Every now and then, you’ll hear brown hair described as ‘boring.’ For some reason, brunette hues are getting an undeserved bad rap. In reality, brown is such a classy and timeless hair color. Once you delve into the world of brown hair colors, you’ll discover a large variety of beautiful tones and colors that are sure to please.
Who says brunettes can’t have all the fun? Especially when it comes to hair color, where the possibilities are endless.
Most brown shades suit all skin tones. It just takes a bit of searching until you find the perfect color for your complexion. Whether you’re on a mission to enhance your natural color, or you want to try a cool new brown shade, this list of the top brown at-home dye kits is sure to inspire!
How to Select The Perfect Brown Shade
When it comes to choosing the right shade, you can’t take a one shade fits all approach. Instead, you need to determine your undertones then pick a color that complements them.
If you want to find the shade that looks best with your skin tone, you need to pick a shade that’s the opposite of your skin’s undertone. Cool-tones shades look best on people with warm skin tones, whereas warm-tones shades look amazing on people with cooler skin tones.
So, I bet you’re trying to figure out what your skin tone is. Well, there is an easy way to determine this without studying the color wheel.
Begin by flipping your wrists over and look at your veins. If your veins appear greenish, then you have a warm undertone. If they look more blue or purple, then you have a cool undertone. If it’s a mix of both, or you really can’t tell, you most likely have a neutral undertone.
Best Natural-Looking Brown: Garnier Hair Color Nutrisse Nourishing Creme, 30 Darkest Brown (Sweet Cola)
As the name suggests, this brown hair color resembles cola. It is a deep dark shade and a natural-looking classic. It’s probably the first color that comes to mind when you think of ‘brunettes.’ The Nutrisse formula is an excellent choice because it nourishes your strands and makes hair up to 2x stronger. Therefore, you don’t have to deal with any breakage and damage after coloring. As well, it covers up to 100% of greys.
The Nutrisse range is the only one that comes with a special fruit oil ampoule that makes hair softer and shinier. This dye contains a combination of avocado, shea, and olive oil to keep hair healthy, strong, and hydrated. So, you don’t even need to use and fancy conditioners after the dye.
- Offers grey coverage.
- It has a non-drip formula.
- It contains a mix of three nourishing oils: avocado, olive, and shea.
- There is a special fruit oil ampoule you mix with the formula which conditions hair.
- The dye is long-lasting.
- The color may come out darker than the photo on the box.
Best Affordable Dye: Clairol Nice’n Easy Permanent Hair Color, 4RB Dark Reddish Brown
This reddish-brown is an interesting twist on the classic brown. The red tones make the color appear multidimensional, almost as if it’s full of highlights. Nice’n Easy is one of the cheapest dyes on the market, but it’s still a top favorite among women because it works very well. The formula is made with color blend technology, which offers grey coverage, and the color looks uniform on roots and tips.
This permanent color lasts for up to eight weeks without fading. It’s also gentle on your scalp, so even those of you with sensitive skin can use this product. Since the dye has a no-drip formula, you don’t have to worry about making a mess in the bathroom, so consider it a good beginner-friendly hair dye.
- Very affordable.
- It covers grey hair.
- The formula doesn’t drip, so it’s easy to apply.
- Hair looks multi-dimensional and shiny.
- The dye gives three salon tones and highlights for a unique reddish-brown shade.
- It’s a gentle formula, so it doesn’t irritate the scalp.
- The dye is very staining if it gets on the skin, and it’s hard to remove.
Best Light Brown: Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color, Permanent Hair Dye with Keratin, 100% Gray Coverage, Ammonia Free, 50 Light Ash Brown
The Colorsilk formula is excellent because it offers a shiny and long-lasting color. This light ash brown shade is perfect if you want to try a lighter brown. Although the color is vibrant, it is still timeless and subtle enough to pass off as your natural color. It’s an ammonia-free dye, so it doesn’t cause damage. The formula is infused with keratin and silk amino acid, which make hair stronger and healthier.
The formula is a liquid gel consistency, and it doesn’t drip, so it’s easy to use. This Revlon dye also offers up to 100% grey coverage, so women of all ages can use it. The dye is formulated with 3D color gel technology, which gives multi-tonal color from root to tip. Therefore, you don’t have to use any other products to get even coverage, even on stubborn grey roots.
- This is a multi-tonal color that blends in nicely.
- The formula is ammonia-free.
- It’s infused with keratin and silk amino acid, which makes hair shiny and silky.
- Hair looks healthier after coloring.
- The dye offers grey coverage.
- The liquid gel formula doesn’t drip and doesn’t make a mess.
- It has a tendency to go brassy, so you might need to use a special shampoo.
Best Dermatologically Tested Formula: Schwarzkopf Simply Color Permanent Hair Color, 3.65 Dark Chocolate
If you’re sick of dyes that are full of harsh chemicals, it’s time to look for cleaner and healthier alternatives. This Schwarzkopf dye is free from ammonia, silicone, and alcohol, and it’s dermatologically tested. Therefore, it doesn’t irritate the scalp and doesn’t cause major damage to your hair. Unfortunately, alcohol dries out the hair shaft and causes brittleness. This dye prevents this problem, so your hair actually looks healthy.
The formula is also full of good-for-you ingredients, like botanical oat milk, soy protein, and argan oil. They infuse your hair with nourishment, so it looks silky and shiny. Additionally, this permanent dye is long-lasting but also covers all greys, so it’s very effective.
- This dye is free from alcohol, ammonia, and silicone.
- The color is very vibrant and intense.
- It’s a gentle formula suitable for sensitive skin since it’s dermatologically tested.
- It makes the hair looks shinier and healthier than before coloring.
- The dye doesn’t cause dryness and brittleness.
- It covers greys.
- The permanent color lasts for up to 8 weeks.
- You need to leave the color on for a longer time than other similar dyes if you want to get the deepest color.
Best for Easy Application: Clairol Nice’n Easy Perfect 10 Permanent Hair Color, 6WN Light Chocolate Brown
Even application is the key to great looking hair color. This at-home dye kit comes with a comb applicator tip, which allows you to spread the cream on all strands. It also gives you more control and precision. This shade of brown is full of gorgeous chocolate tones and shimmers in the light. The formula is enriched with micro-pearls, which deliver lots of shine and glossiness.
Perfect 10 is a permanent color that lasts up to eight weeks without fade out. It’s also a non-drip formula and colors quickly in about 10 minutes. If you want intense color, let it sit on your hair for the full 30. It can also cover grey hair, and it blends in nicely with the other tones in your hair.
- It has an easy to use comb-type applicator.
- Applies evenly on the roots and lengths.
- Offers grey hair coverage.
- Works in as little as 10 minutes.
- The dye is long-lasting, and hair doesn’t lose vibrancy.
- The color is very glossy and shimmery.
- It contains some red tones, so it’s not a true chocolate brown.
Best Semi-Permanent: Adore Semi-Permanent Haircolor #048 Honey Brown
This Adore shade is the perfect dye if you want a vegan semi-permanent formula that actually delivers color and has pretty good lasting power. This is a gentle formula that doesn’t contain any ammonia, peroxide, and alcohol, so it’s not harsh on your hair. It has a light scent, which is much better than the typical strong chemical fragrances of most other dyes.
The color looks vibrant, and it’s shiny, even after a few weeks. Honey brown is a light brown with blonde tones, and it’s perfect for those looking to try a light brunette color before committing to something more intense. Since the dye is also cruelty-free, you don’t have to feel guilty when using this product.
- This formula is vegan and cruelty-free.
- The color looks bright and shiny; it doesn’t get dull after a few washes.
- This semi-permanent dye lasts for at least four weeks.
- It doesn’t have a strong chemical scent.
- Free from ammonia, peroxide, and alcohol.
- It makes hair very shiny.
- It washes out if you use a harsh shampoo or one that contains sulfates.
Buyer’s Guide: What to look for when buying brown hair dye
The first thing you have to do is determine what your hair dyeing goal is. Are you looking to darken, lighten, add highlights, cover greys?
If you want to cover stubborn greys, you’re better off using a permanent hair dye because it lasts longer, and the pigments offer better grey coverage. A semi-permanent formula may start fading out after only a few washes.
When selecting a brown, pay special attention to the shade names. If they contain words like “golden” or “honey,” they contain warm tones. Those with cool tones usually add words like “ash” to the shade name (i.e., ash brown). Some brown shades have red tones. Burgundy is a good example of a reddish dark brown, but it looks amazing in the light because the red tones shine and shimmer, giving hair extra dimension. The most important thing is to choose a shade that looks great with your complexion.
If you want to keep the color close to your natural hair, then stick to one that’s about two or three shades away. This way, it covers and blends with your hair beautifully. If you have a light brown color, try the medium, don’t go for the deep chocolate just yet.
If you’re looking for a more noticeable change, choose a multi-tonal brown dye, which gives highlights and dimensions. This ensures your color doesn’t look dull and lifeless.
Check the ingredients
Some dyes are full of very harsh chemicals that have a drying and damaging effect. When you use products that are full of these chemicals, you need to do a lot of post-color hair care. This involves many hair masks, conditioners, and styling products.
Look out for bad ingredients. The top culprits are:
If you don’t want dry and brittle hair that breaks easily, avoid these ingredients. However, keep in mind that ammonia helps pigments stick to the hair and makes the color last longer.
There are healthier dye options, including natural and vegan formulas that are ammonia-free. These still deliver beautiful vibrant colors, but they are generally more gentle on your hair and scalp. If you suffer from allergies, you must perform a patch test before using any hair dye, natural or not.
Brown is such a versatile color, so it’s not hard to find a beautiful brown hue to try. There are at least 30+ shades of brown to play with. Most at-home hair dyes offer a large shade variety. So, it’s time to prove that blondes don’t have all the fun, especially when it comes to hair color. Brown is a playful and fun color, especially with all the cool brunette hair trends.