26 Ways to Wear Caramel Highlights on Different Hair Textures

Flirting with getting caramel hair color? We show our fave versions of this warm, sexy look on different hair textures.

Caramel highlights are by far one of the most popular colors to come out of the scene in the last few seasons, and with good reason. Warm and rich without being too overwhelming, caramel hair color is fairly democratic, flattering a ton of complexions across the board, particularly those with yellow undertones.

If you’re on the market for this fan-favorite shade, look no further: We put together a list of all the possible variations and ways caramel hair color can look on different hair textures.

Caramel Highlight for Straight Hair

Blend, blend, blend! If you typically wear your hair straight, then it’s imperative you get highlights that are expertly smudged or massaged into your natural shade (some stylists actually tease hair while highlighting to avoid a harsh “line”). A subtle foil technique or, better yet, some artfully done balayage helps nail that warm, natural sun-streaked look of brown hair with caramel highlights without any jarring demarcations.

1. Full Color

full color caramel highlights
Caramel-brown hair is a sweet, bright shade as a single-process color as well. Photo credit: Dvora

In the event that you’re truly in love with the sweet appeal of caramel hair (or have the warmth in your skin tone to rein it in), consider a full head of caramel hair. This all-over color beautifully complements olive skin tones and complexions.

2. Blunt Bangs

blunt bangs caramel highlights
Subtle and well-blended highlights enliven a regular medium brown bang. Photo credit: Dvora

Wear your caramel highlights on the fringe area and around the hairline for a face-framing glow. Maintain your vibrant color with a weekly mask-like Nexxus Color Assure Lasting Vibrancy Deep Moisture Mask; your hair will be fresh and soft like virgin hair.

3. Blunt Bob

blunt bob caramel highlights
Tuck hair behind the ears for a grungier take. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Are you not ready to go all in with a super obvious color job? Consider adding a few subtle streaks on the underside of your hair for an unexpected surprise pop of color. This caramel blend is universally flattering on a range of skin tones.

4. Ironed

ironed caramel highlights
The test of expert blending: flat ironing your locks. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

For straight dark brown hair with caramel highlights, it’s better to keep the strips skinnier. Sections that are one to two shades lighter keep the look from being too streaky. Talk to your stylist about cutting layers into your haircut too!

5. Sombré + Balayage

Brown hair color is twice as sexy with a great balayage.

A sombré (“subtle ombré”) combined with some lighter balayage on the mid-lengths gives a smudgy, molten effect. This highlighting technique requires a trained expert to recreate, so it’s best to get a recommendation for a colorist from someone you trust!

6. Stick Straight

caramel highlights straight bob
Stick straight strands to show off your color.

Enhance your bold look by adding subtle highlights that accentuate the sleekness of your stick-straight strands. This edgy bob is a shoulder-brushing length — long enough to do some intricate updos and short enough to make a statement!


Caramel Highlights for Wavy Hair

Perhaps the easiest way to wear caramel highlights, wavy textures have the benefit of making the changes in your hair color look just naturally sunlit.

To keep your locks from frizzing, a cut with not-too-crazy layers—plus the help of great oil, like The Good Stuff Frizz Control Oil, helps keep flyaways away and puts the spotlight on your luscious caramel color hair instead.

7. Air-Dried

air dried caramel highlights
That tousled effect, tho! Photo credit: Dvora

Loose waves incur a bit of second-day sex appeal when left to dry on their own. Skip out on the styling products and hot tools and let your hair follow its natural pattern by letting it air dry.

8. Rich-Girl Bends

rich girl bends
Bedhead never looked so sexy. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Rich caramel highlights give this morning-after wave just the right touch of presence. Soft enough to convince people that it might just be natural but strong enough to make it noticeable, these caramel highlights are a great universal option.

9. Fringe Roll

fringe roll caramel highlights
Twist your fringe upwards and secure it at the seam with a pin. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Are you feeling a bit retro? A tinge of a highlight is just the right touch of rockabilly to a victory roll. Your caramel highlights will shine beautifully in a style like this one that shows them off! Any hairstyle that uses twists to add dimension will draw extra attention to your color.

10. Wavy Balayage

wavy balayage caramel highlights
This look is perfect for day to night. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Polished yet effortless, a.k.a. how we wish we all looked on the weekends. This caramel-wavy style blends ribbons of lighter blonde with medium brown for a super cohesive look. We especially love this style when worn with a middle part!

11. Loose Waves

loose waves caramel highlights
A few spritzes of texturizing spray help urge some relaxed bends in.

Recreate a set of relaxed, airy waves by prepping hair with a finishing spray, such as Nexxus Maxximum Finishing Mist, before air-drying. This is the perfect look for making every day look like a relaxed beach day.

12. Subtle Sombré

subtle sombré caramel highlights
A middle part keeps your look relaxed. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Ends that are one to two levels lighter than the base have a more natural effect. In this case, opt for a more muted caramel shade. This gentle lift just at the ends of your hair offers a subtle and tasteful take on this trend.

13. Wavy Lob

wavy lob caramel highlights
Keep any layers longer than the jawline for a fuller feel. Photo credit: Dvora

Wispy, delicate foil highlights definitely offer a super pretty contrast on darker hair. We love these thin ribbons of color and how they pop against the backdrop of a darker base color.

14. Soft Waves

caramel highlights wavy
Subtle waves are the way to go.

Use a large-barreled curling iron to add a soft bend to your hair for the easiest waves you’ve ever created. This subtle style adds some dimension to your look without seeming overdone.

15. Air-Dry

caramel highlights subtle waves
Air dry and go!

It doesn’t get easier than an air-dry hairstyle. Simply wash your hair and go for the simplest style of the season. If your curtain bangs need some wrangling, grab a flat iron and gently style them.

Caramel Highlights for Curly Hair

Getting medium brown highlights is a clever way to freshen up curly hair without resorting to a cut or full color. Not only does it enhance your ringlets and give them some definition and dimension, but it also appears natural while not sacrificing style.

A gel serum, like Suave Professionals Define & Shine Serum Gel, helps keep your curls in check while providing a nourished gleam.

16. Afro

caramel hair afro
The smudgy root keeps it low maintenance.

Like a bright ray of sunshine, only sultrier! This beautiful blend of light caramel highlights draws even more attention to the unique curl pattern. A layered haircut is the key to pulling off this look and wearing the hairstyle rather than having the hairstyle wear you!

17. Curly Lob

curly lob caramel highlights
A burnt-sienna version complements a bronzy glow. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

A black base graduates into rusty ends for an overall on-trend look. Tap into the classic ombré hair color pattern and include a touch of caramel on the ends to recreate this look. To add some dimension to this color, wear it with curls!

18. Curly Ombré

caramel hair curly ombre
Equally stunning, whether left down or tied up.

Starting your curls right where your ombré begins is a great way to keep your hairstyle looking cohesive. Creating a wave pattern right where one color ends and the other begins will draw even more attention to your fresh color.

19. Disco Curls

disco curls caramel highlights
A deep side part adds to the sex appeal. Photo credit: Indigiltalimages.com

Burn, baby, burn! An expertly blended caramel ombré breathes new life into these side-swept 1970s crimps. This style is all about the volume in the curls and letting your hair’s body and texture speak for itself!

20. Natural

natural caramel highlights
We love this crisp, fashionable take on caramel hair color. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Long, natural ringlets achieve more dimension with a few other lighter streaks blended in. This color pattern is special because of how it blends a range of colors into one cohesive style.

21. Natural Two-Toned

natural two-toned caramel highlights
A quieter caramel mixes in more seamlessly with a black base. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

By the same token, an edgy two-toned effect can also lighten a look without going too far. Subtle yet impactful, this super edgy style adds an element of fun to an otherwise simple look.

22. Side Curls

side curls caramel highlights
Side-swept curls are a fun work look.

Some tight, proper corkscrews achieve some good-girl polish when swept off to one side. Notice how the caramel highlights begin right at the roots of the hairstyle and extend into the rest of the hair!

23. Natural and Subtle

natural and subtle caramel highlights
Gives you a wee bit more time between touchups!

Soft, natural curls gain some subtle brightening with a lovely set of caramel highlights. This is a great way to add some dimension to an otherwise classic style without doing too much damage to your curls.

24. Top Knot

top knot caramel highlights
A trendy hairstyle to top off an equally head-turning shade.

Gather your freshly dyed strands up into a top knot, and watch as your highlighted hair gets a fun, punky dip-dyed effect. This hairstyle is one that will always be on trend for how easy it is to create!

25. Super Curly

caramel highlights super curly
Embrace those curls and that fresh color.

Embrace your curls and infuse them with a fresh dose of color. These caramel highlights will draw even more attention to your curls for a super fun and trendy hairstyle. The perfect sun-kissed look for the summer season!

26. Wash and Gocaramel highlights wash and go

It doesn’t get easier than this: simply wash and go! Wash-and-go styles are known for how easy they are to create and how well they show off your curls. These perfectly blended caramel highlights take these curls to another level.

Are you thinking about getting caramel highlights? Be sure to snap a picture and tag us @AllThingsHairUS!


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