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Best Highlights for Brown Hair to Add Movement and Shine

Hair Color Tutorials

Best Highlights for Brown Hair to Add Movement and Shine Best Highlights for Brown Hair to Add Movement and Shine Best Highlights for Brown Hair to Add Movement and Shine

When it comes to hair color, who says blondes are the only ones who get to have fun? Brunettes can get in on the action too—with the help of highlights that add both shine and movement. The whole point of getting highlights is to make your hair look like it’s been naturally lightened by the sun. In order to achieve this, you should stay as close to your base color as you can. This means getting highlights that are one to three shades lighter than your natural hue to get the best results. But the trick to getting amazing highlights not only lies with finding the right shade—the highlight technique you choose is important, too. Read on to find the right technique for adding highlights to your brown hair.


If you’re thinking bronde sounds like a combination of the words blonde and brown, you would be correct! But there’s a little more to this highlighting technique than that. One of the perks of opting for bronde is that it requires incredibly little maintenance—and it adds dimension to your locks. This is a great option for those who have light brown hair because it looks natural, thanks to the subtle highlights being woven into your hair, allowing more of your natural color to peek through. The highlights should be one to two shades lighter than your base color and are usually around your face and other areas that would naturally be lightened by the sun.


This technique has been gaining traction over the past couple of years. But, you might be surprised to learn that balayage was developed by French hair colorists and has actually been around since the ‘70s! It’s a freehand hair streaking technique that’s more often natural-looking than the traditional foil-and-cap hair coloring technique. Balayage is a little brighter and a little lighter than bronde and has a major emphasis on a natural progression. You’ll know if you’ve done it right when it looks like you’ve spent a lot of time in the sun and the highlights are on the pieces that see the most movement (aka the ones around your face and crown). Brunettes especially love this technique because even though you’ve colored your hair, it continues to look natural as your roots grow in. No need for root touch ups!


For highlights that are little more intense than balayage, turn your attention to this next technique. Flamboyage is a new highlighting technique that literally means “flamboyant balayage.” How it works: Your hair is gradually lightened from about halfway through your length to the tips of your hair, and you’ll have balayage highlights woven throughout. It differs from traditional balayage because the ends are a little lighter (about four shades from your root color), but it still manages to have a natural feel.


If you don’t love the look of traditional highlights, ombré highlights are always a good option. It gives your hair a ton of contrast from the root to tip and it works perfectly with brown hair. Use a darker shade to paint in roots for traditional regrowth or lighten the ends of your locks as much as your heart desires. There are so many possibilities to play around!


Lastly, there’s sombré (a.k.a. a softer ombré). This all-over lightening technique is great for those who are trying to avoid the stark contrast that ombré hair usually produces. To get sombré highlights, all you have to do is choose a hue that is a few shades lighter than your current hair color. You can go as light as you want, but you should remember to keep the transition both gradual and subtle.


Want to color your hair at home? For those of you who dare to DIY, consider trying the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach Highlights kit. Use it to either lighten all over, get amazing highlights, or create a cool ombre effect. Once you’ve chosen your look of choice, follow the provided instructions to lighten your hair where you want your highlights to be visible.

Of course, the 5 highlighting techniques mentioned here aren’t the only ones in existence. To add a new beauty term and highlight technique to your mental inventory, read our article, Is Palm Painting the New Balayage? Here’s How This Highlighting technique Works.