The Coolest Brown Hair Color Ideas for Brunettes

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Written By Paklay Zablay

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When you’re debating a hair color 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,” which we all know isn’t necessarily true, brown hair often gets the “boring” label. This couldn’t be further from the truth: Brown is one of the most versatile shades out there. Depending on the tone, it can read as classy, edgy, or mysterious—it’s just a matter of finding the look that’s best for you.

Feeling inspired? Here’s everything you need to know about embracing the dark side (of hair).

How to find the best brown hair color for your skin tone

“Choosing the best brunette shade for your skin tone depends on several factors,” Abby Haliti, French balayage and color expert and owner of NYC’s Abby Haliti Color Studio, tells Glamour, adding that much of it comes down to finding your skin’s undertone and knowing whether it’s warm or cool. “Generally, people with warm undertone in their skin look best with warm brunette shades like caramel or chestnut,” Haliti says, noting that warm undertones are usually yellow, peachy, and/or golden. “Those with cool undertones, such as pink or blue, tend to suit cooler brunette shades like ash brown or espresso.”

Nicole Lucero, a colorist at NYC’s Mahogany Grace Salon, concurs, pointing to base shades of caramel and honey brown as ideal for warm undertones. “If you have cool undertones, a base shade of ash brown or dark brown would be the best choice,” she says. “If you have neutral undertones, you can do like a rich chestnut brown or dark cherry brown.”

Haliti also notes that it’s important to consider your eye color and natural hair color when selecting a shade. “For personalized advice, it’s best to consult a professional hairstylist who can assess your skin tone and help you choose the most flattering brunette shade,” she says.

How to maintain brunette hair

According to Lucero, maintaining brown hair color starts with using the right hair care products. “Choose shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for brown hair to keep the color vibrant and shiny, and limit washing to every other day to prevent your hair from becoming dry,” she says.

Haliti echoes the sentiment and also advises seeking sulfate-free products with ingredients like keratin and color-protecting agents. “Consider using a color-depositing shampoo or conditioner once a week to refresh and enhance your brunette shade,” she says. “These products can help prevent color fading and maintain the depth of your hair color.” Haliti’s go-to? Davines’ Alchemic Tobacco Color Depositing Conditioner.

Haliti and Lucero also recommend using a deep-conditioning hair mask every week as well as protecting hair from heat damage by regularly using a heat protectant and limiting heat styling. Some of Lucero’s favorite products for these tasks include Kevin Murphy Angel Wash Heat Protectant, Oribe Invisible Defense Deep Condition Treatment, Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray, and No.9 Bond Protectant from Olaplex.

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