40 Modern Brown Balayage Ideas To Inspire You In 2023

Hair colour trends come and go, but only a few are timeless. And if you ask us, a rich brown balayage is a style that will never feel outdated. Balayage is a freehand colouring technique that creates natural-looking highlights that don’t starkly contrast your natural hair colour. A brown balayage combines blonde, caramel, chocolate, light brown, coffee and mahogany tones, which are hand-painted to create a subtle style all over.

If you’ve been contemplating trying out balayage on brown hair, allow us to convince you that this trend works on just about everyone. But how do you make this classic look feel fresh this season? We’ve pulled together some of our favourite brown balayage looks from the runways to Instagram, to help you feel inspired.

Balayage on Dark Brown Hair

Woman with dark brown hair and balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/nadinekay_hair

Ultra-thin chestnut highlights are a flattering way of adding life and dimension to darker hair colours. 

Bronde Tones

Girl with long bronde hair
Credit: Instagram.com/hairby.mads

Bronde is one of our favourite ways to wear blonde balayage on brown hair. Beloved by stars like Chrissy Teigen, Gisele and J-Lo, the multidimensional blend of blonde and brunette tones are what hair dreams are made of.

Rich Brunette Tones

Woman with long wavy warm toned brunette balayage hair
Credit: Instagram.com/kellymassiashair

These rich, warm hues give this medium brown look a multi-tonal, autumnal feel.

A 900ml bottle of TRESemmé Revitalise Colour Shampoo front of pack image

Editor’s tip: Booked in to get balayage? Make sure you switch your usual wash and care to a colour protection range to keep your colour looking fresh. Enriched with camellia oil, the TRESemmé Revitalise Colour Shampoo gently cleanses and moisturises dyed hair, while also keeping your colour vibrant and shiny for up to 12 weeks.

Ash Brown Balayage

woman with ash brown balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/hairbykacie1

If warm tones aren’t for you (or if your skin tone leans towards the cool end of the spectrum), an ash brown balayage may be the one for you. Grey or silver tones will bring out the cooler undertones in your brown hair.

Cool Brown Balayage

Woman with wavy hair and a cool brown balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/hairbylindseyben

Cooler shades can look just as flattering as warm ones. If you’re not sure which to go for, we recommend talking to your colourist to see what tones they think would work best for you, based on your skin tone and eye colour.

Subtle Balayage

Woman with a subtle balayage on dark brown hair
Credit: Instagram.com/hairbytracyf

If you’re someone who’s never coloured their hair before or you’re just conscious of taking on anything too high-maintenance, try an understated barely-there balayage.

Brown Balayage on Curly Hair

Woman with curly hair and brown balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/slickback_buttahtoast

A balayage will enhance the natural texture of your curls, which is why it’s a great idea for anyone with curly hair – whether your curls are loose and bouncy, tight ringlets or anywhere in between.

Face-Framing Pieces

Woman with long wavy brunette hair with face framing balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/xo.farhana.balayage

Adding lightness to sections of hair around the face opens up your face and can totally transform a look. Coloured and treated hair often become more prone to breakage and dryness, so make sure you take care of your strands with the right shampoo. Dove Nutritive Solutions Intensive Repair Shampoo helps repair your hair while protecting it from future damage.

Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo Front view

Brown Balayage on Straight Hair

Person with brown balayage on long straight hair
Credit: Instagram.com/beautybyholly__

A well-executed balayage can look especially stunning on straight hair, as it functions as a blank canvas to show off all the lovely details of the hair colouring technique.

Dark Brown Balayage with Framing Highlights

Woman with long wavy hair and face framing highlights
Credit: Instagram.com/parisrosehairartistry

How beautiful is this Pinterest-worthy brown balayage? Piecey highlights are just what you need to break up block colour and add dimension.

Brown Balayage on Black Hair

woman with long brown hair
Credit: Instagram.com/hairby.mads

Worried that brown balayage won’t work on Asian hair? Don’t fear: the key to rocking this trend is to keep your brown tones within the caramel colour spectrum.

Because these soft hues are still within the warm colour range, it flatters medium, yellow-based or tanned skin tones without looking harsh or brassy.

Balayage on Short Hair

Woman with short hair and brown balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/a.doeshair

A balayage helps add dimension to the hair, no matter its length. So, whether your short hair is curly, straight or has a slight wave, a balayage will work for you.

Balayage on Pixie Cut

Woman with a brown balayage on short pixie cut
Credit: Instagram.com/misslemonhair

Looking for a way to update your signature pixie cut? A brown balayage could be what you need, as it adds subtle dimension and leaves you with a sunlit back-from-the-beach look.

Reverse Balayage

Woman with a reverse balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/pipsyhair_

Unlike a traditional balayage that’s all about adding lighter tones to the hair, a reverse balayage involves adding depth and dimension with darker shades on lighter hair tones.

Brown to Pink Balayage

person with pink balayage on brown hair
Credit: Instagram.com/ccahair

Thinking of going pink? A balayage that seamlessly transitions from brown to pink may be the easiest way to sport the statement hue for brunette hair.

Caramel Balayage on Dark Brown Hair

woman with caramel balayage on long brown hair
Credit: Instagram.com/adelencolorist

Don’t be fooled into thinking brown balayage is boring because it is anything but. Case in point: this look that combines soft caramels with brunette balayage. Keep your hair soft and shiny with a little pamper like SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque, a real balm for coloured and treated hair.

Shea Moisture Manuka Honey Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque Front view

Milk Chocolate Balayage

Woman with long hair and milk chocolate balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/livedinhairbysue

If a caramel shade is still too bold for you, opt for a darker dessert-inspired shade instead: milk chocolate. The colour pairs beautifully with dark ebony hair.

Auburn Balayage on Brown Hair

Woman with auburn balayage on wavy brown hair
Credit: Instagram.com/mslarisbeauty

Combine different shades of red and auburn with brown balayage to create a warm, lit-from-within finish.

Red Balayage on Brown Hair

Woman with long red balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/hair.onfleek_

Want something a little more daring? Nothing can beat a few well-placed red highlights, paired with hints of brown and ultra-dark roots.

This look screams drama and it will give your mane a whole new lease of life, leaving a lasting impression on all who gaze upon it! Bold beauty lovers, this is one for you.

Blonde Balayage on Brown Hair

woman with brown to blond balayage hair
Credit: Instagram.com/annahaldanehair

Pairing brunette locks with bright blond highlights may sound like a dramatic choice, but a balayage can make the colours transition seamlessly.

Strawberry Blonde Balayage

woman with strawberry blonde balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/floresinherhair_

You could also choose honey or strawberry blonde tones for your balayage. These shades are warmer, so they pair well with brown hair.

Honey Balayage on Long Curly Hair

Woman with long curly hair and honey blond balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/thesavvytouch

Sunlit honey tones look especially stunning on tight ringlets. We highly recommend considering warm blond tones if you have thick curly hair.

Balayage on Short Curly Hair

woman with curly bob with balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/slickback_buttahtoast

Rose gold tones look just as pretty on short curly hair. We love this look that also features a curly fringe – one of our favourite trends this season.

Balayage on Dark Brown Hair

Woman with dark curly hair and balayage
Brown balayage on natural hair. Credit: indigitalimages.com

This is a great example of how to work soft brown balayage on natural hair. Just remember to keep your roots and face-framing tresses dark, and work the richness and warmth of your chosen hues close to your face, as this will help to compliment Afro-Caribbean skin tones.

Brown Balayage on Very Long Hair

Woman with long wavy hair balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/dvcolour

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. On ultra-long locks, a brown balayage will emphasise their length and give them dimension and depth.

Light Brown Balayage

Model with light brown balayage
Credit: indigitalimages.com

Why not try working warm brown hues to highlight the layers and textures of a choppy long bob? Taken from the runway, this fab ‘do nails two hair trends at once: beautiful brown balayage and a practical mid-length lob. Sign us up!

Brown Balayage Lob

Woman with a wavy chocolate brown balayage long bob
Credit: Instagram.com/deluxewilliamsburg

Dyeing your bob-length strands a light milk chocolate shade will make it that much sweeter!

Hazelnut Brown Balayage

Woman with a wavy brunette A-line long bob
Credit: Instagram.com/emilymanderhair

The neutral hazelnut tones in this balayage bob would suit a variety of different skin tones.

Frosted Brunette Balayage

Woman with a straight dark brown to ashy grey balayage bob
Credit: Instagram.com/themaneartistry

The shimmering silver tones in this dark brown to grey balayage are giving us major ice queen vibes. Maintaining darker roots makes it easier for those with naturally darker hair to wear lighter, more ashy tones without looking washed out.

Glossy Dark Brown Balayage

woman with wavy dark brown balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/hairbychrissydanielle

If you feel like your brunette is looking a little flat, choose subtle warm tones a couple of shades lighter than your base colour. This will help to enhance your current colour and give it a new lease of life.

Editor’s tip: Coloured hair tends to be on the drier side so to keep your lengths looking shiny and healthy, we recommend trying a serum.

Brunette Balayage on Long Hair

Woman with long wavy dark brunette balayage hair
Credit: Instagram.com/beyondblonde

Because balayage is focused on the ends of the hair, it’s the perfect look for those with flowing long locks. Adding interest to the ends stops the hair from looking weighed down and limp and adds shape to the overall look.

Copper Brunette Balayage

Woman with long hair and copper toned balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/hairbynathi

This stunning copper balayage combines glossy deep brunette with ribbon highlights of warm copper.

Cocoa Balayage on Dark Hair

Woman with dark long hair with cocoa brown subtle highlights in her hair
Credit: Instagram.com/sincerely__melissa

A quick way to make naturally dark hair look interesting? By going just a shade or two lighter than your current hue to get this stunning result.

Cinnamon Swirl Brunette Balayage

Cinnamon-inspired brunette balayage on medium length dark brown hair
Credit: Instagram.com/sincerely__melissa

The cinnamon blonde tones in this hue are a refreshing change from the usual gold and browns.

Sun-kissed Balayage on Dark Brown Hair

Woman with long curly bronde balayage hair
Credit: Instagram.com/suetyrrellstylist

You can’t go wrong with sunny blonde tones, especially if you have really dark hair.

Brown Balayage on Long Bob Haircut

Woman with long bob haircut with light chocolate balayage highlights in it
Credit: Instagram.com/thekathair

Give your on-trend bob or lob cut a fresh colour upgrade with lighter tones woven into it.

Golden Balayage on Light Brown Hair

Woman with blown out, long light brown hair with golden balayage hair colour
Credit: Instagram.com/kalicolourshair

The reason why golden blonde balayage is great for light brunette hair? It does a wonderful job of framing and brightening your face.

Chocolate Brown Balayage

Woman with long glossy wavy chocolate brown hair
Credit: Instagram.com/luxyhair

Keep things on the dark side and go for a look that embraces your natural shade. If you’ve got very dark hair, caramel, chocolate and cocoa balayage highlights will look stunning when applied from the mid-lengths down to the ends of your hair.


Woman with brunette wavy hair with blonde face framing highlights
Credit: Instagram.com/duruyakp

Opt for a balayage that focuses on the areas where the sun would naturally lighten your hair for the most natural, beachy results. 

Rose Gold Balayage on Brown Hair

Woman with rose gold balayage
Credit: Instagram.com/r.a.d.color

We’re loving this rose gold-inspired look that has been created by mixing browns, caramels and toffee blonde shades. It’s sweet, it’s feminine and it’s got our names written all over it.




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