By Bella Cacciatore and Danielle Sinay

When you’re debating a hair change, your first instinct might be to overlook classic brown hair color ideas in favor of platinum blonde or fire-engine red, but you should really give brunette another chance. Thanks to whoever decided blondes “have more fun”—take it from one, we don’t—brown hair often gets the “boring” label. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, brown is one of the most versatile shades out there. Depending on the tone, it can read as classic, edgy, or mysterious. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s flattering on all skin tones.

There are more options than ever if you want to cross over to the dark side. This season’s top take is enlivening your brown with some warmth, like brownie batter highlights and candlelit brunette.

“Candlelit brunette is a warm and radiant brown hair color that’s achieved by adding subtle highlights and lowlights to a base shade of brown; the overall effect is meant to mimic the soft, flickering glow of candlelight,” Jennifer Korab, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa in Hillsborough, New Jersey, tells Glamour. “Some people may prefer a more golden, honey-toned look, while others may opt for a deeper, chocolatey tone.”

On the other hand, Korab notes that countless clients are opting for reddish takes on brown. “We are also seeing a lot of brunettes add highlights of copper to accentuate and create a warm vibrant look,” she says. Whatever your preference may be, we spoke to top colorists to find out the most requested brunette shade hairstyles and brown hair color ideas of the moment. Read on for the best brown hair shades to try right now.

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Candlelit Brunette

One of 2023’s biggest brunette hair trends is candlelit brunette. Korab describes it as “a warm and radiant brown hair color that’s achieved by adding subtle highlights and lowlights to a brown base; the overall effect is meant to mimic the soft, flickering glow of candlelight.

“To achieve this medium brown ombré color, I use a combination of foiling and balayage highlights techniques to add dimension and depth to the hair. The tones of the highlights are typically a shade or two lighter than the base color,” Korab says. “The shade of a candlelit brunette can vary depending on individual preferences and skin tones. Some people may prefer a more golden, honey-toned look, while others may opt for a deeper, chocolatey tone.” This is an especially ideal option for those with naturally light brown hair, and touch-ups can be infrequent since it looks so chic grown out.

Chocolate Cherry

If your hair is naturally dark but you want to dabble in red hair color, chocolate cherry is the perfect way to combine the two. “It’s an alternative to auburn but still in the warm, reddish family,” says Jason Lee, hairstylist, colorist, and founder of hair care maker Mela & Kera, defining the shade as adding a red wine undertone throughout brunette, which can also be accomplished through red highlights or balayage.

“For those of us who aren’t ready to take the full plunge into red, chocolate cherry seems to be a great way to update your look and make it modern but still live in the brunette world,” he says.

Natural Brown

Love your natural hair? Perfect timing: “More natural color is still in, meaning people are avoiding over-processing,” says Jaclyn Curti, hair colorist and extensions specialist at Eva Scrivo Salon in New York. “Think Olivia Rodrigo’s rich chocolate brown with subtle amber brown highlights toward the bottom.” This look also works well for ashy brown colors.

Midnight Onyx

Wednesday-inspired goth glam has inspired a resurgence in deep brown and black hair like midnight onyx. “This rich black with extra shine, as if to look reflective, is trending after Wednesday,” says Lorena M. Valdes, colorist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon. “For this look, ask your colorist for an allover hair dye from roots to ends. Malibu C treatments are great to remove any buildup that helps dull and greasy hair.”

Brownie Batter Highlights

Brownie batter brunette hairis rich chocolate-brown hair with about a level four to five at the root, Ashleigh Marie Rancilio, hair colorist at Meché Salon in LA, tells Glamour, while the mid-lengths of this hairstyle remain warm and neutral—brown ombré hair, if you will.

What really sets the look apart is its show-stopping dimension, along with how low-maintenanceit is despite looking so luxe, adds Korab (who coined the shade’s name). “This hair color trend has soft blonde money piece and a few blonde highlights around the face,” she adds. “It can also have some softer blonde pieces throughout the hair while still maintaining mostly the rich brunette look.” Alternatively, you can add caramel or mocha brown colors throughout for a darker look.

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Rich Brunette

“Rich brunette is a hair color trend we are seeing for 2023. It’s great to add dimension or depth to richen up brunettes,” says Korab, pointing to Meghan Markle’s hair as a prime example of the shade. “This hair color trend looks great on most skin tones, and will never go out of style. It’s a great color to try if you already have brunette hair and just want to enhance it.”

Mushroom Brown

If you love natural-looking ashy shades, then you’ll adore mushroom brown balayage. “I love the idea of using mushrooms to describe the tone of the hair color,” says Joel Warren, celebrity colorist and founder of the Salon Project. “They have so many different tones of beige and gray that are hard to describe. These tones evolved from the gray and silver trend to a slightly more natural look. The combinations with highlights and lowlights gives a beautiful modern look.”

Expensive Brunette

Love warm tones? Good news: Expensive brunette is very much still in vogue. “Brunettes with a golden undertone are rising in popularity,” says Emily Boulin, hairstylist and Sally Beauty DIY color and styling expert, of the deep brunette shade. “It’s subtle, looks natural, and adds a touch of warmth, creating a soft, flattering dimension that looks like it grew out of one’s head organically.”

Smoky Espresso

Cool, smoky shades of espresso browns are also having a moment. “This smoky, natural brunette is a great option for brunettes looking to cool down their tone and is reminiscent of the mushroom brunette trend but with a fresh splash of sandy tones,” says Madison Reed master colorist Shvonne Perkins. “Use Madison Reed’s Color Reviving Gloss in Espresso to achieve this color at home, while using the Color Therapy Mask in Caffe for the ultimate refresh between glosses.”

Copper Brunette

Another way to add a red tint to brunette? Copper brunette. “We are seeing a lot of copper brunettes that are high in shine and rich in copper, golden tones,” Korab tells “This hair color is soft and seamless. We are seeing a lot of brunettes also add highlights of copper to accentuate and create a warm vibrant look.”

Chunky Highlights

“A lot of ’90s trends are coming back, and that includes chunky highlights,” says Katie Cartwright, colorist at LA’s Nine Zero One salon. However, gone are the thick stripes of your youth, and instead the look is now more about a few bold face-framing pieces to really accentuate your features. While technically this style works with any shade, it’s particularly great if you’re looking to add some brightness to your brown. “This trend works best for someone who likes to be pretty light around their face without having to deal with the maintenance of being light all over,” she says. “Ask your stylist for an exaggerated pop piece with some babylights or balayage blonde hair sprinkled in.

Honey Brown

“This look is fun and head-turning without being too drastic of a change from deeper tones,” says Dark and Lovely celebrity stylist Derick Monroe. If you’re going to go lighter, Monroe stresses the importance of keeping your hair healthy enough to handle color. “The last thing you want to do is a chemical process on already damaged hair,” he says. “A pro tip is to have a maintenance program to keep your hair healthy, shiny, and moisturized. That could be as simple as a deep-conditioning treatment at home.”

Caramel Ribbons

“I love a good brunette that doesn’t read red but has elements of warmth throughout—it gives a really balanced result,” celebrity colorist Matt Rez says of caramel brown hair. If you’re a natural brunette, ask your stylist for midlights one or two levels lighter than your base and neutral-warm caramel highlights. “The combo of the two will pick up so beautifully without unwanted warmth taking over and reading as a red,” he says. “Done right, warmth on brunettes is unbeatable.”

Chestnut Brown

“This is perfect for the girl that wants change but doesn’t want to go too far out of her comfort zone,” says Monroe. Keep your hair darker at the roots, and add a little lightness to the ends for some dimension that isn’t overwhelming.

Long Island Iced Tea

Beverage-inspired shades are back. This shade is great for brunettes who want some dimension and lightness without stepping into full-on bronde territory. Jeremy Tardo, Clairol’s color partner, used Nice’n Easy in 8A Medium Ash Blonde to lighten her brown hair by two shades, making sure the face frame and ends were a little lighter than the rest of her hair. If you want to attempt this at home, only do so if you’re a natural brunette, as dyed brown will need a bleaching process to lighten it. If you’re in the salon, ask your stylist for cool-toned highlights concentrated on the face and ends.

Multicolor Braids

To add even more dimension to your braids, mix in varying shades of brown.

Wood Brown

This is a pretty option for deeper brunettes who are looking to switch up their color without going much lighter but still want a little something. Think of the way a gorgeous piece of lacquered wooden furniture features swirls of brown, and how dimensional it looks. To mirror this, ask your stylist for a rich, dark base with swirling highlights of pale ash and lighter brown shades. A gloss to finish will give your hair that same lacquered effect.

Cinnamon Brown

Another way to add some red to your brunette hair color? Cinnamon Brown, which has been popping on Instagram this fall. If you have a brunette base already, the shade is fairly easy to achieve—all it takes are some warmer highlights. “This warmth added to a brunette color palette can be flattering on a lot of different complexions,” says Tardo. To get in on the trend, he says to ask your colorist for warm brown hues: “They can use a brunette color as the foundation of their formula and add subtle bronzes and reds to the mixture to create this new glow.”

Sandy-Beige Bronde

Toying with the idea of dirty blonde but don’t want to leave your brunette base behind? Try bronde, which is basically if blonde and brown had a baby. “You’ll have a few bright pieces around your face and throughout your hair with a slightly darker neutral base,” says Stephanie Brown, master colorist at NYC’s IGK Salon Soho. “It’s a rooted blonde or a higher ombré that creates a very beachy-looking blonde.

Warm Dimension

If you want to take the warm trend up a notch and make your curls pop, try a variation of brown highlights or brown balayage on roots and ends. To get a similar look at home, Monroe recommends Dark & Lovely Fade Resist in Chestnut Brown at the roots and Honey Blonde on ends. Since both colors are on the warm side, the result looks natural—not fake.

Ginger Beer

If you’re considering dipping a toe into red but don’t want to go full auburn, add some red tones to darker hair. Red is notoriously high-maintenance, but done like this, it’s easy to keep up. All you have to do is ask for half-head highlights in sun-kissed caramel and golden tones without changing up your base.

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