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19 Best Hair Colors for Dark Skin Tones

Who says you can't go blonde—or pink, or burgundy?

So you want to change up your look? After a long year spent largely in the confines of our own homes, it's no wonder so many are finally heading out to the salon in quest of a new, trendy hair color to make them feel fresh again. But, with countless options to select from, picking the perfect shade can be overwhelming.

"Women with darker skin tones tend to have lots of natural warmth in their strands," colorist Amy Mrkulic says. "So you can work with warm or sandy palettes, or go against the grain to give your skin tone contrast and dimension."

And if you've shied away from dyeing your hair because you assumed vibrant colors wouldn't pair well with your darker skin tone, think again. Pastels, grays, platinums, and honey hues all beautifully complement brown and Black skin.

Celebrities like Viola Davis, Tiffany Haddish, Gabrielle Union, and Rihanna are all great examples of women who have boldly experimented with some of the best hair colors for dark skin tones. And according to these beauty experts and master hair colorists, you can too. From light chestnut brown, to honey blonde, bright pink, purple, and oh-so popular silver, these styles will stun.

Money Piece

What exactly is a money piece? It's when you apply a full section of color right on your part to surround your face and keep the remainder of the hair much darker. If want to add a drastic color, but are weary about the damage it may cause, this trend is for you, says Leigh Hardges, a stylist and colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. "It’s a great way to test the waters with blonde or vibrant pop colors."

Red Hot

Red hot is this season’s color trend, says Hardges. There are many hues within this one color—copper, cinnamon, and carrot are all contenders—so chat with your stylist to decide whether a warmer or cooler version is right for you, she explains. And be aware: For those with naturally dark hair, reds do require some lifting and can be done with or without the aid of bleach.

Hazelnut Highlights

If you've never colored your hair before, hazelnut is a great place to start, because of the depth it delivers, complementing warm and cool skin tones alike, says Hardges. It's a gorgeously rich shade of brown that looks great as highlights or all-over color.

Golden Goddess Blonde

Want to go lighter? If you have a medium to light brown natural base color, Beyoncé's trendy golden shade is a great option, since it grows out gracefully, says Mahshid Baghaei, colorist at mizu Louis Licari.

Multi-Dimensional Red

Subtle red highlights that blend seamlessly into hair offer beautiful dimension that really pops against medium to dark skin tones, says Baghaei.

High-Gloss Black

Don't want to go wild with color, but looking for a change? Gloss is a simple way to do just that, says Baghaei. It not only adds shine, but also has the ability to shift the tone of your hair to warm, cool, or neutral.

Soft Chocolate Brown

If you're searching for all-over color that appears entirely natural, look to Meghan Markle for inspiration. Her soft chocolate brown shade is pretty on nearly any skin tone and is perfect for any season, says Baghaei.

Chunky Highlights

Though balayage is ever-popular, those chunky highlights of the 90s are making a bit of a resurgence—and the sun-kissed looks are especially stunning against darker skin tones, says John Whelan of Eliut Salon in New York City.

Grey or Silver Ombré

Fashion and beauty chameleon Rihanna stepped out in July 2013 rocking a new "icy" hair color. She also posted her 'do on Instagram with the following caption: "Grey is the new black! Blondies, it's quiet for y'all! #brrr."

Rose Gold Highlights

Eve is known for her blonde hair, but she mixed things up in 2016 with a softer, more adventurous shade.

"Brown-skinned women with neutral undertones look fabulous with rosy-gold highlights," says Chereen Monet, a NYC-based master colorist who specializes in textured hair. "It brings out the natural bronze of the skin."


Singer and rapper Lizzo matched her bejeweled updo with the pink flamingo carpet at the 2019 Met Gala.

For a more subtle approach, a dusty rose color, blending the pink, while keeping the tones muted, creates a more natural look that also adds movement.

Warm Hazelnut

If your complexion is within the same tone as Insecure creator Issa Rae, then your skin is best complemented by golden and copper-based undertones.

"One of the trendiest hair colors for dark skin is the warm hazelnut," says celebrity colorist, Michael Boychuck of COLOR-A Salon in Las Vegas. "This look creates a sophisticated effect when the hair and skin tone are similar. The shade also gives you plenty of room to play with accent colors in both your hair and makeup."

Dark Brown

Union has tried blonde hair, pixie cuts, and bobs, but rich brown hues, layers, and protective styles are her go-to styles.


Even if you have textured curls or natural hair, you can still experiment with different hair colors, like Davis did at the 2012 Academy Awards when she wore an Afro pixie cut.

"If you’d like to stay in the richer tones I love a copper, chestnut, or auburn, which is ideal for a dewy and highlighted look," recommends Mrkulic, who works at Vu Hair at the Peninsula Hotel in New York City.

Platinum Blonde

Tiffany Haddish traded in her signature darker hair for a platinum blonde wig at the 2019 Met Gala.

Black With Burgundy Highlights

If you're not ready to commit to an all-over dye job, highlights are the perfect solution. Just ask Kerry Washington, who upped the drama when she attended the 2016 Met Gala.

"Adding a touch of color with burgundy highlights provides a splash of intrigue without going overboard," says Boychuck. "Pair it with a cute pixie cut, and you have your professional look nailed."

Dark Red

During Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope era in the late '90s, the singer sported textured curls in this fiery red shade.

Jet Black

Here, Lupita Nyong'o proved that a straightforward color like black doesn't have to be one-dimensional.

Honey Brown Highlights

These honey brown highlights allow you to mix a modern and trendy shade with a classic color like jet black.