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Chic Light Brown Hair Color Trends: Balayage, Highlights, and More

Batuhan Torlak |

Light Brown Hair Color Trends

Light brown hair is a great choice if you’re looking for a change but don’t want to go blonde. It’s a natural, sun-kissed look that will flatter your complexion and can be easily highlighted or ombred.

Highlights are typically 2 tones lighter than your natural color, and they can be done all over the head or confined to side strands.

Chocolate brown

Chocolate brown hair with cool-gold highlights creates an amazing balayage effect. According to Casanova, this rich brunette color typically suits cooler skin tones and eye colors, but it also works on warmer complexions too. If you want to be sure, check the color of your veins – blue means you have a cooler tone and green is warmer.

If you have naturally dark hair, you will need to lighten it first before dyeing it chocolate brown. We suggest using Garnier Olia’s non-drip formula creme that’s infused with natural oils for healthy-looking, touch-proof and sweat-proof color.

You can also try out an iced shade like this indigo ombre on chocolate brown hair for a fun pop of color. To maintain your new color, use a shampoo for colored hair and toning drops that help retain moisture.

Ashen highlights

If you love the warmth of brown hair, but want to add more dimension, ask your stylist for subtle highlights of ash. This cool tone can instantly warm up your color, and it looks gorgeous with most complexions. Try a light ash brown balayage, like this look that features ribbons of ashy bronde, or go all-in with a medium ash brown dye job, as pictured on model Barbara Palvin.

If an allover color is too high-maintenance for you, opt for a balayage with chunky ash brown highlights that blend seamlessly into your dark base shade. As with all light tones, they fade faster than warm tones, so plan on visiting the salon for touch-ups about once a week. For an even longer-lasting result, use a purple shampoo (like this one) to neutralize your yellowish pigments and keep your ashy hue looking fresh.


Like highlights, lowlights are a color enhancement that adds depth and dimension to your mane. But unlike highlights, they are darker and generally one or two shades darker than your base color. They can be used to create a dip dye effect or to fix over-highlighting, and hair colorists use either traditional foiling for precise streaking or the modern balayage technique to apply them.

For a sun-kissed look, thin beige lowlights pop against a light brown bob. Pair this beachy shade with a soft middle part and loose waves to emphasize the natural-looking contrast.

Caramel ribbons of highlight are the perfect wingman for a sexy brown bob. Wear yours in a messy texture for a cute, festival-ready look or a sleek ironed style to show off the seamless transition.

Lob haircut

A lob isn’t long hair, but not short either, making it a versatile option that flatters almost any face shape. Tyra Banks’s luscious, golden-flecked locks frame her face with a subtle hint of drama and accentuate her hazel eyes. Lucy Hale’s bendy, wavy lob is effortlessly cool with a touch of textural interest. To keep your curls looking fresh and hydrated, spritz them with a volumizing mist like Amika’s Perk Up Dry Shampoo ($28).

The side-swept style of this light brown bob emphasizes the model’s cheekbones and jawline, drawing attention to her gorgeous features. The balayage technique creates soft, natural-looking highlights that look beautiful on straight hair. Try a similar look by parting your strands to the side and adding in peek-a-boo bangs. This feminine and chic style is perfect for formal occasions or lunch dates with friends.

Balayage and ombre

Balayage and ombre are two of the most popular hair color trends for light brown locks. Both techniques provide a more natural-looking, sun-kissed look than foil highlights and require less frequent salon trips to maintain.

While both can be done on all hair lengths, balayage is best for long and medium hair that allows for longer layers to blend the colors. Unlike ombre, which requires a full-head of single process color, balayage uses a gradual transition of shades where lighter strands organically bleed into darker ones.

If you are looking for a more dramatic root-to-tip contrast, ask your stylist about ombre. This coloring technique can be as subtle or dramatic as you like, and it looks amazing on any shade — from dark brunette to blonde ombre.