27 Gorgeous Highlight Ideas For Dark Hair To Try In 2024

Transform your dark locks and steal hearts wherever you go with seamless dimension.

Reviewed by Erin Fernandes, Hairstylist Erin Fernandes Erin FernandesHairstylist facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism)

From adding a dash of color to enhancing your hair’s depth, shine, dimension, and texture – highlights amp up your hair like no other accessory. And highlights for dark-haired women are godsent! Coloring dark hair means bleaching your locks, leading to damage. Adding highlights allows you to play around with hair colors without destroying your hair integrity. But with so many colors, how do you pick the right highlights? Keep reading to get some highlighting inspiration with 27 trendy highlight styles for your hair! Scroll down to learn how you can highlight your hair right at home without needing to blow money at the salon!

How To Highlight Your Hair

You Will Need

  • A Box Dye that is 1-2 shades lighter than your natural hair color.
  • Toothbrush
  • Brush
  • Gloves
  • An Old Shirt
  • Clips For Sectioning
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Vaseline


  1. Brush your hair to get rid of any knots or tangles. Ensure that you are working with hair that hasn’t been washed in at least two days.
  2. Put on your gloves and wear an old shirt that you wouldn’t mind getting stains on.
  3. Apply the Vaseline all along your hairline, and on your forehead, ears, and neck.
  4. Decide how you want to highlight your hair. You will have to work with thin (less than ¼ inch), evenly spaced sections if you have fine hair and thicker (½ inch), sparsely placed sections for voluminous/curly hair.
  5. Following the instructions on the box, mix the colorant and developer.
  6. Part your hair as you normally do.
  7. Using a toothbrush (this allows for better precision than a regular applicator brush), apply the dye onto your hair.
  8. Erin Frenandes, Hairstylist, suggests, “Lay cotton in between sections to prevent bleeding. Backcombing slightly at the root, will help diffuse the hair being highlighted. It will also help them grow out less stripey.”
  9. Ensure that the highlights are heavier towards the front than at the back.
  10. Do not forget to add some light in the lower layers, especially if you keep changing your part.
  11. Leave the dye on for the recommended amount of time.
  12. Wash and condition your hair.

If they lay the colored hair over non-colored hair it could bleed leading to unwanted spots suggesting laying cotton in between sections . Backcombing slightly at the root, will help diffuse the hair being highlighted. It will also help them grow out, it will be less stripey. Caution on expectations at home, color will only lift so far, sometimes lightener is needed to lift past the orange to achieve an ashy brown tone.

Elanna Pecherle, a YouTuber, shared her personal experience about experimenting with highlights at home. She states, “I’m gonna attempt babylights, mostly the top section and a couple in the back (i).” She then proceeds to express her satisfaction with the result as she shares, “Did I just successfully highlight my hair and root tap it, I’m actually blown away with the results!”

27 Gorgeous Highlight Ideas For Dark Hair

1. Golden Blonde

Golden blonde highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

This cooler take on golden blonde highlights is so textured – we love it! If you have fine cool-toned blonde hair, this is the style for you. The brown is highlighted with a golden blonde in fine sections, adding definition and radiance. The darker base adds a lowlight effect, adding depth and dimension.

2. Roast

Roast highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @hairstylist_sidika

We love dark hair, especially when it’s been highlighted to perfection like in this style. The artist has created a subtle balayage effect with a dark cool-toned brown. The highlights have been placed a little away from the roots, but blended seamlessly. The hair gets lighter as you move down the length, creating a subtle ombre/balayage effect. This can also be achieved by applying a darker color on top of old highlights and combing it halfway down in a feathering motion that gives a perfect dark hair with highlights look.

3. Ash Blonde

Ash blonde highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

Dark brunette highlighted with ash tones are among our favorite looks. This style incorporates high contrast with the shimmer highlights beginning very close to the roots. As you move down the length, the look fades into a sterling ash, creating a beautiful balayage effect.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Consider giving your ash-blonde hair a few light, milky highlights to add some lovely dimension and a luminous glow to your mane.

4. Warm Brown

Warm brown highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

The copper tones in this brown highlighted look are sure to steal hearts. If you have extremely dark hair and love warm tones, this might just be the look for you. The highlights have been placed in small sections all around the crown, and sparsely in the lower layers. The look is perfect for autumn.

5. Soft Bronze

Soft bronze highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

A soft bronze? I don’t think we’ve ever laid eyes on something more magnificent. The lights in the hair are perfectly placed in sections of medium thickness, making this style perfect for women with wavy hair. The lights seem to be heavier towards the front and the lower lengths, creating a subtle balayage glimmer effect.

6. Hints Of Auburn

Auburn highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

The warm tones in this list of styles are killing us. This auburn highlight for dark brown hair is so subtle and classy, we are in love. The dark brown hair has been effortlessly blended out to a rich auburn brown, creating the perfect amount of warmth in the style. The lights are heavier near the front of the hair, perfectly framing the face.

7. Bronde Highlights

Bronde highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

Bronde has to be one of our favorite natural colors. The brilliance color adds so much dimension to both light and dark hair. In this style, bronde has been used to highlight jet-black hair. The tones are at the cooler end of the spectrum and the thinly sectioned highlights add the perfect amount of texture to this style.

8. Smokey Brown

Smokey brown highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

We love our cool tones and this dark hairstyle has the perfect amount. The dark brown hair has been highlighted with subtle but sweeping light brown. The result is a seamless highlighted look with just enough depth, sheen, dimension, and texture. This look is sure to suit all hair types and textures.

9. Honey Highlights

Honey highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

This honey highlights look is perfectly sun-kissed. The look is a perfect blend of cool and warm tones. The highlights are two-toned with streaks of warm and cool toned honey weaved into the natural dark brunette. The highlights have been places in thick sections, making this look perfect for women with wavy to curly hair.

10. Sun-Kissed Fall Hair

Sun-kissed fall highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

We love how this list is being dominated by autumn and fall inspired looks, and the season is right as well. This look takes a lighter take on the autumn hair trend. The dark hair has been highlighted with a light autumn-leaf brown. The artist has also added a couple of lighter blonde streaks to add movement and definition.

11. Brown Sugar

Brown sugar highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

If you have always wanted to go blonde but think it might be an extreme change for you, this is the perfect look to help you dip your toes in the pond. The dark hair has been highlighted and faded to a bronde with heavy golden highlights. The dark roots help add depth and make the style look more voluminous.

12. Golden Brown

Golden brown highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

This look has texture and dimension, and we absolutely love it. The hair has been highlighted with a beautiful gold that has been swept onto the natural color in fine sections. If you have fine, straight, or wavy hair, this style will make you sparkle and is sure to look amazing on you.

13. Milk And White Chocolate

Milk and white chocolate highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

Talk about the perfect blend. This style looks so great we almost want to eat it. The dark chocolate base has been expertly blended out to a milk chocolate with lighter blonde highlights towards the end of the length. This is the perfect balayage look for someone who loves simplicity.

14. Glossed Autumn Highlights

Glossed autumn highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

There’s nothing that gets us swooning more than glossy hair, and this look has just the right amount. This coffee-inspired look has all the right things going on for it – from the gloss to the perfect blending. The highlights have been painted on in sections of varying thickness and they are heavier at the front and at the lower-lengths of the hair.

15. Heavy Blonde Highlights

Heavy blonde highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

The dimension on this style is off the hook! We never knew a stacked bob could look this good, but we’re so pleasantly surprised. The dark roots have been blended out to a light blonde near the crown while the lower layers have darker brown highlights, creating a beautiful lowlights effect. If you were looking for volume, this is the style for you.

16. Almond Biscotti

Almond biscotti highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @camouflageandbalayage

It’s amazing how highlights can add texture and transform fine hair. This look incorporates soft brown highlights that have been placed in fine sections on dark hair. The lights are heavier towards the back of the head. The style looks extremely low-maintenance thanks to the customized hand-painted placement of the highlights. With a style like this, you get a lot of time in-between touch-ups.

17. Smooth Caramel

Smooth caramel highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @camouflageandbalayage

This dark style looks like melting caramel. The highlights have been placed in thick sections, cutting down on the amount of texture they add. The customized placement adds to the charm of the look. This style is perfect for wavy and curly hair types.

18. Chestnut Highlights

Chestnut highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

WARM TONES. We clearly cannot get enough of them. This style is so extremely smooth and the warm tones help add a molten melt feel to the look. The highlights begin a little away from the roots and have been seamlessly blended.

19. Sable Highlights

Sable highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @pinski_alex

Sable hair is among our newest favorites. This look has so much texture and the lights have been painted on in small customized sections. The sections are uneven, adding character and dimension to the look. If you have fine hair, this look will help add depth and an illusion of volume.

20. Ash Brown

Ash brown highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @jandfrank

We hardly come across great styles on fine curly hair. However, this ash brown color has helped add so much dimension and definition to the curls in this look. The highlights are two-toned with the darker color adding depth and the lighter one defining the curls.

21. Fallayage

Fallayage highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

The dreamy waves on this look have us in a trance. The artist has created a perfect fall look on this long style. The lights have been custom-placed and painted on to create a beautiful wavy masterpiece. The hair fades from a deep brown to a beautiful light autumn brown, and we are so mesmerized.

protip_icon Trivia
Fallayage, similar to balayage, gained popularity in 2017. Fallayage mixes autumnal colors like auburn, golden browns, and copper to warm up your natural hair color, making it ideal for the change from winter to spring.

22. Copper Glow

Copper glow highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

If you love warm tones, there is no denying that copper is one of the best colors to work with. Especially so when it comes to working with brown hair. The copper lights are heavy on the sides of the crown and at the front of this style. The customized placement helps the hair grow out seamlessly, buying you time in between touchups.

23. Cherry Ripe

Cherry ripe highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram

With all this talk about warm tones, it would have been unforgivable to not include a red style in this list. This cherry red on brown hair has stolen all of our hearts. The blend is so utterly seamless with streaks of bright red that help add dimension and depth to the look.

24. Subtle Melt

Subtle melt highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @blondefaithsalon

This is one of the subtlest melts we’ve come across and we’re so smitten. You can’t even put a finger on where the jet black base starts to lose its color to blend out to a beautiful deep dark chocolate brown. The highlights are almost invisible, but we love how smooth the result is.

25. Burgundy Undertones

Burgundy highlights for dark hair
Image: Instagram @brencosmo

Burgundy highlights are almost always a hit with dark hair, making them a popular choice when it comes to highlights. The color is bold but has a natural base and melts perfectly into dark hair. The burgundy highlights in this style are extremely subtle and help add depth. The style doesn’t incorporate a lot of texture, making the style perfect for women with big textured hair as well as thick but straight or wavy hair.

26. Face-Framing Highlights

Face-framing blonde highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Face-framing highlights refer to the highlighted, light-colored strands of hair around the face that help brighten up the complexion and pop up the eyes when the right color is chosen. One can get them regardless of one’s hair type and length and choose a color based on their complexion.

27. Chocolate Highlights

Women with chocolate brown hair posing on chair
Image: Shutterstock

If you want low-maintenance highlights and a subtle look, you cannot go wrong with chocolate highlights. These highlights on brown hair look absolutely stunning. You can choose a shade of brown according to your skin tone. People with fair skin tone can go for lighter chocolate shades, while dark chocolate shades would look amazing on duskier skin tones.

Infographic: Things To Keep In Mind Before Highlighting Your Hair

There are multiple gorgeous highlight ideas for dark hair. However, you must take certain precautions before booking that salon appointment to ensure the chemicals don’t mess up your mane. Check out the infographic below for some things to remember before highlighting your luscious dark hair.

things to keep in mind before highlighting your hair (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Highlights for dark hair can enhance your hair’s depth, dimension, and texture like no other accessory. Highlights are a godsend for dark-haired women as it does not cause as much damage as completely coloring dark hair, which means bleaching. Therefore, adding highlights to your hair is a safer option that allows you to experiment with different hair colors without compromising the integrity of your hair. Choose from burgundy, cherry red, dark chocolate brown, copper, chestnut, ash brown, and golden highlights to spruce up your hair instantly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is better for dark hair: balayage or highlights?

Depends on your desired hair color and maintenance regime. Balayage is comparatively low-maintenance and provides subtle, blended highlights that look more natural. However, if you desire hair color 4 shades or lighter than your natural hair, opt for highlights.

Can you highlight black hair without bleach?

No. While certain hair dyes do contain trace amounts of peroxide that may lighten hair, the results are not significant enough and are not long-lasting.

What lasts longer on dark hair: highlights or balayage?

Balayage. Highlights require touching up after about 6-8 weeks, while balayage can last up to 2-6 months.

Key Takeaways

  • Highlighting hair is an excellent way to add color without damaging it with bleach.
  • To highlight your hair at home, you need a box dye, toothbrush, brush, gloves, an old shirt, clips for sectioning, shampoo, conditioner, and Vaseline.
  • Highlights look seamless when they are heavier at the front than at the back.
  • Ash brown, golden brown, warm brown, honey highlights, sun-kissed fall hair, chestnut highlights, and subtle melt are some of the most popular hair highlights.
highlights for dark hair

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Check out the video below to learn how to add trendy highlights to dark hair! Get ready to bedazzle everyone!

Personal Experience: Source

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Erin Fernandes

Erin FernandesHairstylist

Erin Fernandes is a London, Ontario, Canada-based hairstylist. She has been in industry for 25+ years after graduating from Marvel. Erin won the Ontario Hairstylist of The Year in 2006 and went on to win this award two more times, as well three Mirror awards. She was also the finalist for the NAHA Colourist of the Year. She was recognized...read full bio

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