Subtle Highlights for Dark Brown Hair

Cool girl hair vibes (the subtle edition).

Whether you are embracing ever-popular ombré locks or updating your Pinterest boards with something a little more understated, it seems like everyone is going for some kind of hair color change lately. All of these killer looks have something in common: not only are they often a big initial commitment in terms of time and finances, the upkeep can often be a drag, too. Subtle highlights for dark brown hair, on the other hand, will feed your thirst for change without breaking the bank… or the ends of your locks. 

Minimal bleaching, minimal time spent in the salon chair and basically a one-stop hair transformation, these subtle highlights are just the hair upgrade you need as you think about a new look. Read more to learn how you can achieve this look on your dark brown hair:

subtle highlights on dark brown hair
Go for subtle highlights that frame your face as a low-commitment option.

1. These caramel ends will mean #twinning with your favorite fall latte.

The secret to subtle highlights is remaining close enough to your natural hair color for just a little bit of added dimension and playfulness. These tasteful caramel colored strands are especially vibrant in the sunlight. For extra shine and a touch of gloss, try Suave Professionals Sleek Anti-Frizz Smooth & Shine Cream.

Subtle highlights for dark brown hair
Subtle highlights in a braided bun. We love! Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

2. Extra dark to extra light, when you just can’t choose.

There’s something undeniably classic about rich brunette hair and the depth of untouched dark roots. The contrast of lighter brown hair that transitions into super pale ends preserves the natural color. Plus, it’s still fun!

Subtle highlights for dark brown hair
Subtle highlights that ‘kiss’ the bottom of your hair. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

3. Try ombré ends until your next trim.

Were you looking for subtle highlights because you’re not sure you can commit to all-over color? That Instagram-worthy ombré fade from dark to light is in order. Keeping it to the bottom two to three inches of your hair means that the color is gone with your next trim. Intent on keeping your length for as long as you can? Wash and condition with Suave Professionals Damage Resist Shampoo and Conditioner, to help hair become stronger and healthier after just three uses.

Subtle highlights for dark brown hair
Balayage hair is awesome way to change up your hair. Photo credit: Dvora

4. Try out the queen of subtle highlights, a.k.a: balayage hair.

For that boost of color confidence visible out of the corner of your own eye, try full-on balayage. An instant glow and the perfect complement to your leftover summer tan, this option brings you out of the ‘dark brunette’ camp without forcing you to change your emoji keyboard settings to blonde. #Priorities

subtle highlights
Keep the color toward the front.

5. Focus the color toward the front of your face.

Keep subtle highlights extra subtle by only focusing them toward the front of your face. This will make your style look more natural and sun-kissed. It’s extremely low commitment and does a great job of framing your face.