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Brunette hair can sometimes have a reputation for being boring, but who says that that has to be the case? Instead of totally ditching your brown hue, consider trying something that will enhance your shade instead. Whether you’re looking to add subtle dimension to your hair with balayage highlights, mix in a pop of bright color, or fake a longer-looking mane, there are plenty of fun ways to change up your brunette hair color while still keeping your brown hue. Of course, keep in mind that anytime you do lighten your hair (whether by adding highlights or going for an all-over lighter shade), you’ll need to bleach your hair—and the darker your starting color, the more sessions may be required to reach your desired end result.
Think of getting highlights as a baby step towards changing your hair color. If you’re not ready to opt for an all-over color change, consider highlights as equivalent to dipping your toes into the water before it’s time to dive in. Rather than completely change the hue of your hair, ask your colorist to add streaks of your favorite shade. Depending on your preference, the streaks can be chunky or thin, subtle or bold. For a sun-kissed look, choose a shade that’s only slightly lighter than your base color. If you’d like a little more drama, ask for baby blonde highlights.
If going lighter, even just with highlights, isn’t for you, lowlights may be a good idea. Lowlights are similar to highlights in that they add dimension to your hair color. The only difference is, with lowlights you’re darkening certain pieces of your hair. So, pick a color that’s darker by two shades or more to help spice up your brunette hair. For a simple switch, add darker brown pieces throughout your mane. If you’re looking to incorporate another color, try deep red lowlights for a striking color combo.
What’s brunette and blonde all over? If you want to add a touch of blonde to your tresses, it’s time to get familiar with balayage. This hair color trend continues to remain super-popular—and we aren’t mad about it. To get the look, keep your brown color on top and only lighten the ends of your hair—you’ll get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Plus, since the color is concentrated at the ends of your hair, there won’t be a harsh line of demarcation when your roots start to grow in. That means you won’t have to worry about frequent touch-ups! (Check out our guide to balayage.)
Lightening your locks doesn’t have to mean going platinum—or even blonde. Give lighter hair a shot and only lift your color a little. A light or medium-toned brown could offer be just different enough from your current color, plus it could be a nice way to add a sunny effect to your hair come summer.
For a sultry switch-up, choose a color that’s darker than your current hue. A deep brunette allows you to maintain your brown mane while still experiencing something different. No matter your skin tone, going darker can make for an eye-catching change. Look for cool-toned colors if you lean warm and warm-toned shades if your skin looks cool.
If you’ve been contemplating DIYing your way to a new hair color, try the dip dye trend, as you can keep your brunette base, while adding a fun color to the bottom of your strands. To get the look at home, pick up the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color, which offers four shades (teal, burgundy, red, and tangerine) created specifically for brunettes that don’t require bleaching. Just follow the directions on the packaging, applying the dye only where you want to change up your color. (Learn how to get a trendy tangerine hair color.)
Getting a dye job isn’t the only way to change up how your brown hair looks—a fresh cut can also transform your brunette mane. If you’re ready for a major change, give a closely cropped pixie a chance. If you prefer a little more length, try a lob for your new style.
If you’re not comfortable trying a new color or making a major chop, consider extending the length of your hair instead. Extensions can add the look of length and volume to make over your mane. Ask your stylist for strands slightly longer than your natural hair to help create the look of added thickness, or mix in super-long extensions for a dramatic change that helps enhance your brown shade.