35 Best Brown Hair With Blonde Highlights

Ash, bronde, caramel... see how many ways there are to wear brown hair with blonde highlights.

Since the dawn of time, brown hair with blonde highlights has been an ever-popular choice for those looking to change up their hair colour. Evolving over the years with more natural techniques like babylights and balayage, brightening highlights are able to adapt to suit just about anyone.

Thinking about booking in at the salon but not sure where to start? Not for long. With such a wide spectrum of hues to choose from – cool ash tones, warm caramels, neutral brondes, there’s a colour out there to suit you. Plus, with our top tips to caring for your colour, the new hair excitement will last long after you’ve left the salon.

Alessandra Ambrosio’s Victoria’s Secret waves

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Alessandra Ambrosio with her brunette highlighted hair styled in classic voluminous Victoria's Secret waves
How to look like a Victoria’s Secret angel: Get highlights! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Looking for a way to brighten up your brunette for summer? Channel your inner angel like Alessandra Ambrosio with some sunny blonde and brown highlights for an easy seasonal update.

Editor’s tip: You’re going to be blowing kisses at yourself in every reflective surface with your newly-tinted blonde highlights – so take care of them to make them last!

Treat them with a little extra TLC, by using a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for coloured or blonde hair, like the TONI&GUY Illuminate Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner.

AnnaLynne McCord’s root smudge

Brown hair with blonde highlights: 90210 star AnnaLynne McCord with shoulder length straight light brown hair with blonde highlights, wearing a navy dress
Make your highlights shine with a sleek, straight style. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

You don’t have to go light all over to get the blonde look. If you’re trying light hair for the first time, you can ask your stylist to pull a darker colour through your roots (a process called gloss smudging) – this will make your blonde and brown highlights transformation less dramatic so it’s not so scary.

Jessica Alba’s butterscotch highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Jessica Alba with dark brown and blonde highlighted hair, styled in a curly half-up half-down hairstyle
Show off your highlights with a pretty half-updo. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a way to wear blonde highlights on brown hair year-round, look no further than Jessica Alba. Whatever the season, this flattering hair hue will always be on trend.

Highlights for medium/tan skintones

Jessica Alba with brown hair with highlights wearing a chunky gold necklace and a white dress
Always elegant is Jessica Alba. Credit: Getty Images

Sophisticated and subtle are the two words that encapsulate Jessica Alba‘s mane. For tanned and medium complexions, it’s best to stick to a variety of rich caramels and maple tones when it comes to brown hair highlights. This will result in a more natural look and really flatter your golden complexion.

Malika Haqq’s copper blonde

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Malika Haqq with long dark hair with caramel face-framing highlights
Caramel colours help add warmth to dark brown shades. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

We love the way Keeping Up With The Kardashians star Malika has lifted her dark locks with the help of some copper blonde pieces.

Marianna Hewitt’s perfectly positioned highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Marianna Hewitt with long wavy brown hair with blonde highlights, wearing a sheer black top
Mix and match your highlights for a more bespoke look. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Blogger Marianna Hewitt’s blonde highlights are a perfect example of how important placement is when choosing the kind of highlights you want. By starting further down from the roots, her highlights accentuate her features, bringing out her eyes and cheekbones.

Natalie Portman’s contoured highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Natalie Portman with shoulder length wavy brunette hair with highlights
We love Natalie’s classic style. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Ultra-thin babylights give Natalie Portman’s shoulder-length waves a contouring effect, softening her features.

Olivia Palermo’s golden bronde

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Olivia Palermo with her bronde highlighted hair swept over one shoulder in loose waves
A lesson in highlights from the stylista herself. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Olivia Palermo always gets it right with her hair and this flowing golden brown and blonde blend is no exception.

Shay Mitchell’s dark hair with highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Shay Mitchell with dark brown hair with highlights, worn in loose curls and swept over one shoulder
We love everything about this Pretty Little Liar’s look. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Give your dark locks a touch of added dimension by adding in some highlights a few shades lighter than your natural hue.

P.S. wear them curly like Shay to really make them shine!

Jessica Biel’s beige blonde

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Jessica Biel with long curled brown hair with highlights, wearing a pastel blue dress
Jessica Biel looks great with dark and light hair. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Unsure if you should go for cool or warm highlights? Neutral tones suit the widest range of skintones and Jessica Biel’s beige blonde hue is the perfect middle ground between warm and ashy.

Tyra Banks’ golden curls

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Tyra Banks with long curly golden brown highlighted hair, wearing a gold metallic dress
Golden highlights can help make natural curls pop. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Forget what you think you know about highlights – they aren’t just for straight hair. In fact, if you’re looking to add more definition to your curls and give your overall look more dimension, there’s nothing better – just look at Tyra!

Sarah Jessica Parker’s summery waves

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Sarah Jessica Parker with long wavy bronde hair with highlights, wearing a grey shirt
SJP knows that highlights are great for adding dimension to long hair. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Having one block colour all over can make long hair look drab and weighed down, so highlights are a great remedy for this. Adding blonde and brown highlights close to your own hair colour will breathe fresh life back into your hue and add interest through your lengths.

Olivia Wilde’s highlighted bob

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Close-up of Olivia Wilde with ashy brown and blonde highlighted hair in a wavy bob
Give your bob a chic colour upgrade with blonde and brown highlights. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Short hair? Olivia Wilde is a prime example of how blonde highlights on brown hair can elevate a bob and give it a chic, fashionable edge.

Olivia Wilde’s subtle highlights

Brown hair with highlights: Olivia Wilde with subtle blonde highlights on brown hair wearing a floral dress
When does Olivia Wilde ever not nail a look? Credit: Getty Images

This makes for great inspiration if you’re feeling cautious about highlights. To nail Olivia Wilde‘s look, keep most of your locks dark, and subtly introduce blonde overlays to the strands framing the face from the brow bone downwards.

Combine this with soft, chin-length layers and it’ll help to masterfully soften any hard angles.

Lily Aldridge’s rich brunette

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Lily Aldridge with chocolate brown hair with blonde balayage, styled in a half up half down ponytail with waves
Enrich darker browns with ribbons of lighter colour. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Lily Aldridge is a brunette through and through but that’s not to say she isn’t partial to some highlights! Her warm blonde highlights add dimension to her glossy brown, making it look even more gorgeous.

Jennifer Lopez’ brown blonde

Brown hair with highlights: Jennifer Lopez with brown hair with highlights wearing a yellow dress on the red carpet
JLo brought her brown hair highlights as her plus one for the red carpet. What a pair! Credit: Getty Images

No one does highlights for brown hair better than Jenny From The Block. But seriously, the reason Jennifer Lopez‘ highlights look so natural is because there are so many subtle shade variations.

It’s worth talking to your hairdresser about balayage to achieve this hybrid brown/blonde look. Because the hair colouring technique involves painting dye on the hair freehand, it’ll allow for more subtle combinations to be worked in.

Jennifer Lopez’ ashy bob

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Jennifer Lopez with a brunette and blonde highlighted bob, wearing a red outfit
We love J-Lo’s highlighted bob. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Prefer cool tones over warm ones? We love the way J-Lo lightened up this choppy lob with ash blonde highlights for a hue that works with her complexion.

Editor’s tip: One of the hardest things about going blonde is keeping brassy tones away, so we’d recommend adding a purple shampoo to your haircare routine.

The TRESemmé Violet Blonde Shine Shampoo and Conditioner contain violet toning pigments to help neutralise any yellowness and keep your colour bright, so you can live your best blonde life!

Next read: Learn more about how purple shampoos work

Jennifer Garner’s face-framing highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Jennifer Garner with voluminous wavy brown hair with blonde highlights around her face
Face-framing highlights can make your colour look more bespoke and expensive. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Happy with your current hair colour but just looking to change it up a little? You’d be surprised how much difference a few lighter face-framing highlights can make to your overall look. Plus, they don’t take half as much time as a full head!

Caroline Flack’s bronde highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Caroline Flack with long wavy brown hair with highlights, wearing an orange dress
Cant decide between brown and blonde hair? You can have both! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Our love for bronde (brown and blonde hair) knows no bounds and Caroline Flack‘s light brown hair with blonde highlights just confirms that.

Jennifer Aniston’s lowlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Jennifer Aniston with blonde and caramel highlighted shoulder length layered hair
Highlights don’t always have to mean going lighter! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

A clever combination of light and dark hues, Jennifer Aniston has been rocking this ‘do for as long as we can remember! After all, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Ciara’s creamy blonde highlights

Brown hair with highlights: Street style photo of Ciara with long brown hair with blonde highlights wearing all black
Ciara knows the perfect hue to highlight her mane. Credit: indigitalimages.com

Ever wondered how Ciara can rock such milky coloured highlights? The trick is in maintaining her dark roots. While the flaxen highlights are worked into the strands closest to her face, instantly brightening up her skin tone, her dark roots provide depth and warmth, anchoring the overall look.

Ciara’s blonde bangs

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Ciara with brown to blonde ombre hair with light blonde bangs
Bangs can make all the difference! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Fan of fringes? A great way to liven up your bangs is by adding some accented, face-framing highlights like Ciara has here. It will give your whole look a lighter feel and really accentuate your layers.

Jenna Ushkowitz’ peekaboo highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Glee actress Jenna Ushkowitz with long curly brunette hair and peekaboo blonde highlights
Thinking of getting highlights but too nervous to bite the bullet? Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Glee star Jenna Ushkowitz’ peekaboo highlights make for great inspiration if you’re feeling cautious with your ‘do. To nail her look, keep the majority of your locks dark brown with blonde highlights subtly introduced around the face.

Emily Blunt’s soft ombre

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Emily Blunt with shoulder length soft ombre brown and blonde curled hair
Subtle ombre styles are trending. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Brown hair? Blonde highlights? Check. Check. Actress Emily Blunt has gone for a soft ombre look here, working in her blonde tones further down the hair for a subtle and classy effect.

Anyone with a classic English rose complexion should definitely follow suit, as dense highlights too close to the roots can easily wash out paler skin tones.

Beyoncé’s caramel highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Beyonce with straight brunette hair with caramel blonde highlights, with dark eyeshadow
Thought you couldn’t rock blonde with dark skin? Think again! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Queen Bey is the ultimate poster girl for working brown hair with blonde highlights on darker complexions. By opting for variations of golden-caramel shades, while retaining her natural brunette base, the different tones blend together seamlessly.

Chloë Moretz’ rootsy highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Chloe Grace Moretz with blonde shag hair with dark grungy roots
Embrace the roots! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Worried about regrowth? Maintaining blonde hair can be expensive if you’re not a natural blondie (sigh!). But just do as  Chloë Grace Moretz has done and ask your stylist to leave some of your darker, natural hue untouched at the roots.

This will make it less obvious when your natural hair starts to grow through, meaning you can leave it longer between touch-ups.

Jourdan Dunn’s blonde tips

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Close-up backstage picture of Jourdan Dunn with a light brunette a line bob with ash blonde highlights
Lightened tips are a great way to soften angular cuts. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

The British model’s mane is a perfect example of how to cleverly use ash blonde highlights to really elevate a cut. Jourdan‘s angled bob frames her oval face nicely, but it’s her use of caramel-toned tips that we’re really drawn to.

Chrissy Teigen’s sunkissed streaks

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Chrissy Teigen with wavy sunkissed blonde shoulder length hair
Who doesn’t want natural looking, sunkissed hair? Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Over the years, Chrissy Teigen‘s locks have evolved from deep, sultry mahogany to exotic, sunkissed streaks. The key to her hair success has been maintaining relatively dark roots and lifting them with brighter, sandy-hued highlights.

Hilary Duff’s ’70s balayage

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Hilary Duff with long brunette and blonde balayage hair, wearing a black blazer
Never heard of balayage? It’s time to get acquainted! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Hilary Duff has been blonde for as long as we can remember but it’s her recent balayage transformation that really caught our eye. Combining soft bardot bangs and chestnut brown roots with ash blonde highlights, this look is ticking all the right boxes.

Hayden Panettiere’s honey-blonde highlights

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Hayden Panettiere with slicked back honey blonde bob length hair
Honey blonde is universally flattering. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Come on, is there anything more luscious that a set of warming, honey-blonde highlights? Nope, we don’t think so either.

And it seems Hayden Panettiere agrees, since she has decided to add a load of depth and dimension to her locks with some subtle honey highlights.

Lauren Conrad’s trademark toffee

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Lauren Conrad with golden blonde highlighted shoulder length hair styled in glam Hollywood waves with a side parting
Toffee highlights: They look as sweet as they sound! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

This season is all about embracing ombre locks, but Lauren Conrad has already been pulling this look off for years! Sporting a soft ombre ‘do, Lauren brightens her famous locks with warm toffee tones at the top lengths of her hair, before gradually brightening the hue through her mid lengths and ends.

The end result is a natural-looking style, that works effortlessly to uplift her features!

Editor’s tip: For flawless styling, try applying a hair serum – like the TONI&GUY High Shine Serum Drops – to help add a healthy-looking sheen to your locks.

Work in 2-3 drops from mid-length to the ends of your hair (either damp or dry), to help keep your highlights looking glossy at all times.

Ashley Benson’s lived-in platinum

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson with platinum blonde lob length wavy hair
Who knew platinum could look so natural? Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Brown hair with blonde highlights is often chosen as a natural-looking style, but who says you can’t also embrace on-trend styles?

If you have a brunette base and want to rock platinum locks, then work your colour higher up and add in a few warmer blonde highlights to give it a more lived-in feel.

Georgia May Jagger’s sandy blonde

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Georgia May Jagger with sandy blonde curly hair with split Bardot bangs, wearing a black sheer lace top
Beach blonde never looked so fashionable! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

She may have a rockstar dad, but British model Georgia May Jagger is a star in her own right with this dirty blonde hue.

Great for those who are worried lighter shades won’t suit them, it’s the perfect middle ground between blonde and soft brown, so it’s an ideal gateway into blonde.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s strawberry blonde

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Rosie Huntington-Whitely with strawberry blonde highlighted shoulder length hair in soft curls, standing against a wall of pink flowers
Warm up your ‘do with a red tint. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Thanks to famous celeb redheads, strawberry blonde shades have never been so sought after. If you’re scared to commit to a bold, fiery hue, take note of Rosie Huntington-Whitely’s red-blonde highlights for a more subtle take on the trend.

Cheryl’s warm bronde

Brown hair with highlights: Cheryl Tweedy with curly warm bronde highlighted hair, wearing a pink dress
Cheryl is a pioneer for light brown hair with highlights. Credit: Getty Images

Yes, we know: Cheryl’s hair is probably more blonde that it is brown. But it’s a great example of fuller coverage honey tone highlights that don’t look streaky.

Another great thing about this look is that because she maintains her natural dark roots, it’ll be very low maintenance when it comes to regrowth.

Still pondering? Read on for more advice on finding your perfect shade of brown hair with blonde highlights, below.

Work with the seasons

Blonde highlights are perfect for exuding that summery, sunshine-filled vibe – and might just be the next best thing to spending a week lounging on a gorgeous beach. To get the best out of your highlights, aim to work with your natural colouring and the light around you.

You can afford to go a little brighter during the summer, as the warm glow of sunshine will complement your lighter tones naturally. But when it gets cooler and you start to lose that sunkissed look (sobs!) go for a more winter-appropriate hue, like ash blonde highlights.

Frame your face

Not all blonde highlights were created equal, and where you place them makes all the difference.

Keep the lightest, widest highlights around the cheekbones and jawline – to help brighten and accentuate your features – and going a touch darker and subtler at the roots and tips to add dimension. 

Brown hair with blonde highlights: Street style shot of a blonde woman with medium length hair, wearing a black leather jacket with a furry trim
The most natural colours blend highlights and lowlights. Credit: indigitalimages.com

Don’t forget to add a base

To keep your brown hair and blonde highlights are a success, add in a mix of shades for extra depth. The subtle variations in tone will make all the difference to the overall look. Add a base colour – in a shade a level or two darker than your main highlights – to promote structure and dimension.

Consider your skin tone

We often think about how blonde highlights on brown hair can work to enhance our natural hair colours, but don’t forget that it should complement your skin tone, too.

For example, if you have a paler complexion with pink undertones, variations on the ever-fashionable platinum shade should work well; while if you have yellow or more neutral undertones, golden shades can really help add warmth.

If you have medium or olive skin, and your natural base is closer to the brown end of the spectrum, go for richer honey blonde shades, mixed in with more subtle gold streaks (the balayage technique will be your go-to here) for a more exotic, natural-looking effect.