Color Ideas: 6 Natural Looking Highlights for Dark Brown Hair

Six hues for you to choose. 

Ever since the thick chunky highlights of the early ’90s went from fashionable to cringe worthy, we’ve been aiming for natural looking highlights when we want to lighten up our hair. You know, highlights that say maybe she went to the salon, maybe she went to the beach? However, as you probably know, obtaining natural looking highlights on dark brown hair can be a little tricky. It’s all about the right tones and contrasts that pair with your natural brown hair. Ready to lighten up? Read on to check out six different and inspiring natural looking highlights for your brown hair.

Natural Looking Highlights For Dark Hair

natural looking highlights caramel in brown hair

Caramel and milk chocolate, what could be better?

1. Caramel Highlights

Caramel highlights on light to dark brown hair are a classic hue for a reason! The sweetly warm tones are super flattering that can add both depth and dimension to your face. Work with a colorist who can help you decide on the perfect gradient and placement between your natural hair and highlights. Bonus: this will also give you the most realistic color job!

light brown natural looking highlights
Don’t do blonde highlights, do dirty blonde instead.

2. Dirty Blonde Highlights

For a super natural look on lighter brown hair, try dirty blonde highlights. We love this subtle color change that’ll add ton of dimension to your hair as well as lightening up your color. Because this isn’t one of those classically beachy shades, it looks good all year long! Keep in mind that lightening your hair to any shade your hair may be a bit more dry, especially on the ends. Keep your hair nice and soft by using the TRESemmé Botanique Damage Recovery Oil Elixir every time you style.

warm brown natural looking highlights
A little bit of berry never hurt anyone.

3. Dark Berry Highlights

Adding in ever so slightly purple highlights is a really fun way to experiment with color, without straying too far from your comfort zone. You may not even need to lighten your hair to achieve it, depending on how deep your natural hair color.

natural looking highlights ombre
The biggest trends of the last few years, natural looking highlights and ombre.

4. Ombre + Highlights

Do double duty with your hair color by going for both ombre and highlights at the same time. Similar to the effect of balayage, having highlights plus ombre hair gives you an overall sun-kissed/beachy look. Just ask your hair colorist for highlights all over, plus to do an ombre dye on the ends of your hair. Perfect for some lightening up this winter!

natural looking highlights ashy brown
Ashy highlights are a grand plan on light brown hair. Photo credit:

5. Ashy Taupe Highlights

For the polar opposite of caramel highlights, try out an ashy taupe color. This shade is so cool toned so you need to be extra careful to fend of brassy (orange) tones. Use a purple shampoo, or a mask like the Catwalk By TIGI Fashionista Violet Mask at least once a week. Purple tones help to cancel out the orange tones that can happen when you lighten brown hair. Keep up with it and you (and your hair) will be super cool.

natural looking highlights in brown curly hair
How gorgeous is this ginger + brown combination?

6. Ginger Highlights

We’re kind of obsessed with how cool these ginger highlights look on dark brown hair. Try out this combination especially if you have a warm skin tone, it’s super pretty! Make sure you keep the ginger tones on the darker side, though. Taking the highlights too light can end up just looking like really brassy highlights.

Need more natural looking highlights to inspire you? Check out the balayage technique

Sign up to our newsletter and get exclusive hair care tips and tricks from the experts at All Things Hair.


All Things Hair on Instagram