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How to Dye Hair Brown at Home

by Madison Reed October 12, 2023

Ravenna Brown

Image by Madison Reed

Do you ever get the urge to switch things up a bit? Maybe you're on the hunt for a fresh new ‘do? Why not make a change and color your hair brown! It's a timeless and versatile choice that complements just about every complexion. Wondering how to dye your hair brown at home? You're in the right place – let's dive into it! 

How to Dye Blonde Hair Brown

Going from lighter to darker hair color is much easier than the other way around, so dyeing your blonde hair brown won’t be as tricky as in other cases.

If you are one-to-two shades lighter than your desired color, all you need to do is apply the brown dye and enjoy your new hair color. But, it gets a bit complicated when you want to introduce a more radical change.

Blonde hair lacks red undertones, while brown hair is usually a balance of the three base colors. What does that mean? In many cases, your light blonde hair may turn unnaturally gray, or even green, if you try to put brown dye on it. This is especially true if you are going more than two shades darker. So, how to dye your blonde hair brown without it going green? You’ve got two options:

  • Fill your hair: filling means nothing more than pre-dyeing your hair before putting on the brown hair color. Opt for copper red colors, such as Vesuvius Red, or golden shades. This way, you will restock the red pigment and ensure that the brown dye will work as you expect it to.

  • Warmer brown: another option would be to use a warmer brown dye. With this technique, you will avoid an unnatural-looking finish. Just keep in mind, the results may look slightly different from those presented on the box dye, especially if you are going more than two levels darker. 

How to Dye Black Hair Brown

Let’s go to the opposite end of the scale – how to color your black hair brown. It all depends on your current shade and the desired outcome.

If your hair is all-natural and not currently color-treated, coloring to a dark brown won’t be much of a problem. But, if you wish to go more than two shades lighter than your natural color, that might end up in an undesired warm (reddish) result or may not lift as light as you are hoping for. You may be better off going with highlights in this case which uses bleach.

If your hair is currently color-treated to a black color, this will require a bit more work. Because of the rule, "color can't lift color," the hair will not lighten if you just put a lighter dye on top. You have two options:

1) You can go about it more gently and gradually by letting the color fade or using cleansing products or color removers to speed up the process. Using Madison Reed's Prime for Perfection is the perfect way to start to go lighter without going the route of using bleach.

2) If you are determined to go lighter more quickly your best bet is to add highlights to lighten up your overall color.

How to Dye Red Hair Brown

Going from red to brown hair is not as easy as it looks. Not only because you could end up with a strange or unwanted color, but also because you risk damaging your hair. 

We’ve partially tackled this issue in our article, “What Color Can I Put Over Red Hair?” but as a reminder – not every brown will work, depending on the current shade of your red hair.

In the case of blonde hair, the problem was the lack of red undertones, but here, it’s the opposite. Changing to a brunette shade will mean that you need to counteract all of the red pigment in the hair by using ash or neutral shades. Just like we mentioned when going from blonde to brown, it may be best to color in stages. It is easier to go darker than it is if you accidentally go too dark and want to lighten it. 

Maintain your new brunette color using Color Reviving Gloss in Espresso or Color Therapy Color Depositing Mask in Cafe. These must-haves will help to keep your brunette locks looking rich and minimize fading back to red.


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Feeling Overwhelmed? Go to a Professional Hair Color Bar

Dyeing your hair brown can be a bit of a challenge. If you’re not sure about doing it yourself, make an appointment at one of our Madison Reed Hair Color Bars – our expert, licensed hair colorists will help you get the color you’re looking for!

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The Takeaway

How to dye your hair brown at home? It all depends on your current hair color. Sometimes, it's as easy as applying a box dye, but often, it requires additional effort. Pay attention to the difference in shades between what you have now and your box hair color.If you are taking black hair to brunette you may need to lighten or remove color; if you are going from blonde to brunette, stay within two levels; and if you are going from red to brunette, it's all about neutralizing the red tones.


Did you like this article? You may also read: Best Hair Dye for Dark Hair.