10 Best Lowlights For Brown Hair

Give a new lease of life to brown hair with highlights.

Often when we think of changing up our hair colour our minds turn to highlights, but as a subtler alternative, lowlights for brown hair are great.

Pretty much the direct opposite of highlights, getting lowlights involves darkening sections of the hair to create more depth. This gives brunettes a richer, more multi-dimensional appearance and gives flat, dull hair a total makeover.

Now you know why we rate them, get inspired with our favourite brown hair with lowlights looks from stars, below.

1. Jessica Alba

jessica alba with shoulder length wavy chocolate and chestnut lowlights
Wavy or curly hair types are ideal for showing off the different tones. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

We dare you to try and find someone who isn’t totally obsessed with Jessica Alba‘s luscious locks because we definitely are. The secret to her rich, luxurious-looking colour? Her blend of glossy chocolate brown and warmer golden honey tones, which she accentuates with soft, deconstructed waves.

2. Shay Mitchell

shay mitchell with long sideswept curls in caramel and chocolate brunette with lowlights
You can use darker and lighter tones to create a totally bespoke look. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Pretty Little LiarsShay Mitchell is one of our ultimate brunette crushes because she’s a pro at changing up her brown hair with lowlights. Some of us tend to have darker hair underneath (as it’s less exposed to the light), so by balancing out her caramel balayage with darker under layers it gives it a natural sunkissed effect.

3. Jana Kramer

country singer jana kramer with long curly brunette hair with soft brown lowlights
Lowlights are just the opposite of highlights. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

If you’ve got lacklustre mousy brown hair that’s neither dark or light, lowlights like Jana Kramer will do the world of good for your hair. The country singer and One Tree Hill star has thin ribbons of different shades running through her lengths, which makes it look really healthy, radiant and polished.

Editor’s tip: To make all of the colours in your hair pop and stop them looking less vibrant, switch out whatever normal shampoo and conditioner you’re using to a colour care range. The Dove Colour Care Shampoo and Conditioner help to keep colour vibrant for up to eight weeks, so your locks stay looking salon-fresh between dye jobs.

4. Kate Beckinsale

kate beckinsale with long wavy brunette hair with darker and lighter highlights and lowlights
Lowlights help to break up solid colour with subtle contrasts. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Never dyed your hair before? Kate Beckinsale’s dreamy brown hair with lowlights is the perfect way to break up solid colours, making it a fantastic one for beginners. All you need is a few subtle lowlights through your lengths and it’ll really help to break up the base hue.

5. Nicole Scherzinger

nicole scherzinger at the x factor wearing a black trilby hat with long dark curly hair with lowlights
Ribbons of colour can help add movement to longer locks. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Do you have really ultra dark or even black hair? The great thing about lowlights for brown hair is that there’s not really any limit to who can try them. Scherzy is a prime example of how you can experiment with darker tones and achieve really effective results.

6. Olivia Munn

olivia munn with shoulder length straight chestnut brown hair with lowlights styled to one side with a side parting
Lowlights can be used to accentuate layers and add body. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Lowlights can transform your hair whatever the length. Olivia Munn’s on-trend layered lob cut is made all the more chic, thanks to the mix of lighter and darker tones which help accentuate her face-framing layers.

7. Minka Kelly

minka kelly with blowout brunette hair with lowlights
Blending highlights and lowlights together is the best way to get a truly natural look. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

If you’re a fan of the ‘less is more approach’ to beauty, adding multiple different colours to your hair probably sounds like a total contradiction. But actually, you’ll see that actress Minka Kelly has various distinctive shades in her hair and they all blend together to create a look that’s natural and bespoke.

8. Halle Berry

halle berry with straight long light brown hair with darker brunette lowlights and a patterned hair wrap
Lowlights can help soften lighter highlights and reduce the appearence of regrowth. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Got tan-dark skin and wanting to go blonde? Rather than going lighter with highlights, adding in a mix of both highlights and lowlights (like Halle Berry, above) will help to blend the blonde with your base colour and stop it from washing you out. It’ll also be much less damaging than immediately jumping in with an all-over head of bleach.

Read next6 things you should know if you’re thinking about bleaching your hair.

9. Megan Fox

megan fox with long black brunette hair with chocolate lowlights
Adding richer chestnut tones to ultra dark brunettes adds a warmth. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Megan Fox’s hair is so dark that in some lights it even looks black, but it’s her lowlights which give her enviable mane that extra lift and stops her hair hue from looking flat.

Editor’s tip: For hair as glossy as Megan’s, try a shine spray like the TONI&GUY Finishing Shine Spray. Shine sprays help to add a glossy sheen to the hair and make it look extra radiant, without making it feel greasy or weighed down.

10. Ashley Greene

actress ashley green with curly golden brown hair with darker lowlights
Once you’ve got lowlights they’re incredibly low maintenance. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

For those who are currently blonde or dark brown and want to go dark, you may not have considered this but you can actually get brown hair with lowlights.

Each time you go to the hairdresser, ask your colourist to add in more and more brunette strands until you reach your chosen colour – this way, it’ll look much more natural than with a single-process colour.

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