How to get beautiful brown hair at home

Brown. It's not the most exciting colour. You rarely get style experts celebrating a world of brown. How many people, when asked what their favourite colour is, choose brown? If you arrive at the seaside and all you see is brown, muddy waters, rather than sparkling turquoise.... well, you can see where we're going with this.

But, in the world of hair colour, brown is vastly underrated. In fact, it's magnificent, wondrous, a complete and utter delight. And the word itself is far too limiting to describe the infinitely rich and varied shades of brown hair we tend to group under the almost apologetic heading 'brown'.

That's why, when we looked at a colour chart the other day, we discovered over 50 different words for brown, each a subtly different shade. Camel, cocoa, copper, chocolate, chestnut, cordovan – and that's just the Cs! In the Garnier hair colour family, the palette ranges from soft golden browns and rose golds to intense dark browns that are quite close to black. Let's just say there's a lot of ground to cover.

Also, some of the world's most beautiful women have been proud to be brown. Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Raquel Welch, Cindy Crawford, Halle Berry, Eva Longoria, Eva Mendes, the Duchess of Cambridge, our very own Davina McCall. A great roll call of beauties to gather brown hair ideas from, no?


Now choose your brunette

So, let's get to the nub of this: which of the dozens of brown hair dye shades will suit you best?

Obviously, the effect you're aiming to achieve is crucial, but you have to think smarter than that. As with all home hair dyeing, the first thing to do is work out your natural hair colour and your skin tone. We can't emphasise enough how important that is. Your natural hair colour will determine how far within the brown range you can go. Our experts' advice is to stay within two shades darker or lighter.

Not many brunettes know that, no matter their colour, they may have red undertones hidden away that come alive as soon as their hair is lightened. Go too light, and the result can be an undesirable ginger shade. We're not dissing ginger, you understand, it's just that ginger might not have been your aim.

If your hair is dark brown, you can usually go to a deep dark brown colour or a golden dark brown tone to bring lustrous depth and light to your hair. If your hair is medium brown, a darker or lighter shade of brown, such as chestnut, will add a vibrant tonality. If your hair is light brown, golden brown is often a good choice to enhance your hair with a light-catching golden shade, whilst preserving the depth of your original natural brown hair.

If you want to go for a shade that is more than two tones lighter or darker than your natural shade then you could blend the hair colour into your hair with highlights or a fashionable dip dye.


Flatter your complexion

Skin tone is important because you don't really want your complexion and hair colour to 'jar'. Because, trust us, they will if you're not careful. The colourist's secret is understanding the relationship between colours. If you try and force colours together, they will clash and look unnatural. That's fine if you're out to make an anarchistic statement – there's always room for eccentricity in art, fashion and life – but most of us don't want the first comment from our friends and family to be, "Oh my goodness, what have you done?" We'd prefer a more positive response.

So, check your skin colour. What are the predominant tones? Once you've worked it out, it's pretty straightforward. Light-skinned complexions with pinky hues are more suited to lighter browns undercut with red tones; think chestnut browns or rich ambers. Medium complexions with more yellow-olive tones look fantastic with rich chocolate browns. Darker complexions can brave black-browns, with hints of caramel hair colour to pick up those golden skin tones.

Perhaps, the best place to start is the online Garnier Shade Selector for a selection of colours that will suit you. Or, chat with one of our Live Colour Experts to help you find your perfect shade! And don't forget that treating your hair is as important as your choice of colour. The active ingredients in Garnier hair care products boost the colouring process while deeply nourishing your hair, for a great result.


What’s on trend?

'What isn't?' might be one response, because the beauty of brown hair is timeless.
Until quite recently, fashionistas were talking about cool browns and ombre blond-brown looks. Right now? Well, the most popular shades of brown hair are those with warmth and depth. Red-tinged dark browns have become more popular than those rather unforgiving black-browns. Think spicy rather than icy.

Dark mahogany with rich, chocolatey tones that imbue your complexion with a warm light and give off subtle glints of gold are a winner. A quick browse through the Garnier Brown range of permanent hair dyes will give you some great brown hair ideas and point you in the right direction. And with permanent colour, your hair is guaranteed to stay glossy and healthy looking for weeks on end.

But maybe a single colour is not enough for you. The dip dye revolution changed all the rules and there are always new highlighting techniques to consider. Babylights, for example, are a subtle way of adding light to your dark brown hair, as though the sun has ever so slightly bleached them. Do it with reddish hues to add beautiful balayage streaks and give any brown hair colour an extra punch.

If you're not a spice girl, don't worry, as frosty chestnut shades look great with both pale and medium complexions. Try Garnier Iced Chocolate for a stylish look that defines contemporary cool. Of course, the great thing about Garnier home dye colours is that you can easily experiment from the comfort of your own home. Hopefully, we’ve given you some solid brown hair ideas to go away with. So, get creative and make some of your own shades of brown hair today!