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:
Lowlights for Brown Hair
A pristine blowout and middle part help those subtle auburn lowlights shine.
2. Wavy Ombré
Freshen up a graduated color by mixing in some ashy lowlights on the mid-lengths. Make sure your color stays fresh and vibrant (and keep the brass at bay!) with a proper wash and care system, like TRESemmé Botanique Color Vibrance & Shine Shampoo and Botanique Color Vibrance & Shine Conditioner.
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.
4. Quiet Two-Tone
Look closer and you’ll see that this cohesive shade is actually a blend of two chunks of lowlights, one lighter than the other.
A textbook glossy light brown balayage comes into its own when worn with a messier texture.
Thin copper lowlights lend some interest to a simple, medium-length haircut. Enhance this subtle lowlights situation with a co-wash, like Nexxus Color Assure Long Lasting Vibrancy Cleansing Conditioner, that gently cleans hair of impurities while also imparting shine and moisture.
Caramel ribbons pop against a medium brown color, particularly when rendered in shiny, healthy-looking waves.
8. Rich-Girl Bends
The sweet shade is popular for a reason: Here, caramel and cinnamon work with some morning-after rumple to deliver some sultry sex appeal.
Expertly faded chestnut ends give a fiery, burnt-out effect to air-dried waves.
11. Curly Bob
Lowlights blend a brown ombré and make a curly texture more nuanced.
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.
13. Old Hollywood Waves
There’s nothing like a good screen-siren curl to get those golden brown streaks to shine!
14. Half-Up Twists
The tag team of caramel lowlights and a pretty, festival-ready look is adult boho chic.
Want to know if your highlights are seamless? Wear it in a sleek, ironed look and see if you can spot the demarcations.
16. Loose Waves
Hot rollers help emphasize these chin-length lowlights.
Who else will be sporting this multi-tonal brown this winter?
Hairline lowlights and a soft middle part give this look a retro touch.
19. Tousled Lob
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.
20. Curled Ends
Use a round brush to recreate the uptown polish in this hairstyle, which is emphasized by the espresso-and-khaki color combo. Give the finished look a touch of shine by misting with Bed Head by TIGI Headrush Shine Hair Spray.
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.
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.
23. Long and Textured
Keep long brown hair from looking basic by affixing some strategic honey lowlights past the chin. Add some texture with Nexxus Between Washes Beach Waves Tousled Texture Sea Salt Spray.
24. Wet Lob
Auburn lowlights look even more luxurious in a fashionable (yet casual) wet-styled lob.