35 Best Caramel Highlight Ideas for Every Skin Tone

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Cindy Marcus
Cindy Marcus Hairstylist, Editor-in-Chief

Caramel highlights are just like they sound with the light, creamy shade much like Werther’s Originals candies. Like the candies, caramel hair color and highlights can be fused in many different ways like caramel with dark chocolate. No matter what your complexion, hair type, or natural hair color may be, a warm caramel hue can complete your look! Whether it be a subtle pop of caramel against some darker pieces or an all-over color, there’s always a way to add highlights to your life! Whether it’s a subtle touch of warmth or something extra contrasty, there’s always a way to incorporate one of these yummy caramel highlights into your look!

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Beautiful Butterscotch
Instagram @m_lolo_14

#1: Butterscotch + Caramel Highlights

These sweet warm caramel streaks provide a stunning contrast that creates a deep and dimensional look for her long brown waves.

Trendy Mid-Length Shag with Caramel Highlights
Instagram @hairbyelvisp

#2: Trendy Mid-Length Shag with Caramel Highlights

Try a shag with caramel highlights for an effortlessly chic look. The shag cut is created by cutting shorter layers on long hair, giving your hair volume and lots of texture. Accentuate the texture and movement by adding caramel highlights. The pockets of depth (darker hair) and swirls of light really create that easygoing textured style. Air drying and using a mousse as well as texture cream will create natural movement. Adding beachy waves and finishing with texture spray will help add a rocker edge.

#3: Iced Coffee Brunette

Go lighter this season without going fully blonde with this beautiful blonde color melt. Style with loose subtle waves and choppy ends for a fresh lightweight look! Just like your favorite flavor of coffee, there is a shade of caramel for you.

#4: Sexy Dark Brown Hair with Caramel Highlights

These delicious dark brown hazelnut pieces on a deep brunette hair prove how combining these two shades can be so enticing. The result is super sexy, rich, and attention-grabbing!

Caramel Highlights on a Chin-Length Bob
Instagram @nacirsomera

#5: Caramel Highlights on a Chin-Length Bob

Brighten a chin-length bob with caramel highlights! Shorter hairstyles can benefit from warmer, caramel syrup tones and these caramel highlights are a great example. Focusing the bulk of the lightness towards the face compliments the angle of the cut, while keeping the shorter layers in the back from appearing “tiger-striped.” Stylist Tip: “Tiger stripes” is what stylists call it when hair under 3 inches is highlighted. This can create the appearance of having tiger stripes in your hair – and not in a fun, creative way.

#6: Mocha Brown Hair with Caramel Highlights

A timeless shade of caramel that flatters any natural hair color out there – this caramel highlights hairstyle does a great job of creating a dimensional look. Finished with wavy ends, this style is best on medium to long hair length and can be done on any hair type.

#7: Salted Caramel Highlights

This look is a subtle beachy style with hints of bright blonde with mostly caramel highlights and a dark underneath to add depth and the appearance of fullness. The best thing about the cut is that her hair is very fine so we blunt cut the ends and framed her face with a long layer so her hair appears fuller and voluminous. I love how the colors blend and show off with the soft curls for the caramel highlight.

This look would be perfect for someone with fine hair and/or 50% or more grey, looking for easier upkeep. This caramel hair color goes great with tanned skin so it’s perfect for this sun lovers.

#8: Cute Short Brown Hair with Caramel Highlights

This style is a lobbed caramel balayage. The greatest thing about this particular style is the caramel color blending outcome. Her natural root color was the perfect base. Using a painting method and fine baby lights throughout, I was able to achieve this beautifully blended effect.

Short hair may seem like less work but depending on your hair type it can also mean more work! Now don’t let that scare you, that’s nothing a little dry shampoo and styling paste can’t fix with this particular length and style. Someone who doesn’t want to wash their hair often can also maintain this style or modify it as needed, further and further from their last wash day. Shades of caramel blend well with brown hair color.

Sexy Ash Caramel Highlights
Instagram @luistaylor_

#9: Sexy Ash Brown Hair with Caramel Highlights

This look is for those looking for something slightly natural without changing the natural tones of their hair and using a modern style in natural colors, caramel ash. For the styling, it is possible to do it with natural waves applying a product such as Kevin Murphy motion lotion or styling with curl iron and apply sea salt from Davines and finish with a little dry texture of Davines to give more texture.

#10: Trendy Bronze Caramel Highlights

These are bronze caramel highlights. It’s definitely still rooted like an ombré but has more thin highlights transitioning the depth at the root into the light at the ends. This creates a softer version of a traditional ombré. Less painted, more like she was at the beach. The greatest thing about this look is how effortless and pretty it is. For me, pretty never goes out of style, as it’s timeless. This is a look anyone can wear because of how soft it is. I also love how the soft caramel waves I created complement the color.

This specific look is great for someone who likes a little warmth in their hair. Typically, the natural base color tends to grow out a bit flat, so these caramel ribbons really warm up and enhance a flat base. I also tend to feel that caramel tones tend to compliment women with olive skin tones really well. The sombre look is really great for the girl who doesn’t want to come into the salon a ton, as it really is supposed to be “lived in.” I touch up some of my girls every 4 months! I soften call this look recession highlights!

#11: Modern Pixie with Caramel Highlights

This is an edgy, yet modern look that plays with shades of caramel. My favorite thing is the texture in the haircut. It allows it to be fun if you decide to spice it up with some pomade, or it can look more modern and professional if you lay it down! The color of the caramel hair highlights creates a playful look!

You will definitely want some type of fiber pomade if you want to add more texture. The stickiness will allow your hair to stick up while giving some hold and not being too heavy. This look is great for anyone because it is so versatile in how you can style it!

Medium Brown Hair with Custard
Instagram @pk_hair

#12: Medium Brown Hair with Caramelized Tones

This look embodies those summer vibes that every brunette woman looks for. The blend of natural color and the sunny caramelized waves creates the perfect setting for any occasion. The greatest thing about this hairstyle and caramel hair color is the uniformity of both the darkness and the light. This cut is classified as the “modern bob” which woman are wearing everywhere. This cut allows to have a length in the front to play with but also able to release the weight in the back.

This look is very universal for all shapes and personalities of women, however, all changes to your hair require a certain level of maintenance. This Caramel Dream is great for a wash-and-wear look so styling can be minimized depending on the client’s hair texture. Color maintenance varies for each client. Some prefer having more of a lived-in and rooty look, while others can’t stand to see an inch of regrowth. Above all things, the product is key to styling and maintaining caramelized hair color.

#13: Yummy Chocolate Brown with Creamy Caramel Highlights

Go for a classic combination of chocolate and highlights with creamy caramel additions. It looks so healthy and shiny. Ask your stylist to use Wella to achieve this look.

#14: Chocolate Caramel Swirl

If you have thicker hair, go for a color that’s low-maintenance and easy to style. Something wash-and-go. Your natural waves are perfect for a pop of caramel balayage and layers. As stylists, we do consider face shape amongst other things. However, the length is perfect. With The Euphora curl promise, you can embrace your natural wave and have a bit of brightness from your highlighted pieces.

Sassy Babylight Foils & Caramel Highlights Balayage hairstyle
Instagram @suchalizzy

#15: Sassy Balayage Caramel Babylights

This look was created with babylight foils and a balayage. My favorite thing about the look is its subtlety of it. It brings dimension and pops of caramel color to your hair without you feeling like they are blonde. These low-maintenance caramel highlights are perfect for someone who isn’t regular with appointments. I would also recommend it to someone who is shy about going lighter.

Any face shape could pull off this look. If you pull your hair back often, I recommend having foils placed around your hairline. This look was created on someone with fine hair. I used a flat iron to curl the top sections, added Air Control by Aveda, then shook out the curls.

Sweet Caramel Foilayage Highlights hairstyle
Instagram @katiepdxhair

#16: Sweet Dark Chocolate with Caramel Foilayage

I would describe this look as a caramel foilayage on a dark chocolate base. What I love about caramel highlights is that they can add natural warmth and brightness to a dark base color while maintaining color harmony. What I love about the foilayage technique is that it allows you to lift through naturally dark brown locks (or even previously colored) hair more quickly than open-air balayage, yet it creates the same natural-looking, rooty highlights that make balayage so low maintenance.

These highlights are a great choice for anyone who wants to add depth and dimension to medium or dark hair, however, they are definitely not for someone who doesn’t like warmth in their hair. Achieving highlights using the foilayage or balayage technique is great for the client who wants a low-maintenance hair color that looks natural and grows out beautifully.

#17: Stunning Natural Brown with Caramel Highlights

I would describe this look as an enhanced natural color. I used warm and natural caramel tones to complement her natural hair. My favorite thing about this look is that you can’t tell she has been artificially colored. This could really be a natural head of hair.

I recommend this caramel hair color to someone who wants to change their look but still wants to feel like their natural self. This look is best suited for someone with a warm skin tone. I think long hair works best to show off all the different tones.

#18: Bolder Caramel Highlights

I would describe this look as a bolder highlight versus a subtle caramel highlight. This could be a great “round two” for someone who has had caramel highlights before but is looking to take the next step! I love all the dimensions it has with the different tones against the depth of her natural base. It all melts together so beautifully!

Caramel highlights are friendly to most clients because they are easier to achieve and maintain than lighter ones. This look will require a longer service due to the density and length of the hair, and because it’s a full balayage, and lowlight with a gloss is required. If your client has compromised hair or wants to keep their hair in its healthy state, I recommend using a bonding system like the Redken PH bonder or Olaplex.

#19: Cool Caramel Highlighted Lob

This is a long bob haircut or lob. Lobs are cut so that your hair falls between the chin and the collarbone, essentially creating a look that is quirky, cool, and neither too short nor too long. This effortless cut works with pretty much every face shape and hair texture, so it’s a perfect cut for anyone who wants to switch up their look in a flash.

Any client considering caramel highlights needs to really think about her way of life by imagining herself with this look and her everyday wear. A cut like this requires maintenance and a little TLC. By TLC I mean caring for your new haircut and color with proper product use.

Gorgeous Long Hair with Caramel Highlights Hairstyle
Instagram @mayliz_hairmad

#20: Gorgeous Long Hair with Caramel Highlights

This is warm-colored hair with a few sunkissed babylights touched with a speck of caramel hue, all done with the balayage technique. The caramel highlights help lighten up the warm base color and bring out all of the wonderful tones and shine.

I used Affinage lite powder with 20vol for the babylights and foils. I then applied Matrix Socolor 5m with 20vol to the hair that was left out of the foils (which is the base tone). We processed for about 35 minutes after finishing with the base color. I topped it off with Matrix Socolor 6w for the babylights. I used Olaplex (my favorite) with the entire process. My model took home Joico Keratin shampoo and conditioner, Techitaly Lumina shampoo (purple shampoo), and #3 Olaplex treatment. This look requires regular trims every two months and a retouch every four to six weeks.

#21: Charming Caramel Blonde

These are caramel ombre highlights. I used a foilayage technique to achieve the light blonde tones throughout her ends. This shade of caramel was quite the transformation and took about 3 hours from start to finish, but I love the way the color melts from start to finish and how the light and hues of dark brown sugars compliment her haircut.

The ombre look is very easy to maintain and can be refreshed whenever you’re ready! The best face shape for a look like this is a rounded or square face. From the front, the vertical placement of the color helps to draw your eyes and create the illusion of elongating the face. It’s always recommended with blondes to keep up with regular deep conditioning treatments at home as your hair tends to be more porous and can be fragile after lightening services.

#22: Mature Black Hair with Caramel Highlights

A delectable treat for your naturally dark hair, these sugary caramel highlights can make any type of hair appear dimensional because of the excellent contrast it provides.

#23: Beautiful Light Brown Hair with Caramel Highlights

This look is lived-in caramel highlights. With the colors and placement, it gives clients 12-18 weeks before needing to return to the salon. I melted the highlights and smudged the root, so it gives a classic “I’ve-spent-all-summer-at-the-beach-getting-natural-sun-highlights” look.

For clients with lower hair density, I give a halo layered cut to give some movement, volume, and definition to their hair. I blend shorter layers into longer layers to achieve that and use a curling iron without using the clamp, as a wand gives the perfect boho beachy curl which looks effortless.

#24: Fresh Honey Caramel Highlights

Sexy, delicate, and luscious, these soft waves are brightened up and defined more by these perfectly-placed accents on honey caramel highlights on dark brunette hair.

Candy Apple Caramel Highlights on Dark Hair
Instagram @brittdeshair

#25: Candy Apple on Dark Hair

This incredible look was created by adding caramel balayage highlights to virgin hair and finishing it up with a long layer cut. My lovely client was wanting to go lighter and still have something that would grow out well without looking too bold on her naturally dark hair.

The blend of these freehand highlights is my favorite part of this look. With such a seamless blend, my client won’t have to rush back into the salon at four to six weeks because she sees a strong line of demarcation (grow out). This amazing blend allows her to choose when she comes for her next color service depending on if she wants to maintain or go even lighter. These caramel highlights are amazing for just about every hair type. With the balayage growing out so seamlessly, it can be very budget-friendly. The biggest thing you need to be aware of when considering caramel balayage highlights is that your highlights will have some warmth in them.

#26: Sandy Beige Caramel Highlights

Bring warmth everywhere you go by adding warm pieces on darker shades of caramel. Waves on long hair are guaranteed to add to a more sultry look.

#27: Toffee Hues for Short Hair

Brunette hair doesn’t have to look boring. Adding these soft caramel highlights gives a kick to your brunette hair and turns it up a notch! What I love about this look is how depth and lightness come into play with the layers and warm tones seamlessly blending in with one another. Literally, any basic hair color will pop out more if you get caramel highlights.

By adding some wispy layers at the back and contouring the face frame, it allows your hair to move freely and not weigh it down. The final touch is, of course, a good blowout with a round brush, remembering to work at the roots for some lift and at the ends for a sleek, smooth look!

Chocolate Brown Hair with Light Golden Caramel
Instagram @megandiez

#28: Chocolate Brown Hair with Light Golden Caramel Highlights

Featuring a rich chocolate brown base with caramel highlights that’s ideal with any hair length and texture. Warm and bright shades always work so well to brighten any hair type and add depth especially when with waves.

#29: Easy Dark Caramel Highlights

Warm lighter shades can give a dark base the depth and dimension it needs. These dark caramel tresses also allow the texture of your hair to be in the spotlight, letting you style this dye job with ease.

Amazing Golden Caramel Highlights
Instagram @glayda

#30: Amazing Golden Caramel Highlights

Golden highlights are one glamorous way to secure radiance in your long, wavy locks. Its caramel shade that goes well with the darker hue leaves a dimension that’s hard not to fall in love with.

Cute Caramel Brown Highlights
Instagram @locksbythalia

#31: Cute Caramel Brown Highlights

To brighten up your mid-length hair, some cute caramel brown highlights will do the job. It’s a brown hue that gives warmth and brightness to your dark base. Wear it even on a typical day, and you’ll be gold! A chestnut brown or maple brown base color blends well with this shade of caramel highlight.

Soft Caramel on Medium Brown Hair
Instagram @mjstylesbeauty

#32: Medium Brown Hair with Caramel Highlights

These pieces of soft caramel on medium-brown hair are ready to dazzle! The balayage highlights shine best under the sun like a legit gem. Finish it off with a bit of texture, making it look more charming than ever.

I absolutely love doing this for women with darker hair looking for a soft lighter hue or color without going blonde, staying in the brunette world. Caramel highlights include a wide range of colors ranging from the lightest brown to the darkest blonde shades. Caramel, toffee, and honey – there are so many pretty tones in between. You can really brighten up anyone’s hair that wants some lighter dimension for a pretty sun-kissed look.

Classic Blonde and Caramel Highlights
Instagram @gma_styles

#33: Classic Blonde and Caramel Highlights

Balayage and classy waves on long hair spell out effortlessness and charm that is eye-catching on every occasion.

#34: Bold Caramel and Red Highlights

Here’s a captivating hair color consisting of caramel and red highlights! With strokes of blonde tint, it creates a dimension effect, as well. Wear your mid-length, straight locks now with this look for such a stunning makeover.

#35: Effortless Caramel Highlights on Mid-Length Hair

Soft waves are great for adding character to medium-length hairstyles. Paired with the right accents, it can also bring out the edginess and spunk in you.


Posted In: Caramel Fashion & Vivid Hair Colors Hair Colors Hair Highlights