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7 Brown Hair Color Ideas to Amp up Your Mane Game

BY Jana Russick

Whether you’re a natural brunette or have converted by way of red or blonde hair, there’s no denying the brilliance of chocolatey-colored locks. Rich, dark, and even a little mysterious, there’s a vast range of hair shades within the brunette hair family. And there’s bound to be one (or several) that suits your fancy.

If you’re looking to make a major hair color change or just get some subtle highlights, we have several brown hair color ideas to explore. If you’re not sure which brunette shade will work best for you, no worries. We’ll give you a rundown of the best color combos for your skin tone, hair texture, length, and natural hair color. Plus, we’ll fill you in on the commitment level of each color because, let’s be honest, some of us don’t have the time for constant touch-ups and hair dye jobs.

From Ash Brown to Espresso: 7 Brown Hair Color Ideas

Being brunette is anything but one note. This multi-dimensional hair category includes an abundance of lively shades. You can choose from the lightest, almost blonde hair shades of ashy brown to the deepest of dark chocolate-colored tints. And let’s not forget about the medium brown hair shades in between. But which brown hair color idea is best for your locks? Let’s dive in.


Brown hair color ideas: close-up shot of brown hair

For those seeking lighter brown hair color ideas, give ash brown a try. This shade works for many but especially those transitioning from blonde hair colors. Its likeness to sandy and dirty blonde shades makes it a natural progression from yellow-tinted locks. Mixing ashy tones with n ultra-layered haircut or chin-length lob is always a fun way of showing off your cool color.

If you’re scared to go full brunette, this color is for you. Ash brown hair colors work on those with pale complexions, light eye colors, or cool skin undertones. Don’t know what we mean by undertones? Check out our article on hair color ideas, which explains how to identify undertones.


If you’re curious about going lighter but not ready to commit to blonde highlights, bronde is the perfect in-between shade. Bronde is a not-quite-brown but not-quite-blonde hair color that blends well with many brunette hues. We think it looks amazing on wavy hair textures or sassy pixie cuts.

Bronde is more of a coloring technique than a specific shade. That said, bronde can work on virtually anybody because you can choose either a cooler or warmer bronde hue to combine with your natural hair color and skin tone. If you have warm undertones, try some caramel highlights to achieve the perfect bronde effect. If you have a cooler complexion, choose a silvery or ashy tone to blend with your normal hair color.

Pro Tip: Use a purple shampoo to prevent bronde hair from looking brassy


Brown hair color ideas: woman holding her hair

To warm up your tresses try a delightful shade of cinnamon brown. This warm brown tone gives you a taste of red without going too brassy. Its autumnal vibes make you want to put on a sweater and boots and flaunt that auburn mane around town — no rake required. Cinnamon looks sweet on curls and also complements longer-length tresses.

This rich color brings out golden undertones and looks best on warm complexions. For a dynamic effect, combine cinnamon-brown balayage with your natural color. This will liven up your locks and give you a radiant new look.


Mushroom brown is a major hair color trend for a reason. It’s modern, edgy, and can be implemented into your hair coloring plans in various ways. A mushroom shade of brown resembles gray hair but doesn’t go too gray. If you’ve got shiny straight locks, rocking this bold color will definitely turn heads. 

This brown hair color idea might be for you if you don’t mind committing to high-maintenance hair dying (especially if you have a darker brown base and need to use bleach to get the right shade.) Luckily, a low-maintenance but equally dramatic effect can be achieved if you ask your hairstylist for mushroom-colored ombre or balayage highlights.

Pro Tip: This shade is ideal for cooler complexions but can be mixed with warm tone highlights for those with peachy or golden skin undertones.


Woman combing her hair using her fingers

Why wouldn’t you want your hair to be the color of the ultimate sweet treat? Chocolate brown hair is one of the richest, warmest shades in the brunette color family. It’s undeniably inviting and looks dazzling combined with a variety of natural hair colors. This shade is particularly great at bringing out lighter eyes and enriching warm skin undertones. We adore chocolate locks on wavy or curly hair but its versatility can truly go with any hair texture or length. 

Layer some chocolate brown highlights on top of dark brown hair to brighten up your face. Or toss in some peek-a-boo chocolate lowlights if you’re already rocking a lighter shade of brown or blonde.


Just because the vast majority of people have black or dark brown hair doesn’t make espresso-hued locks look any less magnificent. This deep brown shade works just as well for someone with a super-short bob, long and luscious straight strands, or ultra-curly locks. 

Keep in mind that whether you have a darker or lighter brunette base, maintaining espresso hair can be demanding. Achieve this compelling tone more easily by getting espresso-hued lowlights or highlights. A few face-framing streaks will give you a dramatic look.

Pro Tip: This brown hair color idea looks best when it’s shiny so be sure to enhance the hue with a custom hair serum.

Chocolate Cherry

Woman with brown hair

This candy-coated hue is playful, dramatic, and surprisingly attainable. Chocolate cherry is an ultra-saturated version of red-brown. The best thing about it is that in some lights it looks like black hair while in other lights the bright red tones really stand out. And since it’s such a multi-dimensional color, it can work on both warm and cool skin undertones. We love to see a chocolate cherry hue on straight long hair or on an edgy asymmetrical bob. 

This darker shade of brown is easy to achieve no matter what your natural color is. Those with naturally light brown hair can do a one-process dye job while those with a dark brown hue can layer red-tinted hair dye over their locks. 

How to Maintain Your New Color

Whether you’re dyeing, highlighting, or lowlighting your hair to achieve one of these brown hair color ideas, you want the color to last as long as possible. Use products specifically designed for maintaining vibrancy. When boosted with a color protection beauty goal, Function of Beauty’s custom shampoo and conditioner protects your hair from damaging UV rays, prevents dulling and fading, and enhances your strands for optimum color uptake and retention.

Our custom formulations are made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or gluten, and are certified vegan and cruelty-free. Plus, the ingredients are chosen for your unique hair type, structure, and moisture level. You get all that and long-lasting, vibrant color!

Say Yes to Your Best Brunette Color

Hopefully, we’ve settled your nerves about picking the best brown hair color idea and gave you lots of chocolatey tones to choose from. Are you going to go with blonde-adjacent ash or bronde? Or something reddish like cinnamon or chocolate cherry? Or perhaps you’re thinking chocolate, mushroom, or espresso? Whatever your brown hair preference is, we know you’re going to rock it with style and ease.

Other than getting your color maintenance on lock, there might be other hair goals you wish to achieve. Maybe you want less frizzy, more hydrated, or better-defined curls? Whatever your goal, take this hair quiz so you can begin customizing your hair care formula now.