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Shades of brown hair

Dyed auburn hair
Brown hair can be just as diverse as other more vibrant colours like blonde and red. There are many shades of brown hair available and there is always going to be at least one that suits your complexion and other features. There are even bold vibrant fashion shades if you want a colour that is unique and somewhat different to the usual brown colour.

The many shades of brown hair

Brown hair shades can vary across both tonal families. This means that you can choose from shades that are either cool or warm. Cool shades are better suited to cool features and can include ash and pearl browns, as well as violets and neutral colours.

Warm shades, on the other hand, are best suited to a warm skin tone and vary from beige browns, to honey, golden, and copper colours. The different shades available include:
  • Ash brown
  • Natural ash brown (Pearl)
  • Natural brown (Neutral)
  • Beige brown
  • Golden brown
  • Honey brown
  • Copper brown
  • Burgundy
  • Violet and violet brown
Dyed auburn hair

Matching brown hair to your features

Whether your features are cool or warm depends on what tones are present in them. With your skin tone, cool tones like blue and violet give a pinkish appearance. Gold or peach tones in warmer skin can give a complexion that is golden or olive. Blue and green eyes are both cool colours, whilst hazel, or brown eyes are warm.

One of the easiest ways to get an idea of whether your features are cool or warm is to look at the inside of your wrist. A cool complexion will look pinkish and this is visible from the veins of your wrist looking more of a blue colour. A warmer complexion comes from gold tones which blend with the colour of your veins to make them look green.

Cool shades

Dyed auburn hair
Shades in the cool tonal family are based on blue or violet tones. This gives them a neutral to silvery appearance that can look sleek and match cooler features like a pinkish skin tone and blue or green eyes.

Ash brown is the coolest shade available, and this colour tends to look greyish brown to slightly silvery depending on how light the brown colour is. The colour works well on anyone who has lighter skin and a cool complexion and eyes, but it can also look a bit dull and boring in many cases.

A natural shade is on the cool side of neutral and is a much softer cool tone than ash. This colour can sometimes even suit people with a slightly warm skin tone who can't pull off stronger colours like ash.

A natural ash, also known as a pearl or iridescent shade, is the best of both worlds. Cooler than a natural, but warmer than a full ash. This gives it more complexity than ash brown hair and can help deal with the dullness issue and prevent your colour from looking boring.

Warm shades

Dyed auburn hair
Warm shades of brown hair offer much more complexity than their cooler counterparts because the tones used can be either subtle or intense. Golden or copper browns can be predominately natural brown with a touch of warm tone, or they can be intensely toned. This gives you a lot of flexibility to create your own unique colour.

Beige tones are the middle ground between a natural and gold tone, whereas honey colours are a blend between gold and copper. This ease of blending makes these kind of colours more diverse. Even small amounts of red can be incorporated in the form of auburn shades to create even more warm shades.

Fashion shades

Like with blonde or red hair, fashion shades also exist for brown hair. These shades are bright, intense, or have an unnatural appearance. They can be anything from a bright violet brown to a richer burgundy, an intense gold, or a rich copper.

These shades can either be cool or warm and it is important to match them to your features if you want the colour to look its best and not clash with your own appearance. Unlike shades that are more subtle, they also require much more upkeep as fading is a significant issue.

Dyed auburn hair
This maintenance needs to be factored into your decision when choosing a colour as a shade that requires toning and other upkeep will require you to buy more product for maintenance, as well as use up more of your time.

More information:
  • Red hair shades - Discover the different shades of red, and how to match these colours to your complexion and eyes...
  • Blonde hair shades - Love blonde hair? Find out how to choose the correct shade and get the best colour...
  • Hair colour levels - A level in hair colour refers to how dark the colour is. Discover how to read and use levels to choose the right dyes every time...

Have a question about shades of brown hair, or need help choosing a colour or matching your colour to your features? Leave a comment for tailored advice...

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