41 Fabulous Ideas for Dark Brown Hair With Highlights

Beautiful, dark brown hair can be stunning, shiny and rich. Although dark brown has a ton of depth on its own, adding a pop of color with subtle or even bold highlights can turn your one-dimensional brunette hair into a multi-dimensional masterpiece. Check out these fabulous ideas for dark brown hair with highlights and get color inspired!

Dark Brown Hair with Light Brown Highlights

Dark brown hair with light brown highlights
Instagram @joshua_sajtar

Warm highlights can add a youthful appearance when painted on dark hair. That magnificent contrast can instantly transform your whole look without changing your color too much.

Dark Brunette with Highlights

Dark brunette with highlights
Instagram @samanthag_hair

Bring the summer with you wherever you go with these sweet sun-kissed highlights. Put in some texture starting from the ear-level smoothly down to the ends for an eye-catching dimension.

Balayage Dark Brown Highlights

Dark brown hair with brown highlights
Credit: Pinterest

These deep brunette, perfectly polished waves are balayage perfection.

Faceframing Walnut Brown Highlights

Dark hair with walnut brown highlights that frame
Instagram @hairbymelissapeiffer

With just a few balayaged pieces, you could have an adorable change in your look. These layers provide a face framing and brightening effect without you needing to cut your hair for traditional layers.

Gold Highlights

Dark brown hair with gold highlights
Instagram @lisasatornhair

If you’re the type who doesn’t like spending too much time on your hair, this effortless style plus the shoulder length cut is perfect for you. These golden highlights easily add dimension and texture to the hair without needing much work.

Cinnamon Highlights

Dark brown hair with cinnamon highlights
Instagram @pattylowehair

A gorgeous dimensional hair can be achieved by the perfect combination of warm highlights and lowlights. This light balayage really lifts up the dark chocolate base and gives depth to it.

Honey Blonde Highlights

Add some flair to your brunette hair with these honey highlights that give amazing contrast and brightness to your dark hair.

Q&A with style creator, Morgan Rogers
Hairstylist @ Manes by Morgan in Seattle, WA

How would you describe this look?

It’s a lived-in hair color and cut, and by that I mean it looks natural and will have a natural fade out as well.

The choppy layers and slight undercut create a textured look which is really in right now. You can wear it straight or wavy and have plenty of fullness and style.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This haircut and color are great for busy women. The color fades into a rich buttery blonde, and the hair grows evenly into a lob too. If you have time to maintain this cut and color then it is also a fun look to change up every 6-10 weeks.

Products for this look are texture spray and a leave-in conditioner. I use all Amika products. If you have naturally wavy hair put in some Amika moose or some Verb sea salt spray.

Dark Chocolate Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Monica Fairall
Master Stylist @ Tangles of Evans in Evans, GA


How would you describe this look?

My guest has a great caramel chocolate brown lob. I love that her new caramel highlights give such contrast to her base color. We also took a lot off with her long layered cut, to make it more light and playful.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Anyone can wear this look. The highlights are gently blended into the base so that they grow out easily. It does not require much maintenance. That goes for the cut as well. We gave her a blunt lob with long textured layers. Easy, peasy.

Vivid Red Highlights

Dark brown hair with strawberry highlights
Instagram @nikkipophair

Q&A with style creator, Nikki Popkow
Master Designer & MakeUp Artist @ Nikki Popkow Hair and Makeup Artistry in Sherman Oaks, CA


How would you describe this look?

I love these Juicy and Vibrant Magenta Highlights for dark hair. One of the cool things I love about this particular look is that my client came in with over half her hair grown up with old red at-home color on it. I decided to foil highlight and balayage the hair that was left out of the foil to really give those ends vibrancy. I absolutely love how the color pops!

Any advice for someone considering it?

With vibrant fashion-colored hair, it’s always important to keep in mind at-home care. These colors fade, and some fade fast! If you use a sulfate-free shampoo like Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics, you’ll notice your color will have more life because it’s pH is balanced to not harm the color directly. Also, keep in mind to freshen up your color with one of Joico’s Color Butters in between salon visits. It’s great because it’s an easy, in-shower application that rinses out after 5 minutes. It will keep you in good shape until you need to really freshen up the color. This look isn’t super high maintenance, but it does need some TLC.

Rose Brown Highlights

Rose brown highlights on dark brown hair
Instagram @amhrytsak

Q&A with style creator, Amanda Routly
Hairstylist @ Angles Hair & Aesthetics in Calgary, AB


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as a great way to work with old highlights while maintaining the integrity of the hair. Her hair is fine, fragile, and in a growing out phase, so not doing additional damage was important as well as giving her something fresh and current.

I decided to play and work with what was existing rather than doing more pre-lightening. I used Shades EQ color gloss which is incredible for maintaining the health and integrity of her hair, which was an absolute priority.

What I love about doing this color was that we both stepped out of our “safe zone” of cool blonde tones and aimed for a rich, shiny, dimensional rose tone brown. It’s clear that even a more professional business woman can have a little more fun with her hair!

Any advice for someone considering it?

To maintain this look, she visits the salon every 5-6 weeks for a retouch and glaze for the lengths.

While at home, she preserves the color with color safe shampoo and conditioner and uses color depositing shampoo once a week to maximize the rose pigment. This look is for a lifestyle conducive to anyone dedicated to incredible hair!

Dusty Pink on Short Curly Hair

Q&A with style creator, Gregga Balberan
Hairstylist @ This Or Die Salon in Los Angeles, CA


How would you describe this look?

It’s a Dusty Rose-Pink Color Melt look. I love that I incorporated her natural roots which make the grown out hair look a lot softer. I also placed all the color pieces to help make her natural waves have more dimension in it.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Trust your stylist. This also requires you to purchase a professional salon recommended color safe, sulfate free shampoo and conditioner. Use a color depositing conditioner that has the Dusty Rose Pink in it at least once a week, because these colors tend to wash out eventually.

Champagne Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Ebony Hammond
Hairdresser @ Hair by EbonyEliza in Sydney, NSW


How would you describe this look?

This is one of my favorite timeless hairstyles that suits any age! It’s a slightly concave shape with heavy texturizing throughout the layers to create a messy feathered look. The colors are great as they complement each other by both being on the warmer side. The base color gives a nice depth, and the foils create enough lightness throughout without overpowering the base.

The colors don’t require any bleach which is another great thing, as she has quite thin hair that doesn’t have the strength to have bleach blonde foils. That’s why we went with a soft champagne color which allows her to feel light without having any consequences!

Any advice for someone considering it?

A lot of people think they can’t have a concave if they have fine hair, but this is not true at all! My client in the photo actually has quite thin hair, and by cutting it into this shape it actually made her hair appear a lot thicker and healthier!

This is a great style for most face shapes. Also for people who are afraid of losing length, the front can remain longer allowing them to feel as though they have the length even though the back is cut to create volume. This is an easily maintained haircut and color.

To style, it is as simple as scrunching your hair and letting it be natural, which was the main reason why my client loves this style!

To create a smooth look, I simply applied a root lift spray to the roots prior to blow drying, tucked it under with the brush, and finished off with a light hairspray to hold in place.

The colors don’t require toning in between appointments. The champagne tones hold 5-6 weeks in between visits, so once again it is an all-around low maintenance color and style!

Rose Gold Highlights

Long dark brown hair with rose gold highlights
Instagram @beautybybrandz

Q&A with style creator, Brandie Rivas
Future Cosmetologist in Largo / Clearwater, FL


How would you describe this look?

This is a seasonal fall dimension look. Most ladies want to go completely dark for the fall, but in this case, my client still wanted to keep her highlights but also add a pop of warm color.

My client has naturally curly and extremely thick hair. She preferred a blow dry and flat iron since the cool fall weather would not make it frizz up like the typical humid Florida weather.

I mostly love the contrast of the highlights and lowlights and how all of the colors melt together.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Invest in a good color-last shampoo. They are typically sulfate-free which helps keeps the vibrancy of the color. Any tone of red is fairly high maintenance and will fade faster if you don’t use a professional brand shampoo and hair products.

If you have a busy, fully booked lifestyle, this color would not be the best of choice. Shades of red can get dull fast and it would be recommended to get a color touch up every 4-6 weeks if you want to keep up.

If you want a fall color for only the season and not for long-term, be prepared for the transition back to your natural or desired color. Artificial red tones are the hardest to remove from the hair.

There is a shade of red for every tone of skin! Cool or warm, olive or peachy, there is a fall color for your hair. Personally, I think deep red tones are more aesthetically pleasing with darker hair, but there are endless options for you to personalize your own shade of red for the fall.

Chesnut Highlights

Chestnut highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @karllkyl

Q&A with style creator, Karl
Senior Stylist @ Mi the Salon in Singapore


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I love how this look helps naturally dark haired clients to achieve a low maintenance look. I left her roots at her natural hair color, and this is a mixture of warm and cool tones that create more dimension and movement!

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I recommend a balayage technique with Loreal Professional Blond Studio Multi Techniques Lightener for lifting and Loreal Professional DIA Richesse 5,13 (diluting it with clear) to achieve this look! During the coloring process, I also recommend putting in smart bond to minimize any damage of the hair.

For maintenance, I definitely recommend a purple shampoo to neutralize any unwanted brassy tones.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look is great for clients who have naturally dark hair but wish to go lighter, yet do not wish to visit the salon too often for retouches. It is really a fuss-free, easy to maintain look that creates just enough dimension for straight hair.

Bright Pink Ombre Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Heather Harroun
Level 5 Hairstylist @ The Head Shoppe Halifax Shopping Centre in Halifax, Canada


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as wearable bold. She stands out with the pink ends, yet still has a natural shade at her root which gives a lived-in feel to the color.

My favorite thing about this look is how fun it is and also how softly it can blend with a natural shade, like brown. Pink is a very trendy hair color this year, and I love how having multiple tones in her hair gave her a sunset appearance!

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

Having the right products is huge when it comes to maintaining fashion colors. I recommend a gentle sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Some of my favorites are Pureology Hydrate and Redken Color Extend Magnetics. Try to wash your hair as little as possible, and when you do, wash it in cold water to keep it from fading a lot.

If you’re planning on heat styling your hair to get beachy waves, you’re definitely going to want a heat protecting spray like Redken Iron Shape. To finish off the look, a dry texture spray will add the perfect “on purpose” messy look to the curls. I love the one from Moroccan Oil.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look would be perfect for anyone who is willing to try something bright and trendy. Hair that is already highlighted blonde is going to give the best result as opposed to very dark colored hair. Since this look has multiple shades of pink, it will look good on both warm and cool skin tones!

If you’re someone who washes your hair daily, this color will not be for you because it does fade with each wash. However, if you’re someone who wants to stand out and try something different, this will be the look for you!

Subtle Brown Color Melt

Subtle brown highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @kassandra_rae_

Q&A with style creator, Kassie Banuelos
Hairstylist @ LUXE Beauty Bar in Pleasanton, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is a sleek long hairstyle with a long fringe around the face and long layers. I created a softer, more subtle color melt for low maintenance and up-keep. My favorite thing about this look has to be way the color ends with a cool but neutral brown.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

To create this look, I applied all R+Co products. I started with the One prep spray, then used Park Ave blowout balm. She has curly hair, so this combined with Olivia Garden round brushes help give the hair a smooth and shiny finish.

Once blown out, I applied Foil because it’s the best for combatting frizz and static. I added come Tinsel smoothing oil on the ends for extra shine, then Vicious strong flexible hold to keep everything in place.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

My client is a nurse and has her hair up a lot, so I wanted to get her some longer bangs for her center part that were long enough if she needed to put them back up. The client with a strong jaw ine will benefit most with the shorter, softer pieces around the front hairline dropped out. This hairstyle is ideal for the girl who doesn’t want to be in the salon every six weeks for a balayage touch up.

Warm Caramel Highlights

Warm caramel highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @alistcolor

Q&A with style creator, Ashley Moehring
Hairstylist @ Mad Styles Salon in Mason City, IL


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as a dark chocolate brown base with ribbons of hand painted, warm caramel highlights. My favorite thing about this look is that it’s not your traditional foil highlight, but instead is balayaged to look sunkissed.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

To maintain the richness of the color, I would recommend a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. My current favorite is AMIKA’s ‘Keep Your Color’ shampoo and conditioner.

In order to achieve the beach waves, I recommend using a 1.25-inch barrel curling iron, making sure to leave the last inch to two inches out to keep it effortless. Finish with a dry texture spray for extra volume, and voila!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this type of color for those who don’t like the upkeep of traditional foil highlights. This look is perfect for those who are low maintenance and only want to visit the salon every four to six months. The warm caramel tones tend to work best on those with warm (think olive) skin tones, or those whose natural color is a level 4 or darker.

Mocha Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Natalie Carmichael
Salon Owner / Master Stylist @ My Salon in Chico, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is effortless, easy and classy. I would call this look “I woke up like this”. My favorite thing about it is that it’s styled in a way that doesn’t look like she tried too hard, but has the confidence to bring out the fabulous in this look in such a subtle way.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

For this look, I recommend using a dry texture spray or wax spray such as Unite Texturiza or Sexy Hair Play Dirty. These types of products are a must for creating an effortless, textured look that has just enough of a playful style without looking messy.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This client has an olive skin tone, a lot of fine long hair, and doesn’t want to put more than five minutes into styling her hair. She also prefers an understated look.

I believe this look is truly universal and well suited for anyone from the busy mom with just a few minutes to put herself to together to the busy businesswoman who has a tight schedule and only five minutes to make it happen.

Copper Highlights

Copper highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @louisesb123

Q&A with style creator, Louise
Salon Owner / Hairstylist @ Alla Moda Hair & Beauty in Derbyshire, England


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

The look I created is casual and textured, which in turn creates this effortless but sassy style. My favorite thing about the color and style is that it is super easy to wear and maintain. It looks so effortless, but will catch the eye instantly and appears more time consuming that it really is!

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

Being a Matrix Educator and working for Matrix Color, I used Light Master to pre-lighten the hair using a balayage freehand technique with 6% peroxide. Once lifted, I applied 4ma in Matrix So Color to darken the root area and add an indulgent richness. I then toned the pre-lightened areas using Matrix Color Sync 8cg and 8m. To maintain the look, I recommend Biolage Color Last shampoo. To style the textured cut, I recommend Matrix Style Link Mess Maker and Gloss Booster.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this look to anyone wanting an effortless but stylish look with very little maintenance. It would suit an active and busy lifestyle well. The copper tones and rich mocha color compliments dark brown, hazel or green eyes and a warm skin tone that has yellow and golden tones. This color and style suits autumn and winter really well!

Sun-Kissed Blonde Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Shelby Sorheim
Stylist / Updo Specialist @ Willow Salon in Maple Grove, MN


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would best describe this look as a natural, kissed by the sun balayage. My favorite thing about this look is that it appears effortless. It’s perfect for a summer or fall look.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

To create this look, I used Paul Mitchell Synchro Lift lightener with 20 vol. I used a heavy weave, thin slice balayage technique with foils and did not fold my foils. I used the platinum card technique by placing another foil on top of the other. This kept my work very neat and assured the color would stay where I placed it. For foil placement, I was creative with it, which is part of what makes this so fun to create.

We left my client’s root at her natural level between a 4 and 5. To maintain this look, it really is up to the client and when they feel it’s looking a bit too grown out, which could be in a month or in six months.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look is perfect for moms, college students, or anyone who does not make it to the salon every four to six weeks for retouches. Because it is such a low maintenance look, it’s great for anyone who lives a busy lifestyle.

I feel this look really does compliment any skin tone because you are able to tone the blond accordingly. My client does have very thick medium to coarse hair, but this look can be created on almost any hair type.

Caramel Honey Highlights

Caramel honey highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @hairbytran

Q&A with style creator, Tran Nguyen
Color Specialist @ Fox & Jane Salon in New York, NY


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is effortless. The tone is a honey caramel balayage. My favorite thing about this technique/balayage hair color is that it is low maintenance. Clients don’t have to come in often because there isn’t a line of demarcation as it grows out.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I used R+Co Gemstone shampoo and conditioner. It’s sulfate-free which helps maintains the color and doesn’t strip the hair color or get brassy. After shampooing, I recommend R+Co High Dive for moisture andmid-lengthsid lengths to ends, and a little of the R+Co Motorcycle flexible gel around the hairline to help smooth out her natural curls during the blow dry.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

Balayage is very versatile. It works with every hair type (straight, curly, fine or thick). Based on a client’s skin tone and eye color, texture and density, I personalize the end results for individuality.

This honey caramel balayage is for the type of woman that doesn’t want to come every six weeks. She wants a natural, sun-kissed look.

Caramel Balayage Highlights

Long dark brown hair with caramel highlights
Instagram @mkitmittohair

Q&A with style creator, Michelle
Stylist / Hair Painter @ Salon Prive in Lorton, VA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this as a caramel balayage. My favorite thing about this balayage is that I can personalize the hair anyway I like.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I recommend Schwarzkopf bleach with Brazilian Bonder to protect the hair while lifting. My go-to toners are Kenra and Redken Shades eq. The Joico K-Pak color therapy shampoo is my favorite, followed with Joico K-Pak Luster Lock.

To maintain this look, simply refresh with a toner as desired.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this look for anyone looking for low maintenance color. You don’t have to worry about roots and you can control the tone depending on client’s skin tone. I do not recommend this for super curly hair.

Ash Brown Highlights

Ash brown highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @gogetpretty

Q&A with style creator, Tammi S. Ramirez
Artistic Educator / Redken Hair Color & Design Certified @ ULTA Beauty in Tempe, AZ


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This is a soft ombre or “sombre.”  The color itself seamlessly transitions softly from a rich brown to kisses of a dark golden blonde. An ombre can be very drastic in its color graduation from dark to light or light to dark, while a sombre is just a few hues lighter from its deepest shade, giving any client’s hair that high fashion feel.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

To maintain this look, I highly suggest a gloss treatment from Redken’s Shades EQ Gloss line six to eight weeks after color application to keep the color looking fresh. With rice protein and pomegranate oils, it gives your hair tons of shine while maintaining that awesome tone and strength in your hair. It’s like a lip gloss for your hair!

Redken Color Magnetics Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner is a must as well to keep your color protected.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I think this a great color technique for all hair types and all lifestyles because it is very high fashion with very low maintenance. You can literally wear this color straight, curled or in an updo and it will look on trend and then some.

Warm Bronde Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Jacki Spellman
Colorist / Stylist / Make-up Artist @ Lifted Salon in Roseville, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This is one of my favorite brondes! We did a rich chocolate brown base color and added ribbons of gold balayage just through her crown. We finished the look with a medium length, long layered haircut.

My favorite thing about this look is that it’s a rich warm color with strong contrast. It isn’t a high maintenance color since the contrast is at her mids and ends, blending softly into her base color.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I recommend Eufora’s Beautifying Elixir line to maintain the rich color and health of the hair.

For styling, I recommend a root lift for volume, a styling cream for heat protection and control (prior to curling), polishing the look with a shine spray, and then hairspray to finish (if needed) for hold.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look is great for brunettes with warm skin tones. The yellow undertones in her skin help to pull of the rich golden shades throughout her hair. If you have a cooler skin tone (with pink undertones), choose beige or cooler ashy tones throughout.

The maintenance is low for highlighting (from 12 weeks to 6 months if she wants). We only maintain her base regularly for grey coverage and to keep the richness in tone with a gloss on the ends (every five to seven weeks). It fits into a busy lifestyle with the ability to go as long as you want between highlighting or balayaging.

Soft Sandy Blonde Highlights

Dark brown hair with sandy blonde highlights
Instagram @tr1zzz

Q&A with style creator, Jordan Truong
Senior Stylist @ James Joseph Salon in Medford, MA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This technique I used to color her hair is called balayage ombre. Balayage is a technique where we as stylists paint on the hair whether with color or lightner. As you can see in this picture, the color is painted off her root, therefore it will leave a soft, natural grow out versus highlighted to the root. Highlights to the root will leave a line of demarcation within six weeks.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

The great thing about this look is that it is meant to look lived-in. In this picture, I simply used a 1.25-inch barrel curling iron to curl her hair, then I broke up the curls with Oribe Dry Texture Spray.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look is great for those with very busy lifestyles. The color is painted off the root, therefore whatever color is chosen will not clash against her skin.

My favorite thing about balayages is that it’s such a natural look and feel!

Glossy Mahogany Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Jasmine Nicole Miller
Hairstylist @ Salon JLadner and Spa in Dayton, OH


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look was created by using Redken Color and their Gloss Shades eq over a balayage technique. My favorite thing about this kind of look is that once the light is painted onto the hair, you can custom tone it in a multitude of different ways over many sessions with your guest, keeping it fresh and beauty budget friendly. This results in keeping your guests happy and your book filled!

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

To maintain this look, it’s a must to get color-safe products. Any rich color will fade without proper take-home products. All colors but grey and blonde have red in them, which means they will fade fast and you’ll lose the rich tonal value of the hair. I always explain to my guest that if they are going to make an investment in their hair today, take home products are the only way I can guarantee success in their color journey long term.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this type of look to anyone who wants a contemporary look that is budget friendly and low maintenance because a full overhaul isn’t needed if they consistently keep up with their re-growth and gloss services every four to six weeks.

This can be customizable in a multitude of ways based on lifestyle, underlying skin tones and/or color preference of the moment, simply by changing up the gloss that’s applied to the pre-lightened areas. The only type of hair that I don’t recommend dark colors on are people who have a finer hair texture and or thinning hair issues. Dark colors will make it appear even less dense and no one wants to enhance their hair struggles.

Rooted Pink Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Ashley Joal Hambly
Stylist @ Square Salon in Las Vegas, NV


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as a rooted pink/peach/rose gold balayage. My favorite thing about his look is that my client was able to get some fun color in her hair for the summer without doing her whole head.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

You would need to lighten the hair beforehand. I personally used Pulp Riot Blonde AF with 20 volume developer and B3 to keep the integrity of her hair. Then, on clean dry hair, I went through with a combination of Pulp Riot Blush, Cupid, Lemon and Clear to achieve the different pink tones in her hair.

To maintain the look, I suggest rinsing hair in cold water and a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. For this client, I actually took a white conditioner and mixed in a little bit of the pink formula to create a custom toning mask for her to use when she felt like the color was fading.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

Anyone can wear this color! It doesn’t matter if you have the curliest or thinnest of hair, what skin color you have or even your personal style, you just have to own it to love it! Lifestyle wise, it’s best for people that won’t mind day three or four hair (an amazing dry shampoo will be your best friend!) as the color will last longer the less you wash it.

Also, if you spend a lot of time in the sun, that is more likely to fade the color as well. I suggest wearing a hat if you plan on being in the sun for awhile.

Mocha Highlights

Mocha highlights on dark brown medium length hair
Instagram @dashu_lovehair

Q&A with style creator, Dashu
Hairdresser @ Aloha Beauty Studio in Russian Federation, Novosibirsk


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This color was a difficult task because we were focused on saving the quality of the hair. All work was performed in stages: 1. Colorout with Olaplex and 2. Maximum toning to keep it natural.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I toned the hair with Wella Illumina. For the style, I used Tigi Catwalk Salt Spray and Tigi Bedhead Hard Head. The surf waves were created with an iron.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

If you are a brunette that wants just a little blonde, this look is a great option for you. This color will appear blended longer.

Surfwaves are trendy, easily created, and work in any situation from the office to a party.

Cool-Toned Light Brown Highlights

Light brown highlights on dark brown hair
Instagram @kluthenia

Q&A with style creator, Krista Watson
Cosmetologist @ Hair By Krista Stamper in Beavercreek, OH


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

We are transitioning into fall with this cool-toned brunette with sunkissed beige babylights! I love how the blonde gives this look just enough movement and dimension to catch the eye no matter how it’s styled.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I always say that a good blowout is a solid foundation to your hairstyle. I used Matrix Style Link Skinny Cream for the round brush style. I used Paul Mitchell’s Hot Off The Press for just the right amount of hold for these flawless, heat protected curls. I finished the style off with CHI Shine Spray and fingered through the curls!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look would be great for any client! The babylights grow out to give the balayage effect, making this wonderful for a lived-in color. Maintenance is a breeze!

Balayaged Ombre Highlights

Ombre highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @hairenvy_nikki

Q&A with style creator, Nikki Foster
Loreal Pro Colorist @ Salon Cielo in Orlando, FL


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This is a balayaged ombre. My favorite thing is the dimension and contrast it creates.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I recommend using Olaplex #3 at home and a professional line that is formulated for your hair type.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look is perfect for someone who wants highlights for dark brown hair, but not directly on the partline. You have fewer touch up appointments with this look, but keep in mind that most balayage ombres need to be maintained with regularly scheduled toners.

I recommend balayage for clients who want a more natural-looking, highlighted effect, no matter the hair type or skin tone.

Pink Strawberry Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Malisa Weaver
Balayage & Color Specialist / Stylist @ Sola Salon Studios in Columbus, OH


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this as a midnight rose/berry-toned hue, which is a great fall transition when you’re bored with your blonde highlights from summer. It’s rich and trendy, but can still be office appropriate. I love that when it fades it will turn into a beautiful pastel.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I definitely recommend a sulfate-free shampoo. My favorite is Lanza Healing Color Care shampoo and conditioner. It has plant botanicals that keep the color from fading and gives incredible softness and shine. I always recommend a deep conditioning treatment one to two times a month, especially on pre-lightened hair.

For styling, I love Moroccan Oil Smoothing Lotion to keep frizz at bay while maintaining smoothness. I finished with IGK Down and Out Grunge Spray for definition and that tousled, lived-in look.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

Anyone from brunette to blonde that is looking for something fun would wear this look. It compliments neutral and olive undertones. It is a higher maintenance color that would need refreshed about every four to six weeks to maintain the vibrancy.

Subtle Highlights

Subtle highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @thegrieveeffect

Q&A with style creator, Abby Grieve
Hairstylist @ Shenanigans Hair Lounge in Riverside, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as subtle and sexy. I love the easy flow of it. It is very simple and elegant, but it also has a fire to it.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I used a special mixture of Redken Shades to create this color. As far as maintaining it, wash in cold water with your favorite color-safe product! I am in love with the All Soft line by Redken!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this look for any client who is afraid of taking that next step, but wants to be different. It is perfect for easygoing women that don’t need to be flashy, they just want a small enough change to feel beautiful! It’s very natural and easy to manage and, contrary to very drastic blondes, this type of color is fairly easy to transition to. This is also a perfect color for all skin tones and eye colors!

Soft Caramel Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Katie Overholt
Hairdresser @ Karma Salon & Boutique in Tryon, NC


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this as a soft caramel balayage. I absolutely love doing color that looks lived-in and soft and that will have a pretty grow out.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I used Oligo Pro Blacklight Lightener with B3 added. We processed for 25 minutes, and glazed midshaft with Redken Shades eq 8n+9p and pulled 9p through the ends. I finished the look with my favorite Redken styling products.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this color to anyone at a level 5 or below to add some soft dimension. Whether the client is fair or olive, it works well with most skin tones. I suggest this look to the clients wishing for a low maintenance color as it’s very natural and will look great for months at a time.

Dimensional Bronze Highlights

Dimensional bronze highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @hairbyamybee

Q&A with style creator, Amy Baugh
Hairstylist / Colorist @ Advanced Techniques in Fruita, CO


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as an organic, dimensional “bronze”. My favorite thing about this look is that it allows for someone with dark hair to get some beautiful brightness, but without the upkeep of traditional highlights that start at the scalp.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

To create this look, I used a balayage lightener with 40 vol and a 2-inch chip brush from the hardware store. We balayaged in deep “v” patterns to create a ton of dimension throughout my guest’s hair. I toned her with 8v and 8n, which is my favorite “bronde” toner.

To maintain this look, I recommend Pureology Hydrate shampoo and conditioner. I also recommend using a purple shampoo once a week to fight away brassy tones, as well as Olaplex #3 to help keep the hair healthy and strong between chemical services.

For styling, I used my Chi Onyx flat iron to create soft waves and a dry texture spray to add some definition and piecy-ness to the hair.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

Honestly, I love rooty balayage on everyone, regardless of their hair or skin tone. It’s super low maintenance, which is great for all lifestyles. Although I recommend coming in for regular trims, my balayage clients usually only need to come in for their color touch ups one to three times a year, which is a big time and money saver for them.

Short Bob with Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Renaux Carter
Hairstylist Assistant @ Tricho Salon and Spa in Novi, MI


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as timelessly chic. You can’t go wrong with a classic bob, and adding that pop of caramel color to brown hair creates a unique overall style.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

To create and maintain this look, I recommend using Oribe Straight Away Smoothing Blowout Cream. This is my new favorite product for medium to course hair! It seals down the hair cuticles, leaving a beautiful sleek finish. It also reduces drying time.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This is a versatile look and would be perfect for fine to medium hair types, neutral or warm skin tones, and suitable for a more professional setting or something more casual. The color is customizable whether you want to have a caramel accent like this, or copper, red violet, etc.

Rich Copper & Violet Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Nicki Gazlay
Color Specialist / Hair Stylist / Make-up Artist @ Tangerine Salon in Highland Village, TX


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I love this look because the root area is more natural and the bold ribbons of color attract the eye’s attention. The rich violet undertones with the dramatic copper highlights create a dynamic combo.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I created this look using Aveda Full Spectrum Intense color. To maintain such a bold color, I highly recommend Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo and Conditioner. As for styling this long layered hair, I applied a quarter-sized amount of Aveda Daily Color Protect from mid shaft to ends, then applied a quarter-size amount of the Aveda Confixor Gel from roots to ends to add volume and hold.

To create the loose waves, I used a Chi 2-inch round brush to blow dry her hair, then used a Babyliss Titanium Pro 1-inch curling iron.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

These bold colors can be worn by anyone who loves a dynamic and vivacious look. Our hair should be our best accessory and I believe in changing accessories often. This guest has extremely thick hair that can support a vast amount of color and layers. Depending on the texture of your hair, the outcome of a color and cut like this will vary.

Beach Golden Highlights

Dark brown hair with golden highlights
Instagram @carliesoule_pmtsgl

Q&A with style creator, Carlie Soule
Future Professional @ Paul Mitchell the School Great Lakes in Port Huron, MI


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This hand painted balayage is a look that allows women to go lighter without the frequent upkeep that traditional highlights require. My favorite thing about this look is the beach waves that really showcase the dimensional color.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

The products used to create this look are all from the Paul Mitchell product line. For the style, I used Heat Seal for thermal protection, Quick Slip for memory and faster drying time, and Hold Me Tight for a strong but flexible finish. To maintain the color, I recommend Paul Mitchell’s Platinum Blonde Shampoo which includes a touch of violet to prevent brassiness.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this color and style for clients who are seeking a low maintenance look. Beach waves are great for women looking for a quick style that can last from day to night.

The best part about the hand painted balayage is that it’s blended at the top, which allows it to grow out beautifully and extends the time between salon visits. The combination of the two is dynamite.

Shoulder Length Light Caramel Highlights

Shoulder length dark brown hair with caramel highlights
Instagram @hairbythree

Q&A with style creator, Therese Harvey
Hairstylist @ Cameron James Salon in San Francisco, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This is a mid-length layered bob that is styled with beach waves. There is some slight graduation in the back which allows for more height in the crown and more versatility with styling.

My favorite thing about this look it’s that you can go from straight to curly with the help of a styling tool and can still get the front back off your face for a more active look.

The color is actually a correction! She had very heavy highlights and a really dark base color, so we broke it up with babylights and balayage for a soft transition into something more natural. I love how low maintenance this type of color is. This client is able to go 12 weeks in between color services and loves how much she is able to get out of the color.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I used a soft styling spray and a dry shampoo to style her. We carry Oribe and Seven Haircare in our salon, so I used a combination of those two lines on her.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I think this is a look that’s great for any hair type. It’s all about adjusting the weight within the shape so that you can have it translate to all textures. This is also a great look for a naturally curly girl. I would say this is great for anyone that wants a low maintenance look that still offers a lot of styling versatility.

Dimensional Grey Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Kory Clark
Stylist @ 29ten Salon in Brookfield, WI


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as a dimensional grey balayage. My favorite thing about it is how it melts from the dark to the light colors perfectly.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I recommend either a purple or silver shampoo to keep the silver color from fading as much as possible. To create the waves, I used a 1-inch Marcel curling iron, leaving the ends straight. Texture spray can be your best friend for looks like this!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

Balayage, in general, is a perfect color for the low maintenance gal as you only need to get it touched up every three to six months. This color will have a bit more maintenance if you want to keep it silvery, coming in for a gloss once every month generally. Any and all hair types can rock these colors!

Smoky Silver Highlights

Smoky silver highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @kittycooboo

Q&A with style creator, KC Benson
Hairdresser @ Bedlam Beauty and Barber in San Jose, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

My favorite aspect of this look is the dimension! I love how the light pieces pop against the dark background pieces.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

For stylists, I definitely recommend a lightener to help achieve your desired level, but also help with the health of the hair. I LOVE using Schwarzkopf Blonde Me for hair that can handle a little more. For hair that needs something more gentle, I recommend Goldwell Silk Lift.

As far as the client maintaining their color, I believe good shampoo and conditioner are key! You want to use something color-safe and hydrating, such as Color Minded from Bumble and bumble. It is my go to!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

It really depends on the person. If the client is willing to maintain the color (i.e. toners, special shampoos, etc.), I think this could look great on a variety of people.

Lighter Highlights

Light highlights for dark brown hair
Instagram @_douglasjack

Q&A with style creator, Douglas Jack
Color Specialist @ Bomane Salon in Beverly Hills, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This is a bohemian, beach-waved look with a natural and subtle color made up of babylight highlights. This particular client wanted a nice pop or “money piece” in the front framing her face, which is actually one of my favorite things to do with highlights.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

Everyone should be using a sulfate and paraben-free shampoo and conditioner. I recommend OI by Davines. This brand is highly moisturizing and will keep your hair healthy while protecting your color.

As for styling, I would i would recommend using OI Moisturizing Oil and the OI Milk Leave-In Spray from Davines. This will keep your hair from getting dry and brittle as you’re styling.

For finishing touches, I love to use a texturizing spray because it gives a little hold and lots of texture. I recommend using Davines Texturizing Spray or Oribe Texturizing Spray. They are both light hold, but really give that textured look while keeping your hair soft.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this type of highlight for most hair types from thick to thin and curly to straight. It works with many different textures which is great. It’s very subtle, but can be customized for clients who like a little bit more or less of a pop.

Consultation is key to make sure everyone is on the same page and you end up with the best results for a dark brown hair color with highlights!