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How to Add Highlights to Dark Brown Hair

Hair Color Ideas

How to Add Highlights to Dark Brown Hair How to Add Highlights to Dark Brown Hair How to Add Highlights to Dark Brown Hair

Looking for a way to give your dark brown hair some added shine and dimension? Then it’s time to turn your attention to highlights. Highlights can help your hair look like it’s been naturally lightened by the sun—and it turns out they aren’t just reserved for those with blonde hair. Brunettes can get in on the fun, too! With the right highlights, you’ll never have to be worried that your dark brown hair looks boring. If you’re ready to make a change to your hair color, we have you covered. Below we’re sharing our favorite highlighting techniques for dark brown hair, plus, a simple hair care routine for highlighted hair.


Chances are, there are more highlighting techniques than you’ve ever realized. If you want to lighten up your dark brown hair, there’s more than one route you can take. Here are our favorite highlighting techniques for dark brown hair. Keep in mind that highlighting requires bleaching—and the darker your starting shade, the more work it will require to achieve your desired level of highlight.

Ombré: If you want to incorporate a tinge of gold or blonde into your hair, opt for ombré highlights. Ombré highlights look amazing on brunettes. Why? Well, ombré highlights can give your hair a ton of contrast from root to tip. What’s more, you can choose from a variety of colors. If you want to experiment with a color other than blonde, you can get ombré highlights in pink, blue, teal, or virtually any color of the rainbow. The opportunities are endless! Ombré highlights are popular because they are super-low maintenance and easy to take care of since you’re not dyeing your roots. If you’re starting with a dark base color (like dark brown), it’s often best to visit a professional colorist to lighten your hair. However, it is possible to get the ombré highlights at home. Try the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach Ombré to lighten your hair, then add a pop of color with the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color.

Sombré: Is ombré a little too bold for your tastes? Then opt for a softer choice. We’re talking about sombré highlights. Sombré is an all-over lightening technique that is great for those who aren’t looking for their highlights to produce the stark contrast that ombré provides. To get these highlights, start by choosing a shade that is a few shades lighter than your current hair color. You can choose how light you want to go, but remember: The transition should be gradual.

Bronde: Bronde highlights are combination of blonde and brown. Like the two former mentioned highlights, bronde requires very little maintenance (lazy girls, rejoice!). Bronde highlights can add texture to your natural brown hue because they are woven into your hair. For bronde highlights, stick to just one or two shades lighter than your regular hair color. Your colorist will place them around your face and other areas that would be naturally lightened by the sun to give you a natural look.

Balayage: Developed by French hair colorists in the ‘70s, balayage has slowly gained popularity over the decades. Balayage highlights are created with a freehand streaking technique. Balayage is a little lighter than bronde, and it focuses on a more natural progression compared to other highlighting techniques. Again, these highlights are supposed to make your hair look like it’s been basking in the sunlight for hours. Balayage highlights are also chunkier than bronde highlights and grow out naturally. As for the color variation, the highlights should differ up to two or three shades from your root to the tip.

Flamboyage: Want to take balayage highlights up a notch? Then flamboyage highlights are for you! Flamboyage literally means flamboyant balayage, and with these highlights your hair is gradually lightened from about halfway through your length to the tips of your hair. They differ from balayage highlights because the ends are lighter by about four shades from your roots. Again, the progression of these highlights is very natural.


Colored your hair? It’s time to switch up your hair care routine to help keep your color looking gorgeous! Consult the following tips for taking care of color-treated hair.

1. Use a system of shampoo and conditioner for colored hair. Swap out your regular shampoo and conditioner for ones that are formulated for color-treated hair. Reach for the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Intensive Protecting Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Intensive Protecting Conditioner the next time you’re in the shower.

2. Mask, mask, mask. Once or twice a week, use a hair mask for color-treated hair in place of the above conditioner. Try the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Repair and Protect Balm. After washing with the above shampoo, slather on the hair mask and leave it on for 3-5 minutes, then rinse.

3. Show off your natural texture. Highlights on dark brown hair look amazing with a little wave or curl to them. So, instead of blow-drying your strands straight, air dry them instead. When your hair is wet, spritz on the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray and you’re good to go.

Just in case you’re hooked on lighter hair after getting highlights, let us point you in the direction of our article on How to Go From Brown Hair to Blonde Hair.