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The best hair colour highlights for dark skin tones

Looking for picture perfect highlights to grace your gorgeous dark skin tone? Read on for ideas on hair highlights for dark skin that will complement your complexion!

Blonde highlights for dark skin tones

Dark skin looks fantastic with a few strategically-placed blonde highlights placed through dark hair. Some of your options involve buttery blonde or champagne sections placed where light would naturally hit the hair, and help to bring radiance to your face.

Ask your stylist whether you have warm or cool tones in your skin, which will help you choose the best blonde highlights for your hair. Light ash can work well when used as highlights for black hair and brown skin with cooler undertones. 

Alternatively, if you really want to stand out, you could embrace some colour contrasting with an all-over platinum blonde look. Visible roots are also now a popular hairstyle trend, so a few inches of grown out roots is a look of its own if you want low maintenance with your colour!

Brunette highlights for dark skin tones

Here are a few of the most flattering shades of brown highlights for different dark skin tones:

Light brown skin tones

From dark honey and even vibrant cherry red, light brown skin is showcased with red and orange warm highlights, which help to make your complexion glow. For those making their first venture into lightening, caramel highlights for dark skin tones can be a gentler approach.

Medium brown skin tones

If you've got medium brown skin and cool undertones, the best highlights (and lowlights) for your hair are shades of coffee, chocolate or mocha. Alternatively, try a delicious combination of all of them for even more depth to your hair!

Dark brown and black skin tones

Dark brown and black skin colours look incredible with deep red, and dark mahogany highlights. You could even throw in a hint of purple to add depth to your hair.

Bright hair colours for dark skin tones

Speaking of purple, why not think outside the square and try some vibrant colour highlights in your locks?

These days, hair colours are like make-up: you can play around with unlimited combinations from right across the rainbow. It doesn't matter if it doesn't look "natural", it's about expressing your creativity with the help of your L'Oréal Professionnel expert stylist! Get your imagination gears going with options from silver/grey highlights to bright pink tips or a more discreet dark blue that shimmers in the light. Another beautiful trend for dark skin is rose gold highlights on black hair, with warmth from the rose gold and hint of metallic shimmer that's sure to turn heads. 

Hair highlighting vocabulary 101

Struggling to understand the difference between foils, balayage, ombré, dip-dye or the latest technique of "strandlighting"? They might all be ways to introduce a different shade of colour to your hair, but it's important to know the difference when it comes to asking your stylist for a new look.

Here is a handy glossary for your reference.


The traditional way to add highlights where the hair is placed in aluminium foils, lightened, then painted the desired colour. Stylists often apply a variety of shades to different foils to create a natural, sun kissed effect.


Instead of using foils, highlights are painted freehand. Get more details in our guide to the balayage colouring technique. 


A hybrid of the previous 2 techniques, get the best of both worlds for seamlessly blended results. Read more in our article 'What is foilyage?'


A technique where the hair colour is gradually lightened down the lengths. Most commonly seen in brunette-to-blonde transformations. Sombré, as you'd probably guess, is the darker and more subtle version.


As the name suggests, this technique results in hair that appears to have been dipped in a different colour. The demarcation between the two shades is far more obvious that with a balayage or ombré, especially on a dark hair base.


The most natural-looking of all hair colour techniques, no matter what shade you go for. The hair is placed in foils, like with traditional highlights, lightened, then coloured. The difference is that sections are made up of just a few strands each time (hence the name). We've seen examples of rose gold, silver and even rainbow strandlighting can result in spectacular results.