6 Best Hair Colors for Brunettes, According to Hairstylists

Because brown definitely doesn’t have to be boring.

woman who cuts her hair dyed reddish brown.
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Blondes aren't the only ones that can have fun with their hair color. It looks like more people are going darker these days, and there are tons of new hues that work beautifully on natural brunettes—and are anything but boring or basic. "People have a few misconceptions when it comes to brunette hair color," says Biolage celebrity stylist Sunnie Brook. "They think it's always going to be too warm or too brassy, or worry that brunette hair ages them and that it will look dull overall." But guess what: Absolutely none of the above holds true. Case in point: These six gorgeous colors, perfect for brunettes.

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Suede Mocha

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This is a beautiful option for anyone who wants to keep their hair dark, but still wants some dimension and depth, says colorist Bianca Hillier. You're playing with the idea of brightness and creating a beachy, summery vibe, without committing to going full-on blonde, she adds. Ask your colorist for mocha highlights, which can either start at the root or lower. As far as upkeep goes, plan on refreshing these highlights three to four times per year.

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Smoky Brown

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"This color works best for blondes wanting to go darker, as well as natural dark brunettes who want to lighten up a level or two without doing highlights," says Brook. As the name suggests, this color is more on the translucent side, rather than being heavily saturated and pigmented, she explains. And, because it has a neutral undertone, it's flattering on a wide array of skin tones. Top tip: Wait at least 48 hours post-coloring before washing, and when you do, make sure to use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. This will keep that neutral undertone from becoming too warm, Brook explains. Try: Biolage Color Last Shampoo & Conditioner ($21; amazon.com).

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"This is a very rich, very shiny dark brown, though not black, color with minimal dimension," says Kristen Fleming, color director of 3rd Coast Salon in Chicago, Ill. Because it is so dramatic and saturated, it can look a bit harsh on those with paler complexions; Fleming says it's most flattering on those with dark or olive skin. As far as maintenance goes, opt for an in-salon gloss every six weeks to maintain the depth and shine, she suggests. You can also try an at-home option like Pureology Clear Top Coat ($35; ulta.com).

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Brunette Balayage

brunette-hair-color-Brunette Balayage
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The idea that balayage can only be done on blondes is a total misconception, says Fleming. For brunettes, the hand-painted highlight technique can create natural-looking highlights; Fleming says lighter brown highlights with either neutral or warm undertones added on to any brunette base color create pockets of shine and depth. Plus, if you like to wave or curl your hair, "this is a great way to add dimension that enhances the style," she adds.

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Pale Walnut

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Looking for low-maintenance color? This color is perfect for those clients who only want to go to the salon twice a year, says Hillier. Highlights that are just a shade or two lighter than your base—and don't start at the root—keep the look natural and lived-in. A money piece (aka a brighter piece around the face) brings everything together, she says. Maintain the cool undertones at home by using a purple shampoo to tone down brassiness and boost brightness, Hillier advises. She likes Olaplex No.4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo ($28; sephora.com), which she says has the added benefit of strengthening strands.

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Comfy Camel

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For blondes who may not be ready to fully commit to brunette, but do want to gradually transition to going darker, this is a great option, says Brook. "The warm neutral tone gradually fades towards a lighter camel hue at the end." A purple shampoo is a good option to use weekly for this color as well, in order to ward off any unwanted brassiness.

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