34 Best Lowlights for Brown Hair in 2019

Brown hair with highlights: the unsung hero of the color world.

In this day and age of notable excess, neon hair extensions, reality TV glam and celeb relationships that unfold on social media, there’s something completely refreshing about a trend—or anything, really—that flies under the radar. This obsession with the super obvious is precisely why elegant, and dare we say it, even restrained looks, like blunt, simple bobs and lowlights for brown hair, are having a big moment. Classics never have to go overboard to make a point.

Satisfyingly subtle and, best of all, economical AF, opting for lowlights for brown hair is definitely a quieter way to get on the color wagon. For those in the ‘biz, it’s also become a thoughtful nod to the “natural” movement slowly gaining steam, as the look can also simulate just a natural lightening or sun-bleaching of dark hair.

Visually, it’s pretty obvious: These barely-there strips of color that are just a half step or two lighter than the base make for great dimension, without looking anywhere near extra. Oh, and our most relevant takeaway: It’s certainly lazy-girl friendly and gives us longer between salon appointments, which is always great news! Read on for some of our fave looks:

1. Blown Out

blown out lowlights for brown hair
Use a fishtail comb for a more precise part. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

A pristine blowout and middle part help those subtle auburn lowlights shine.

2. Wavy Ombré

wavy ombre lowlights for brown hair
A half-updo emphasizes the two-toned detail of your look. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

Freshen up a gradiated color by mixing in some ashy lowlights on the mid-lengths.

3. Halo Frizz

halo frizz lowlights for brown hair
Barely-there lowlights offer just a touch of detail to a dark base.

Super skinny hairline lowlights, together with bedhead texture, break up a monotonous black shade.

4. Air-Dried

air-dried lowlights for brown hair
Spritz in a sea salt spray to urge in those waves.

Lazy bends go hand in hand with soft, barely noticeable lowlights around the hairline and ends. A sea salt spray, like Bed Head by TIGI Queen Beach Salt Infused Texture Spray, helps encourage a beachier dry-out.

5. Quiet Two-Tone

quiet two tone lowlights for brown hair
A blunt bang is a fierce, stylish touch. Photo credit: Dvora

Look closer and you’ll see that this cohesive shade is actually a blend of two chunks of lowlights, one lighter than the other.

6. Beachy

beachy lowlights for brown hair
A golden brown balayage is the gives depth to a medium brown hue. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

A textbook glossy light brown balayage comes into its own when worn with a messier texture.

7. Blunt

blunt lowlights for brown hair
Balance off a sharp bang with some soft toning at the ends.

Lowlights on the mid-lengths and ends keep graphic hairstyles from looking too severe.

8. Wispy

wispy lowlights on brown hair
Messy wisps go with some natural-looking lowlights. Photo credit: Dvora

Thin copper lowlights lend some interest to a simple, medium-length haircut.

9. Ribboned

ribboned lowlights on brown hair
Loose corkscrews in a rich, multitonal brown are always a winning look. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Caramel ribbons pop against a medium brown color, particularly when rendered in shiny, healthy-looking waves.

10. Rich-Girl Bends

rich girl bnends lowlights for brown hair
#wokeuplikethis! Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

The sweet shade is popular for a reason: Here, caramel and cinnamon work with some morning-after rumple to deliver some sultry sex appeal.

11. Bedhead

bedhead lowlights for brown hair
Create a diffused parting for a more relaxed vibe. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Expertly faded chestnut ends give a fiery, burnt-out effect to air-dried waves. Simulate the undone look with a texturizer like Bed Head by TIGI Joyride Texturizing Balm.

12. Sombré

sombre lowlights for brown hair
Keep your lowlights just one to two shades lighter.

Soft strips that begin mid-shaft are the one of the most natural, democratic iterations of brown hair with lowlights, and look equally flattering on straight, wavy or downright curly locks.

13. Curly Bob

curly bob lowlights on brown hair
Wear with a side part! Photo credit: Dvora

Lowlights blend a brown ombré and make a curly texture more nuanced.

14. Frosted

frosted lowlights on brown hair
Big curls emphasize the details of your highlights and lowlights.

A mix of highlights and lowlights help make your color more 3D.

15. Melted

melted lowlights for brown hair
This low-contrast look is a graceful departure from stripey dye jobs. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Lowlights that seem to melt into the rest of your color (spot the nuances at the brow and hairline) are the perfect wingman for structured waves.

16. Ashy

ashy lowlights for brown hair
Ash brown lowlights are a popular go-to for those within the cool brown family.

Want to break up your cool brown hue? Choose an ashy tone that gets progressively more intense at the ends.

17. Straight

straight lowlights for brown hair
Pull hair up if you want to conceal your lowlights; let hair loose if you want them noticed.

Top-only lowlights create a sun-streaked effect on an otherwise simple layered look.

18. Old Hollywood Waves

old hollywood waves lowlights for brown hair
Wear with a deep side part for some red carpet glam. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

There’s nothing like a good screen-siren curl to get those golden brown streaks to shine!

19. Half-Up Twists

half up twists lowlights on brown hair
We love this warm, almost retro medley of browns. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

The tag team of caramel lowlights and a pretty, festival-ready look is adult boho chic.

20. Shellacked

shellacked lowlights for brown hair
Artfully blended color has no telltale edges. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Want to know if your highlights are seamless? Wear it in a sleek, ironed look and see if you can spot the demarcations.

21. Flippy

flippy lowlights for brown hair
A small round brush helps recreate that ’70s-inspired feathering.

Feathered waves are the perfect hairstyles for lowlights on brown hair that are concentrated on the fringe area.

22. Loose Waves

loose waves lowlights for brown hair
Have your lowlights start below the chin to keep your look a bit subtle. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Hot rollers help emphasize these chin-length lowlights.

23. Staticky

staticky lowlights for brown hair
That’s haute: Deliberate frizz can be a good thing, particularly when paired an on-trend center part. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Who else will be sporting this multi-tonal brown this winter?

24. ’70s

70s lowlight for brown hair
Rosy makeup goes perfectly with this neutral-hued brown. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Hairline lowlights and a soft middle part give this look a retro touch.

25. Tousled Lob

tousled lob lowlights for brown hair
Great for second-day wearability. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Lowlights on the mid-shaft of a long bob give a flattering glow and open up your features. Tip: Keep it subtle to avoid a dip-dye effect.

26. Curled Ends

curled ends lowlights for brown hair
Curl inwards for a polished, ladies-who-lunch aesthetic. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Use a round brush to recreate the uptown polish in this hairstyle, which is emphasized by the espresso-and-khaki color combo.

27. Witchy

witchy lowlights for brown hair
Offset the reddish tones with smoldering makeup. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Is it red, or is it brown? Get a hue that straddles both and punctuate it with a folksy accessory, like a wide-brimmed hat, to tie it all together.

28. Ash Blonde

ash blonde lowlights for brown hair
Best for those with cool (or pink) undertones.

Quietly toe the line into blonde territories with an ashy shade that remains near your base.

29. Hidden Strips

hidden strips lowlights for brown hair
Tie hair up in a pony for a fun surprise.

Peek-a-boo lowlights that are most obvious at the hairline and nape areas are low-maintenance and no-fuss.

30. Layered

layered lowlights for brown hair
A classic look, well-placed lowlights lighten up a heavy base.

Make a popular haircut more unique with a unique, wide-ranging combo of lowlights.

31. Shaggy

shaggy lowlights for brown hair
Subtle color on a wash-and-wear cut? So there. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

It girls have an unfussy approach to their hair color; emulate that insouciance with light coffee lowlights against a chocolate base, paired with a shaggy haircut.

32. Long and Textured

long and textured lowlights for brown hair
Some leave-in conditioner keeps your ends from looking the worse for wear. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Keep long brown hair from looking basic by affixing some strategic honey lowlights past the chin. Tip: Apply a bit of lightweight leave-in conditioner, like Nexxus Hydra-Light Leave-in Conditioning Foam, to help keep ends moisturized.

33. Wet Lob

wet lob lowlights for brown hair
Tuck one side behind the ear for a sporty feel. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Auburn lowlights look even more luxurious in a fashionable (yet casual) wet-styled lob.

34. Tipped

tipped lowlights for brown hair
Ask your stylist to smudge or tease hair before color application for a more natural bleach.

Saturated ends look more natural when kept in the same brownish color family.