll want to pick the ones that are part of the same color temperature family (warm, cool, or neutral) as your skin’s undertone.
Light Brown Hair Colors for Warm Undertones
Warm undertones have a peach, golden, or golden brown tint. People with warm undertones typically look better in yellow gold jewelry than silver, in cream or off-white than pure white, and usually have green, hazel, deep brown, or gold-flecked eyes.
If that sounds like you, look for warm shades of light brown that have a golden, bronze, or red undertone. Shades like light golden brown, light bronze, light chestnut brown, and light auburn brown are all gorgeous options for anyone with warm undertones.
Light Brown Hair Colors for Cool Undertones
Cool undertones have a pink or bluish tint. People with cool undertones typically look better in silver jewelry than yellow gold, in pure white than cream or off-white, and usually have blue, pale brown, or gray eye color.
If you have cool undertones, look for cool shades of light brown that have a silver, ash, or violet/lilac undertone. Shades like light ash brown, light mushroom brown, and light lilac ash brown are all beautiful options on cooler undertones.
Light Brown Hair Colors for Neutral Undertones
Neutral undertones have a yellow or greenish tint or a mix of warm and cool undertones. People with neutral undertones look as good in yellow gold jewelry as they do in silver, can pull off pure white and off-white well, and may have a blend of cool and warm eye colors (like blue or gray with golden or deep brown flecks).
If you have neutral undertones, you have the most options for light brown hair colors. You can choose colors you like from the warm or cool end of the spectrum, or mix warm and cool shades in one multi-toned look!
15 Trendy Light Brown Hair Colors We Love
Now that you’ve had a quick lesson on the way your undertone influences the shades of light brown that will look best on you, let’s get to the fun part – checking out some gorgeous examples!
These are some of the different ways you can rock light brown tresses in a range of shades and with different color techniques. Make note of the options below that will suit your undertone (warm, cool, or neutral).
1. Light Golden Brown With Blonde Babylights
One way to brighten and elevate a warm light golden brown shade is with delicate, all-over babylights. These are tiny highlights with minimal space in between done with a super-fine highlight weave. A light golden blonde highlight is perfect for a light golden brown all-over color.
2. Light Ash Brown With Shadow Root
You don’t need long locks to have fun with your light brown hair color! A rich, deep brown shadow root creates a nice contrast for a light ash brown base color. This silvery ash shade shimmers and shines with just enough depth.
3. Chestnut Brown to Light Golden Brown Sombre
Sombre (subtle ombre) colors are such a great way to get a multi-toned look with an even color graduation. A warm medium chestnut brown root melt blends out into a light golden brown shade in this look, and it’s great for women with a darker natural hair color who worry about root growth ruining the look.
4. Dimensional Light Chestnut Brown
Light chestnut brown is a warm shade with notable auburn undertones that give it a reddish tint. This dimensional color is done with a shadow root for minimal maintenance and fewer root touch-ups needed.
5. Light Caramel Brown Balayage
Deep espresso brown roots look great with a light caramel brown balayage color. Caramel has rich golden and slightly reddish undertones, so this color is a good fit for women with dark natural hair and a warm undertone. Look how well the light brown accentuates the curves and spirals of these prolific coils!
6. Light Chocolate Brown With Golden Blonde Balayage
If you want to try out trendy light brown but crave something a little brighter, golden blonde balayage is the perfect solution. This off-root color leaves plenty of light chocolate brown in the final look while sweeping a soft golden blonde up through the midshaft for a little extra brightness.
7. Dimensional Light Brown With Lowlights
If you’re afraid an all-over color will look a little flat, get lowlights a shade or two deeper for more depth and contrast! Ribbons of light bronze and medium chocolate weave throughout this look for an interesting color contrast that can be as subtle (fine lowlights) or bold (chunky highlights) as you want.
8. Light Brown With Golden Blonde Balayage
A warm, light milk chocolate-colored base color is the ideal foundation for medium golden blonde balayage. Thin tendrils of brighter blonde illuminate the look while the light chocolate tone keeps the color grounded with a little shadow and depth.
9. Light Copper Brown With Shadow Root
Copper and brown go together seamlessly for a color similar to chestnut with a bronzed, metallic effect. If this color is far off from your natural color, try a darker shadow root to help blend in new root growth and make maintenance a little easier.
10. Light Chestnut Brown With Chunky Caramel Foils
This shade of light brown hair is warm and nutty, just like the natural color of reddish-brown chestnuts. Add in some warm caramel blonde chunky foil highlights just off the root for a brightened-up twist on this pretty shade.
11. Light Lilac Ash Brown
Here’s a unique cool-toned color if you want to do something different with light brown hair! A light ash brown gets toned with a light violet color to create a muted, cool light brown with a metallic look.
This color can work well for neutral undertones as well, since brown always features a slightly warm undertone even when it’s a cooler shade.
12. Light Bronze With Honey Blonde Balayage
Light bronze brown is such a trendy shade and super-flattering on warm undertones. It has a unique blend of copper and golden brown undertones.
So it pairs perfectly with golden honey blonde balayage. Together, these shades create a dimensional, metallic-like color that looks bright in the sunlight and more brown in dimmer light.
13. Light Auburn Brown and Butterscotch Blonde Ombre
Pairing two colors with similar undertones is a quick recipe for gorgeous ombre and balayage color that looks natural. Light auburn brown has red and golden undertones while butterscotch blonde has warm golden caramel undertones with a hint of copper. We love this color combo for a seamless ombre color!
14. Light Golden Brown
Golden brown has such a warm and toasty tint. In a light shade of this color, you get a rich golden color that’s similar to caramel blonde with a little more depth. The color would look great with a slightly darker root melt or smudged root for contrast!
15. Espresso and Light Bronze Ombre
This is a unique color pairing that will be perfect for neutral skin tones. That’s because it uses a neutral espresso brown for the root and midshaft zone – a shade with both warm and cool undertones.
The bottom half is decked out with a light yet rich light bronze brown with golden and copper (warm) undertones. This blend of warm and cool tones makes for an ultra-flattering color on neutral and warm undertones!
Color Tips and Things to Consider
Light brown hair is definitely trendy, but is it the right color for you? Take a look at the things you need to consider before you settle on this color. We’ve also got some helpful tips for you if you decide to go for your light brown hair transformation!
- Light brown can be subjective. Light brown is somewhat “in the eye of the beholder” because there’s some overlap here between dark blonde and medium brown shades. What matters more than the actual color depiction is how you feel about it. If it’s technically a level 7 dark blonde but looks like the shade of “light brown” you want, go for it!
- Root maintenance needs to be considered. Whether your natural color is lighter or darker than light brown, you need to think about how often you’ll need touch-ups to maintain your light brown shade. Usually, you’ll need a touch-up every 4-6 weeks since hair grows about half an inch per month. If you opt for a darker root melt, smudged root, or shadow root, you can get by with touch-ups much less often – like every 12 weeks or so.
- Cool light brown colors need blue toning shampoo. If you’re getting a cool light brown hair color (like ash brown or mushroom brown), you don’t want any red or brassy tones in your hair to ruin the look. As your toner fades over 4-6 weeks, you’ll start seeing natural reddish tones peeping through. Using blue shampoo once a week will neutralize the red to keep your cool light brown looking fresh and true to color.
- You’ll need to switch to color-safe shampoo. Shampoo that contains sulfates is harsh on colored hair and will strip and fade your new color with just a few washes. You’ll need to switch to a sulfate-free shampoo for colored hair to preserve your light brown color and prevent it from fading too fast.
- Choose multiple shades for the most dimension. If you love the way light brown hair looks but worry it’ll look too one-dimensional and flat, add in more colors! For the most natural look, opt for a balayage color with your favorite shade of light brown plus a blonde that’s 1-2 shades lighter or a medium brown 1-2 shades darker. You can also opt for highlights and lowlights throughout to work more dimension in evenly!
So, Is Light Brown Hair a Good Choice for You?
Light brown hair is truly versatile and so flattering on all skin tones and undertones. Whether you’re looking for a warm, cool, or blended neutral color, choosing a fitting shade of light brown will flatter and compliment your complexion so well.
Remember that the color “rules” we’ve covered here are just a guideline to help you settle on the shades that will best suit you. If you’re warm-toned but really digging a cool light ash brown color, go for it! You can always tone with a warm golden brown later if you decide the cool tones are clashing.
Light brown shades are excellent choices to work into multi-toned balayage, ombre, and highlight/lowlight looks. They also make great options for all-over color because these shades are packed with bright dimension and balanced depth.
By using some of the tips and tricks you’ve learned here – like going for a shadow root to space out your root touch-ups or using color-safe shampoo to prevent premature fading – you’ll be able to enjoy your new light brown hue longer with gorgeous results!