What do you do when you adore the look of balayage but hate to give up your luscious brown locks? This one ain’t rocket science: you get brown balayage laced throughout your gorgeous dark hair. We’ve combed through hundreds of pictures (maybe thousands? we’ve lost touch with reality due to a Thanksgiving overdose) to find the best hairstyles that incorporate light to dark brown shades of balayage into dark base colors. We came away with 35 of the most stunning looks, perfect for the brunettes out there who want to keep their brown hair but add a little spice. So scroll down and get inspired—just try to keep the drooling contained to the holiday table, thank you very much.
1. Dark-Brown Wavy Hair with Chocolate-Brown Balayage
Even if you took away the epic shine factor in this woman’s hair, we’re positive her color would still steal the show. Those long waves have been splashed with the perfect amount of milk-chocolate-brown balayage, providing her hair with immense depth.
2. Dark-Ash-Brown Hair with Subtle Medium-Brown Balayage
As we can see with this style, combining a dark ash-brown base with some lighter brown balayage produces a smoky, sultry effect. These long, layered waves help to increase the drama factor.
3. Super Shiny Mid-Length Brown Hair with Medium-Brown Balayage
Shield your eyes! This woman’s dark-brown hair emits more shine than the sun. Adding to the dynamic quality of her ‘do is the light-brown balayage throughout. Instead of applying color to big chunks of hair, her stylist has used thin strands. This selective technique results in a look that’s unique and natural looking.
4. Thick Black Hair with Ash-Brown Balayage
The ash-brown coloring applied to the ends of this woman’s thick, wavy hair is a nice foil (pun intended) to her much richer dark-brown base. Together the shades create an eye-catching work of art.
5. Dark-Brown Hair with Milk-Chocolate Balayage
The hints of cinnamon and milk chocolate in this woman’s balayage are making us hungry, even though we’re stuffed to the gills. But no matter—we’re still happy to feast our eyes on her gorgeous mane. The curls at the ends really draw attention to the places the balayage has been applied, enhancing its effects.
6. Dark-Brown Mid-Length Cut with Light-Brown and Copper Balayage
This wavy mid-length chop is something fierce. The dark-brown base is rich and luxurious, while the light-brown and copper/rose tones woven into the middle and ends of the hair reflect even more light.
7. Wavy Chestnut-Brown Hair with Light-Brown Balayage
With this wavy hairstyle, you’ll receive a stronger application of balayage to your dark-brown hair. But because it’s a subdued but warm shade of brown (and it’s incredibly well blended), it won’t look overpowering.
8. Chunky Dark-Brown Bob with Ash-Brown Balayage
Ash brown never looked hotter than it does at the ends of this woman’s dark espresso-brown hair. Since both the base color and the accent color are heavy in the ashy department, the look carries a sophisticated, grown-up aura.
9. Caramel-Brown Balayage for Dark-Brown Mid-Length Layered Hair
This funky mid-length layered ‘do has been gifted some gorgeous caramel balayage near the ends. We’re loving the fact that it’s not so in-your-face but not super subtle, either. Aka, the perfect low-key balayage.
10. Long Wavy Brown Hair with Light-Brown Balayage
This long, wavy mane incorporates subtle doses of light-brown balayage into the medium-brown base. The accent color is almost borderline bronde, but the fact that it’s been applied so sparingly keeps the overall color squarely in “brown” territory.
11. Dark-Brown Waves with Caramel-Brown Balayage
We’re loving this sumptuous late-fall shade. The dark-brown base color is rich and shiny, while the caramel balayage applied to the messy waves brightens up the look, making it feel youthful and fun.
12. Black-Brown Hair with Cinnamon-Brown Balayage
We know this look was achieved by the doting hand of an experienced colorist, but it just looks so darn natural that we almost can’t believe this woman is sitting in a salon chair. The expertly placed caramel balayage makes the deep brown of her (possibly natural) base shade shine. Plus those curls at the ends are sweet as pie.
13. Classic Dark-Ash-Brown Hair with Chocolate-Brown Balayage
This brown-on-brown balayage look is about as classic as it gets. That chocolate-brown balayage applied to the base color adds a ridiculous amount of warmth to the long, rolling waves.
14. Well-Blended Dark-Brown into Medium-Brown Balayage
This dye job is the kind of work of art that gives credence to the term “color melt.” Here we have medium-brown balayage that’s seamlessly blended into the dark-brown base color. The result is—do we even have to say it?—like butter.
15. Deep Brown Hair with Subtle Milk-Chocolate-Brown Balayage
Here’s another head of hair with epic shine, long wavy layers, and a jolt of balayage that gives life to an already beautiful color. The milk-chocolate-brown accents add spice and sexiness.
16. Black Hair with Ash-Brown Balayage
If you’re looking for an example of balayage that’s uber subtle, then you’ve come to the right place. The ash-brown balayage in this woman’s rich black hair is of the “blink and you’ll miss it” variety, but it still manages to add an understated elegance. The slight angling/layering in the hair makes it look angelic.
17. Wavy Dark-Brown Hair with Milk-Chocolate-Brown Balayage
These perfectly formed waves with perfectly applied milk-chocolate-brown balayage might be just what you need to banish those soon-to-be-knocking winter blues. Regardless of the texture of your hair, this accent color is a great choice for adding warmth and spice to virtually any shade of dark brown.
18. Dark-Brown Hair with Warm-Brown/Copper Balayage
Can we talk about how lovely this balayage application is? Each bending strand is highlighted perfectly by the accent color, a coppery/reddish-brown color that’s so vibrant and warm we thought we were seeing some sort of chocolate-cinnamon dessert. Alas.
19. Long Wavy Black Hair with Subtle Balayage
OK, so we may have cheated with this one—the accent color applied to the base color is not brown at all. It appears to be an ingenious mix of purple and cherry red, looking almost burgundy in some areas. Still, we’re gaga over the subtle color application and those luscious waves.
20. Dark-Brown Wavy Hair with Light-Brown Balayage
This strategically placed light-brown balayage warms up this woman’s face and highlights her vivacious waves. Even though the added coloring isn’t on top of her head, where highlights naturally tend to occur, it looks like it could almost be natural.
21. Shiny Black-Brown Hair with Copper-Brown Balayage
Can you handle the shine in this woman’s gorgeous ‘do? Those loose, awe-inspiring curls in her hair help to accentuate the stunning strips of warm-brown balayage throughout. The effect is mesmerizing.
22. Long Straight Layered Dark-Brown Hair with Subtle Brown Balayage
If you look closely, you can see that this woman’s dark-brown hair has been laced with some subtle strokes of medium-brown balayage. It gives her color just the right amount of warmth and depth. We’re digging the short layering at the ends, which gives her hair that coveted V shape.
23. Dark-Brown Hair with Accents of Medium-Brown Balayage
If this hair color doesn’t make you want to eat a dessert rich with chocolate and caramel, we don’t know what will. Seriously though, the richness factor is off-the-charts here. This woman’s long, layered waves are killer, too.
24. Dark-Brown Hair with Muted-Brown Balayage
Even though this gorgeous balayage number is brown and not blonde, it somehow emits a pearly sheen, of which we’re in awe. The muted ash tones help to pull that off.
25. Dark-Brown Hair with Chocolate-Brown Balayage
We think this just might be the hair-color equivalent to those “death by chocolate” dishes we all see so frequently in restaurants. The dark-brown base slides so subtly into the chocolate-brown accent color. Not only are we stunned by this woman’s shade, but we’re also captivated by her thick, silky strands.
26. Dark-Brown Hair with Toffee-Brown Balayage
This scrumptious color was achieved by taking a dark-brown base, stripping out the stark ombre (not a job for the faint-of-heart), and applying some warm light-brown color with the balayage technique. The result? A stunning cascade of Old Hollywood waves and shiny brown-on-brown balayage.
27. Wavy Mid-Length Dark-Brown Hair with Muted-Bronde Balayage
We slipped up again! We’ve thrown in a look that’s incorporates a non-brown accent color. Cut us some slack, will ya? But really, the ash-blonde quality of the balayage and the feather-light application helps keep the overall color more dark than light.
28. Dark-Brown Hair with Cinnamon and Caramel Balayage
These bright, light brown tones are attracting tons of attention to themselves—and to this woman’s dark-brown hair color. Her bold waves create even more interest.
29. Stick-Straight Dark Brown Hair with Light Brown Balayage
Welcome to Color Melting 101. This woman’s stylist has painstakingly blended some very light-brown balayage into her dark-brown hair. The result is elegant and dynamic.
30. Dark-Brown Hair with Subtle Brown Balayage
If you’ve got gorgeous dark-brown hair and want to add interest but maintain your color, take a page from this woman’s book. Her big, bouncy waves have a minimal amount of medium-brown balayage applied, and the effect is noticeable but understated and graceful.
31. Dark-Ash-Brown Hair with Subtle Light-Brown Balayage
This lovely shade of dark-ash-brown hair has been introduced to some light-brown balayage, and it seems to be a match made in heaven. The soft, loose waves at the ends of the hair add a dreamy effect.
32. Straight Dark-Brown Hair with Melting Light-Brown Coloring
This color melt is—dare we be this corny?—making us melt. It’s so well blended into the dark-brown base color it’s almost scary. Scary good, of course. If you find a stylist who can do this to your hair, never let her go.
33. Rich Dark-Chocolate-Brown Hair with Caramel Balayage
Have you ever seen a shade so rich? We’re not sure we have. The dark-chocolate-brown of the base color mingles with strands of caramel before giving way to it completely. This is one combo that’s truly inspired.
34. Dark-Brown Lob with Barely-There Brown Balayage
We don’t know if we’ve ever seen a cuter mid-length cut with better balayage. All the elements are working together flawlessly—cut, color, layers, highlights, lowlights. Even better is the fact that the hair looks truly healthy, giving off a well-cared-for sheen.
35. Ash-Brown Hair with Warm-Brown Balayage
These romantic long waves bring ashy brown and medium-brown together, creating an unexpected but interesting pairing. The balayage seems concentrated toward the edges of the hair, which draws attention to those pretty curling ends.
BONUS! Dark-Brown Long Bob with Sweet Cinnamon Balayage
The big curls introduced into this woman’s long bob are throwing a major spotlight on her gorgeous cinnamon/light-brown balayage. Set against her dark-brown hair, it looks smashing.