10 Celeb-Inspired Ways to Do Brown Hair With Blonde Highlights

For a variety of skin tones, eye colors, and lifestyles.

Hair color trends come and go, but brown hair with blonde highlights is a classic combo that doesn't have an expiry date. For starters, it's flattering on any shade of brunette, easy to maintain, and looks amazing year-round. Whether your brunette base is deep chocolate or ashy brown, there's a complementary shade of blonde to add dimension to your color and take it to the next level.

When deciding just how blonde you want your highlights to be, there are a few factors you might want to consider: how much time you want to commit to the upkeep of blonde highlights, your lifestyle, and your at-home maintenance regimen, says hairstylist Dilek Onur-Taylor. "An experienced colorist will analyze your hair, skin tone, and eye color to determine the most complementary colors, technique, and whether you should go lighter or brighter with your blonde locks. There is a perfect shade of blonde for everyone out there," she adds.

As for what your brown hair with blonde highlights might look like, keep scrolling to see how 10 celebs wear the popular color pairing.

Jennifer Lopez

JLo long and wavy honey blonde highlighted hair

Next to her infamous glowy skin, J.Lo is known for her honey blonde hair. These chunky '90s highlights demonstrate how to upgrade a signature look without completely going out of your comfort zone. The warm-toned blonde also works to flatter her skin's warm undertones.

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde brown bob with face-framing blonde ombre highlights
Steve Granitz/WireImage

A bob and golden blonde ombré highlights? Yeah, Olivia Wilde's cut and color pairing are what hair dreams are made of. Her strategically-placed face-framing highlights also serve to brighten her complexion. To get her effortless waves, style with Color Wow Style on Steroids Color-Safe Texture Spray ($26).

Jasmine Tookes

Jasmine Tookes long, wavy brown hair with babylights
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

If you are looking for blonde highlights but don't want anything too dramatic, consider "almost there, lit-from-within highlights of blonde," says Onur-Taylor. Jasmine Tookes's warm babylights do just that, lending subtle dimension to her color and an even more natural finish.

Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson long and beachy brunette hair with blonde balayage
Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images

If lazy is the name of your hair game (raises hand), tell your colorist that you're curious about balayage. Not only is the hand-painted color technique — as seen here on Dakota Johnson — low-maintenance, but it's also natural-looking, adding subtle dimension to your color.

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra straight chocolate brown hair with caramel highlights
Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

If you've got naturally dark tresses and you're hesitant to go blonde — but still want to go lighter — do like Priyanka Chopra and incorporate toffee-toned highlights. They work well alongside her deep chocolate brown hair, brightening the base color and adding interest.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry brown hair with sandy blonde highlights styled into a loose updo
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Halle Berry's light blonde highlights throughout her brown base are a textbook example of the look. When opting for highlights, keep in mind that although they're less of a commitment than single-process color, they still require proper care to prevent any brassiness from coming through. "A good at-home haircare regimen will keep your blonde highlights shiny, healthy, and add longevity to the vibrancy of your hair color," says Onur-Taylor. She recommends using a violet-based shampoo, like Matrix Brass Off ($20), followed by a hydrating conditioner and weekly deep conditioning treatment.

Shay Mitchell

Shay Mitchell long, loose brown waves with babylights and bright red lipstick
John Parra/WireImage

Not sold on super-warm highlights? Follow Shay Mitchell's lead and ask your colorist for a few cool-tone babylights throughout your mid-lengths and ends. They can work on hair of all lengths, just remember that in case you're thinking about going shorter, do so before your color appointment. Your colorist considers your cut before deciding where to place highlights.

Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale long, chic bronde waves
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Not quite brunette, not quite blonde, Kate Beckinsale's "bronde" color falls somewhere between the two shades. We love the sombré color-melting effect of dark roots that blend into lighter mids and ends. If you decide to use a curling iron to replicate her loose waves, don't forget to prep strands with a heat protectant spray first.

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez straight dark brown lob with subtle caramel highlights
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Selena Gomez is proof that you don't need to dive headfirst into highlights. And while her warm-toned babylights lean more auburn than blonde, they lend natural dimension and brightness to her otherwise dark brown tresses. We can't get enough.

Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn long, glossy dark brown hair with subtle balayage
John Shearer/Getty Images

There are myriad ways to add highlights to brown hair, but Onur-Taylor recommends following a less-is-more approach to get the most natural-looking results. For instance, balayage and babylights are a way to mimic natural, sun-kissed pieces. Case in point: Olivia Munn. Her subtle balayage looks as though she enjoyed a summer well spent in the sun, says Onur-Taylor.

Related Articles