For us brunettes, one fun and easy way to spice up your hair color is to apply nice red highlights on brown hair. It looks fabulously great, it’s much easier to do as compared to going blonde, and it’s also kinder on your natural hair.
There are even many different ways you can go about it, depending on how much red (and what shade) you prefer. You can go for a natural looking appearance or a more shocking contrast- the options are endless.
Read also related articles: Partial vs full highlights, balayage vs highlights, best purple hair dye, baddie hairstyles, and best red hair dye.
To give you an idea, here’s a list of the best red highlights on brown hair styles and inspirations you can choose from:
- Top styles for brown hair with red highlights
- 1. Brown hair with subtle red highlights
- 2. Medium brown hair with copper highlights
- 3. Medium brown hair with light copper highlights
- 4. Rich dark hair (L3) with deep red highlights
- 5. Dark brown hair with bright red highlights
- 6. Dark brown hair with copper highlights
- 7. Dark brown hair with mahogany highlights
- 8. Dark brown hair with deep auburn highlights
- 9. Dark brown hair with pinkish red highlights
- 10. Dark brown to red ombre
- More fun red highlight trends you can try
- Other red hair color brands you can buy
- How to take care of brown hair with red highlights
Top styles for brown hair with red highlights
If you want to give your natural (or colored) brown hair a richer and more eye popping look, red highlights are often the way to go. Different brown and red shades go so perfectly with each other, such as copper, burgundy, auburn, chestnut, cherry, mahogany, and so on.
Below are the top timeless picks for red highlights on brown hair:
1. Brown hair with subtle red highlights
Spicing things up and going for a whole new look doesn’t have to require a drastic change. You can easily enjoy a trendy hair color and still look natural. In fact, if you work in a corporate setting, this is most likely the farthest you can take things in terms of hair coloring.
We are talking about subtle red highlights on natural and unbleached brown hair. It gives your hair more texture and movement while still being low-key. You can even style it and add more dimension.
2. Medium brown hair with copper highlights
Another natural look you can opt for is a copper tone on medium brown hair, giving you a sort of auburn appearance, but with more dimension and texture. With this one, you can enjoy natural roots and pretty highlights that are easy to grow out.
We highly recommend using the L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Permanent Hair Color- Intense Red Copper to achieve this style, which is done by mixing and melting tiny highlights into your brown roots to make things as seamlessly looking as possible. For the best results, focus on brightening the hair strands around your face for a nice framing.
3. Medium brown hair with light copper highlights
Quite similar to the look above, but with a lighter medium brown or auburn hair, is this one with light copper highlights that give you a wonderful tiger eye appearance with a flawless mixture of caramel, honey, and copper.
To achieve this look, blend the L’Oreal Paris Couleur Experte Hair Color & Highlights Kit- Chocolate Mousse to your darker and warmer brown hair color, so it looks rich yet natural. That said, it’s better if you have your hair done by a professional since this style is quite difficult to pull off successfully.
4. Rich dark hair (L3) with deep red highlights
If you have a particularly dark level 3 hair, you can opt to add more dimension and make it look richer by applying deep red highlights, such as with the Manic Panic Rock N Roll Hair Dye – Classic High Voltage.
It will give you a nice blend of copper tones and darker red shades for more texture and a naturally rounded up color. The end result is a somewhat muted and natural yet richer and overall nicer appearance, all without requiring zero bleaching and lightening.
5. Dark brown hair with bright red highlights
For those of us with darker brown hair that almost looks black, one of the best ways we can spice up our look is by going all out with bright red highlights, since it creates a lot of texture, contrast, and even gloss.
It does require prior lightening so that the color pops out. A great semi-permanent color and lightener you can use is Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color- Vibrant Red, which lasts for a fairly long time and fades into a nice blonde. It’s also relatively low maintenance, and grows gracefully.
6. Dark brown hair with copper highlights
If what you want is a warmer and more brownish red, you can do copper highlights on your dark brown hair to achieve that luxurious look that appears like melted chocolate. It’s really natural looking and somewhat makes your hair look sunkissed, but surprisingly, it’s one of the most difficult looks to achieve.
As such, it’s best to hire a professional stylist to create this look for you, so that the highlights can be blended seamlessly with your base color, and that no harsh lines are visible. The stylist will also help you decide where to best apply the highlights for the most natural look.
7. Dark brown hair with mahogany highlights
Nothing looks more beautiful than natural looking hair that seems as if it’s always lit by the sunlight at just the right angle, and the way to achieve that is with strategically applied mahogany highlights.
It’s especially perfect for those with curly and wavy hair, although you can still very much pull it off if you have straight hair. Streaks of mahogany in all the right places will definitely make your appearance more fresh and fun.
8. Dark brown hair with deep auburn highlights
Going back to subtle yet invigorating and mesmerizing hair colors, we also highly recommend pulling off dark brown hair with deep auburn highlights. It looks rich and natural, it’s easy to pull off, it requires little maintenance, and it doesn’t necessitate too much commitment, since you don’t need to apply too much lightening and bleach.
Just ask your hairstylist to apply the L’Oreal Paris Feria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color- Cherry Crush on your hair strands to create lighter sections, especially towards to hair ends, for a natural highlight and contour. To keep things looking fabulous for longer, you can also apply a glossing treatment after a few weeks.
9. Dark brown hair with pinkish red highlights
If you really want to get into the trend, as well as look younger and more fun, pinkish red highlights are the way to go. Sure, you’ll need to do some bleaching, but the breathtaking results are more than worth the hassle.
The Arctic Fox Vegan and Cruelty-Free Semi-Permanent Hair Color Dye- Poison, for one thing, gives you really amazing results with glamorous red highlights that frame your face and draw attention to all your best features, all while adding more volume and dimension to your hair.
10. Dark brown to red ombre
Another hair trend that’s really popular these days is going ombre. Now, you may think that it’s generally reserved for blonde hair, but you can also get a show stopping ombre with brown hair, especially by using cherry red hair color.
It looks particularly amazing on natural dark brown hair, and gives you that eye popping appearance, while still being easy to achieve and maintain. You can even do this yourself in the comforts of your home with the Frankel & Frankel Splat Rebellious Colors Hair Coloring- Fire Ombre. You should get a shiny, natural contrast that you can show off anywhere.
More fun red highlight trends you can try
If you really want to go all out and let your hair scream fun and adventure, there are lots of other wonderful trends on red highlights you can try, such as the ones below:
1. Brunette with rose red highlights
If you thought that only blondes can enjoy the dreamy look of rose gold and red highlights, we are more than happy to inform you that you are wrong. Yes, brunettes can also pull off this Instagram worthy look!
2. Cherry top style
One of the most drastic (and visually rewarding) things you can do with your hair is to straight up pour the red dye on the top of your hair rather than the bottom, so it pops out more and makes you easily stand out from the crowd- in a nice way, of course. This trend works especially great for those with short hair, although it does require more maintenance.
3. Chocolate brown hair with burgundy highlights
Adding a more playful edge to your otherwise bland dark hair is easy with the use of the right burgundy red highlights. Yes- burgundy and dark chocolate do in fact go well together, so you shouldn’t have a problem pulling off this look, and, well, looking on-point.
4. Dark brown hair with two tone highlights
For an even more textured and vibrant appearance, you can try to experiment with not one, but two red tones so you can enjoy an even fancier look with hair that looks like a dream and has so much dimension you can get lost in it. Of course, the more hair color you apply, the more care your hair will need, so that’s one thing you need to be prepared for. Read also – Common hair colors article.
5. Dark brown hair (short) with rooted red highlights
Red highlights also work really nice on short and structured hairstyles. In fact, you can choose from just about any shade and tone of red out there, depending on the look you want to achieve. It’s just the application that differs, since you’ll need to use foils to keep the highlights focused and give the appearance of structure, as well as prevent bleeding and minimize regrowth.
6. Dark hair with multicolored highlights
What’s even better than two tones? Well, how about multicolored highlights? It’s definitely the antithesis of boring, and looks exceptionally fun and amazing. You have virtually unlimited options on what colors to combine, and you even can mix and match periodically, as well as cover everything up once you’re done with your “crazy phase”.
7. Dark hair with red and peach ombre
Yet another popular trend for Instagram girls is this dark hair with red and peach ombre. It’s a gorgeous shade of red with a touch of summer, making it perfect all year round. It certainly shows stopping, and it looks ethereal, too.
8. Sunrise ombre
Something that’s really out of the box and delivers that stylish impact is this unique sunrise ombre that makes your hair look like a mystical moving painting. Sure, it’s really difficult to pull off and requires the touch of an experienced stylist, but it’s more than worth the effort. It’s sleek, surreal, and downright beautiful as the sunset.
Other red hair color brands you can buy
Ready to get started on your journey towards a richer, livelier, and more fun looking hair? Here are our top recommendations on the best red hair colors you can use to get those amazing highlights on your brown hair:
For auburn highlights
Here are the best hair color treatments you can use to achieve auburn highlights:
- Punky Semi Permanent Conditioning Hair Color- Cherry on Top
- MANIC PANIC Semi-Permanent Color Cream- Infra Red
For copper highlights
Here are the best hair color treatments you can use to achieve copper highlights:
- Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme- Light Natural Copper
- L’Oreal Paris Feria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color- Copper Crave
For deep red highlights
Here is the best hair color treatment you can use to achieve deep red highlights:
For light copper highlights
Here are the best hair color treatments you can use to achieve light copper highlights:
- L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Brush On Glam Highlights- GL50 Medium Brown
- L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Ombre Touch- Dark Brown
For pinkish red highlights
Here is the best hair color treatment you can use to achieve pinkish red highlights:
For red ombre
Here are the best hair color treatments you can use to achieve red ombre hair:
- Manic Panic Rock N Roll Hair Dye – Classic High Voltage
- L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Permanent Hair Color- Intense Dark Red
How to take care of brown hair with red highlights
Applying red highlights on brown hair is certainly fun and exciting, but it does come with its fair share of commitment, especially in terms of maintenance. In fact, red hair (even just red highlights) arguably require the most maintenance out of all other artificial hair colors.
As such, there are a lot of different things you need to do in order to ensure that your red highlights stay nice and vibrant for longer, including going as far as changing your entire hair care regimen, in many cases.
Here’s a list of the many things you need to do to maintain your red highlights:
Switch to sulfate free hair products
Ingredients such as sulfates are infamous for being harsh on hair. In this case, sulfates cause hair colors to wash out really fast, which is even more of a problem for red hair, since this color washes out the quickest. As such, changing your shampoo and other hair products to sulfate free alternatives is important to preserve your hair color for longer.
Apply protein masks and conditioners
Hair color treatments, and especially bleaching products, can seriously damage your hair, and as such, it’s a must to do damage control and keep your hair from feeling dry and weak by using the right products such as protein masks and nutritive leave-in conditioners which help your hair recover and become overall healthier.
Avoid heat styling tools
Another thing that contributes to premature fading is heat, which is why you often see people with red hair color in typically minimal hairdos. So, if you don’t want your hair to look pink and orange after just a couple of weeks, it’s best to stay away from heat styling tools altogether, or at least use heat protection sprays.
Stay away from chlorinated pools
Think of it this way- chlorine is essentially a bleaching product, and in that sense, it can effectively “bleach your hair” and strip it off of the red highlights you so meticulously applied. We’re not saying don’t swim, though. Just opt for natural pools if you can, of use some form of hair protection such as swimming caps.
Touch up the highlights
No matter how great the coloring product you bought is, or how long it works, or even how religiously you follow your new hair care routine, red hair (or just about any other hair color, for that matter) will eventually fade. The good news is that you can always touch it up and keep it vibrant, whether by using a vegetable dye in the same color, or going to the salon.
Read also: Protein treatment for hair.
There are so many different options to choose from when it comes to red highlights on brown hair, so you are sure to find one that fits your style and personality. Red even works on both warm and cool skin tones, and are great for adding flair to your otherwise plain hair.
That said, if you want to achieve the best results, it’s best to choose the shade of red that matches your skin tone. For example, bright tones of red work best on those with fair to medium complexions, whereas deeper reds are more suitable for people with a dark or yellowish skin tone.