Brunette Hair

Crystal Schwanke
brunette hair styles
Beautiful Brunette Hair Pictures

Blondes may have more fun and redheads may be sassy, but brunette hair can be a seductive and sultry hair color because of its tremendous variety. With shades named chocolate, cinnamon, caramel, cocoa, nutmeg, brown sugar, and other sweet variations, there is a beautiful brown shade of hair suitable for every taste.

Brunette Hair Shades

The term "brunette" actually covers a staggering range of shades, from the indeterminate dark brown/blondes to the deepest black colors. In general usage, however, the term refers to most moderate to dark shades of brown, most frequently for women (men with brown hair are usually just referred to as dark-haired). The term itself comes from the French word "brun" - directly translated as brown, though often used as "brunet" as a nickname for someone with brown hair.

Brightening Brown

  • Natural Lightening: Most brown shades will lighten naturally with exposure to sunlight, and they will develop red and blonde tints depending on each individual's genetic makeup. To create natural highlights in unique patterns (and ensuring that more than the top layer of hair is lightened), wear braids or ponytails to expose different strands.
  • Highlights and Lowlights: There are some highlighting kits you can buy at the drugstore meant for brown hair. These will work best on undyed brown hair; hair that's been dyed dark brown may have trouble lifting and result in a coppery tone. Brown hair tends to go red and then gold before turning blonde, and if your hair is very dark, the drugstore kits may not lift your color enough. Be sure to try a test strand before dedicating the time it takes to pull strands through the cap and bleach certain strands. You may find that you need to go to a salon in order to get the perfect caramel or buttery blonde streaks in your hair. If you do want to try highlights at home, Revlon Frost & Glow and L'Oreal Frost & Design are two lines that include highlighting kits for darker hair. Be sure you don't pick up a kit designed for blondes. If you want to do highlights or lowlights at home and you're pretty confident in your hair coloring skills, you can choose the cap method that's common in drugstore kits or visit a beauty supply store for a brush and skip the cap completely. Just paint them on where you want them.
  • Lowlights: For lowlights, you could paint on streaks with a darker dye or opt for a special package in a salon that includes highlights and lowlights for extra dimension. Depending on the salon, it may not cost much more than highlights alone.

Brown-Dyed Hair

Individuals who do not have naturally dark hair can easily find shades to complement their skin tone, and the key is to look for a good contrast. Very pale skin may seem even more washed out next to a light brown style, but a richer, darker brown will appear more vibrant. Because all dyes eventually fade, it is important to use hair products specially formulated to preserve the color as long as possible. These color-care products should be used as soon as the hair is colored, and some designer brands even include small amounts of dye in the shampoo or conditioner to prolong the color.

Caring for Brown Hair

woman with shiny dark hair

The biggest concern when caring for brunette hair is keeping it vibrant and healthy. Brown hair by its very nature can appear duller than other hues, and products that boost hair's natural shine will help keep a vibrant glow to any brown shade. Drinking plenty of water and using regular hair moisturizers will also preserve the shine, and UV sun protectants are necessary, particularly if using the sun as a natural brightener.

Dyed Brown Hair

If your hair is dyed brown, try to skip a day between washes. The more you wash, the more the color will fade. It doesn't come out as quickly as red, but brown color can become dull with frequent washings. Don't use hot water; use lukewarm instead. Use a moisturizing shampoo if your hair feels dry, or just one for color-treated hair. L'Oreal Vive Shampoo for Color Treated hair, which is available in Regular and Dry formulations, is one example. Condition every time. Stay away from clarifying shampoos, which can strip the color from your hair.

Natural Brown Hair

Shine products are mostly all you'll need unless you're aiming for a specific style that requires more hold. Try S-Factor Shiny Happy People or Garnier Fructis Style Brilliantine Shine Glossing Spray. Use shampoos and conditioners designed for your hair type, not a specific color. If you feel that your hair is looking less vibrant lately, you can try a color enhancing shampoo like JASON All Natural Color Enhancing Temporary Shampoos.

Celebrities with Brunette Hair

Catherine Zeta Jones

While blondes and redheads may be more memorable, Hollywood has seen hundreds of delectable dark-haired divas, including:

  • Actresses Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alyssa Milano, and Elizabeth Taylor
  • Country singer Shania Twain
  • Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria
  • Model Carmen Electra

Many additional celebrities have opted for brown locks at different points in their careers, including Madonna, Britney Spears, and Ashley Olsen.

Brown Hair Deserves More Credit

Brunette hair is one of the most popular colors, and with proper care it can be one of the most stunning as well. Rather than being insulted or turned off by related terms like "dirty" or "mousy" when it comes to describing the available shades, remember that brown hair can be vibrant, sultry, and sensational with different highlights, accessories, and styles. With such versatility, there is a rich brown shade suitable for everyone.

Brunette Hair