Just like black, most people would think that there are only three shades of brown – light brown, brown, and dark brown and the rest are just highlights and mixes. However, this isn’t the case. If you have seen celebrities and models walk the red carpet and the runway, you will know for a fact that there are more than 3 shades of brown out there. To help you know which color suits you, read on to discover the different shades of brown.
Different Kinds of Hair Color Styles
There are many kinds of hair color styles in much the same way that there are different kinds of haircuts. These kinds are the ombre, highlights, all over coloring, and the balayage. Some might seem familiar while some sound alien, so here are a few definitions to help you understand the difference.
- All Over Coloring
Starting with the simplest kind of hair color, you have the all over coloring. Just like its name, an all over coloring style is having all of your hair colored in the same shade all throughout. Just like the photo below, all of the hair is colored a medium brown shade. Except for the lighting, all of the strands have the same medium brown base.
Here are other examples of an all over coloring:
Highlights are one of the more popular types of color. Applying highlights have different styles; however, the common thing among them is that all only apply a lighter shade of the hair in certain strands. Think of it as streaks that are just placed in certain areas.
Balayage is French technique in coloring the hair. The main difference it has with highlights is the use of the hands. Yes, in the balayage technique, hands are used to apply the color on the hair. A balayage hair color is a more natural look than the highlights because unlike the latter, it doesn’t single out a few strands. It’s also unlike ombre hair colors where there is a progression from light to dark or vice versa. A balayage hair color often leaves the lower portion of the hair lighter or darker to create that natural sun-kissed color.
Balayage hair color works best on short hairstyles until medium-length hair.
And lastly, you have the ombre hair color. The ombre hair color is a highlighting technique that makes use of either highlights or balayage. An ombre hairstyle has a gradient effect where the hair shows a spectrum from light to dark or vice versa. Most of the time, the coloring starts a few inches above the roots.
This hair color below is the perfect example of an ombre color. As you can see, the hair color goes from dark to very light where it shows the different shades of pinkish violet.
There’s also what you call “somber” which is a shortened name for subtle ombre. You’ve seen above that an original ombre hair color ranges from very dark to very light. But not everyone is a fan of this kind of wide color spectrum, so the somber was created.
It might be confusing to distinguish these four hair color styles, but don’t worry, your hair stylist will help shed light in understanding these things. You can also ask them which one works better for your current hair color.
The Blonde-Brown Family
They say that being a blondie is an advantage. After all, the typical white American image is a girl having blonde hair. But now that is slowly changing. Even white Americans are being attracted to how versatile brown hair color can be.
- Platinum Blonde and Brown
Take a look at this blonde and brown hair duo. As you can see, the base is definitely a darker shade of brown except that a balayage technique was used in order to have that balance between blonde and brown. There are also platinum blonde highlights thrown here and there for a more eye-catching hair color. A warning for those who find this color attractive – this is a courageous choice of hair color because there are times that these combinations of colors will make you look old. Consult with a hair stylist first before dyeing your hair something like this.
2. Blonde with Brown Highlights
You can also take your cue from Jennifer Lopez who is known to have alternately blonde and brown hair. This hair color can be achieved by bleaching the lower part of your hair to achieve that blonde color, but this can also be achieved by waiting for your brown hair color to grow out (if you are naturally a brunette, that is).
3. Ombre and Highlights
One of the many great things about having a brown color base is that you can mix it with so many different colors. Take a look at this photo, for example. You can see from the roots that the girl has brown hair originally. But since yuo can take advantage of being a brunette, you can add blonde highlights and a violet ombre shade at the background.
4. Ash Brown
Not exactly blonde, but also not exactly black, the ash brown color is the perfect combination of light and dark. When creating an ash brown hair color (or any ash color for that matter), you always have to think about the base of your hair. This is because, to be able to achieve that ash color, you will need to bleach dark-colored hair. In this case, the base is a light brown color so it’s easier to dye it with blond to achieve the ash effect.
The photos below show a semi-ash brown hair color. So you’ll get this shade if you have a dark-colored base which you didn’t bleach well enough. But that’s okay, because even if you haven’t achieve the perfect ash brown color, your hair will still get a lighter shade of brown that resembles a blonde effect.
The Light Brown Family
Before ash brown or blonde-brown colors were a thing,there was light brown. For a time, a light brown colored hair was the “it” thing and those who had light brown hair were more attractive. The lighter shades include the ash brown colors until the chestnut colors. This spectrum is not just one straight line of colors like what you’ll see in MS Word’s color progression. Instead, it’s a mix of colors created by mixing different lighter shades.
Fawn is the next darker color right after the blonde family. This color is very light that some people would think it’s not brown. However, if you look closely to the highlights below, you’ll see that the fawn color is more brown than blonde.
This photo shows the fawn colors more clearly especially in the area by the ears. At first, you’d think it’s a version of a strawberry blonde color but if you pair it with a darker color, it becomes a little more obvious.
When paired with a darker shade of brown, a sandy colored hair gives a warm color to the overall hairstyle. Take a look at this photo. The hair starts with a medium brown color and as you go down to the tips, the sandy color lightens the whole look.
Here is Beyonce rocking sandy highlights over a light brown hair color. For dark-skinned people, light brown hair colors are often frowned upon since it’s barely ideal to have a lighter hair color to your skin. However, Queen B has shown that you can rock light hair colors regardless of your skin color.
A cinnamon-colored hair is a hybrid of both brown and red hair. As the photo below shows, a cinnamon hair color is a more conservative shade if you want to color your brown hair a little lighter but are afraid of going to light. If you want to transition to a strawberry blonde hair color, then this is a good prerequisite. You’ll get to familiarize yourself with your new look before going all out to an almost blonde hair shade.
4. Light Brown
And for a classic light tone, you have the light brown hair color. Depending on the person, light brown hair color can either make you look young or older by a few years. For women in their late 20s and early 30s, a light brown color is highly recommended because it has a business-like vibe but at the same time, it doesn’t look boring and gray. For one thing, it makes you look like an upbeat individual.
Here’s Selena Gomez in her own version of a light brown shade. This shade is playful and itself, but if you want to go a little extra, take Selena’s cue and create a somber effect with your long hair.
5. Caramel Brown
Just from seeing caramel bars and candies, you already know that this color is one of the warmest shades of brown you’ll ever see. The caramel brown color has a very soft and creamy look to it especially when you associate it with the caramel candies that are mouthwatering. But setting them aside, this hair color is a great shade for people with fair skin.
If you have skin as fair as Angelina Jolie, then a caramel-colored hair can give you a more sophisticated look. You can also pair it with a darker shade of brown at the roots. A caramel shade is not like blonde highlights where you have to bleach your hair so that they blonde dye sticks.
The Redhead Family
Off to the redhead family where it’s a lot easier to dye your hair a different color because you don’t need to bleach your hair. Yes, you heard that right. Because brown and red are near each other in the color spectrum, you don’t have to go through a lot of preparation just to achieve that red glow other people get when the sun shines on their hair.
- Red with Brown Undertones
An undertone refers to a kind of subdued version of a certain color. In this case, the lady dons a reddish brown hue as the base of her hair with light brown undertones found on the tips of her. As you will notice, the undertones create a somber effect on a person’s hair.
Kristen Stewart is known for her role in Twilight where she has a medium brown hair color. Because of her role in this movie series, nobody would have thought that K-Stew can rock auburn hair.
Another look here shows that auburn hair can also be worn by tanned and medium-skinned ladies. Because of the balayage technique done here, the reddish brown to light brown color gives a warmer effect on the overall look.
3. A Cooler Shade of Red
Just because red hair is associated with fire, it doesn’t mean that you can’t create a cool version of this hot color. Take a look at this hair color below. When you look closely, you’ll see that there are red undertones to some areas in the hair and at the same time, it looks a very well-mixed shade of brown.
The Medium Brown Family
Just like the many shades of brown, the medium brown has its own different shades that can either look rich or texturized. In fact, medium brown hair is one of the most commonly used base colors because you can create a full rich color out of it. It’s also easy to style it up with different colors every once in a while.
- Brown with Highlights
Anything works with medium brown. When you add blonde highlights to a medium brown hair color, you’ll get a mix of a softer shade of brown instead of a full blone highlight. when hit by light at the right angles, your hair can look golden in some areas while in some it can get a deep brown color.
2. Brown and Gold
Now you might be confused – what’s the difference between brown with highlights and golden brown hair color? To help you out, notice the names. Obviously, the former just has golden highlights. The latter has a certain color tha makes the whole hair look golden. If you’re a bit confused, look at Ari’s hair color in this photo. Ariana Grande is famous for her new platinum blonde hair color, but before that, she used to have golden brown hair from root to tip.
3. Medium Brown
Medium brown is probably the most basic hair color you’ll ever see. It’s so basic that a good number of women are born with this hair color that they don’t even have to dye their hair to a different shade.
Here are some medium brown hair colors from different brunettes.
The Dark Brown Family
- Rich Dark Brown
Rich dark brown hair colors can only be achieved ii\f you have the same color all throughout. Needless to say that you need to have an all over coloring so that your hair looks lush and smooth. Take a look at these models who have perfected a dark brown color that looks as rich as chocolate.
In spite of what the hair color looks like when light bounces off of it, mahogany is mainly a dark brown color with just red and purple undertones. These undertones give it an ombre effect and depending on your hair color, sometimes it looks more red, more purple, or even browner.
Here’s another mahogany-colored hairstyle. Although mahogany is often mixed with purple and red hues, there’s nothing stopping people with getting a few blonde highlights here and there. The contrast of the blonde and dark colors makes the undertones look more alive and shiny.
Espresso is one of the darker shades of brown that sometimes it’s mistaken as black. If you have hair like this, at first you’ll think that you only have a lighter shade of black but in reality, the brown in espresso is just really really dark. Take a look at Katie Holmes’ espress hair color.
If you will notice, the espresso hair color looks good on females with any skin color. From fair to dark, the espresso is crowd-favorite for its simplicity and elegance.
4. Espresso and Gold
A dark color plus a blond highlight? The combination seems too contrasting for you to want to have it, but these people disagree. Both dark brown and gold are in the same color family so it’s still a reasonable pairing to make.
Now, you are probably overwhelmed at the many shades and styles you can achieve with brown hair. If before you thought that it was a boring shade, now you’re sure that it is one of the most versatile colors out there. It’s also a very natural hair color which makes it a good choice if you are going to a corporate setting.