How To Add Highlights to Medium Brown Hair at Home

Add Kate Middleton-style dimension and warmth to your colour, the DIY way.
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Thomas Marrington
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Add Kate Middleton-style dimension and warmth to your colour, the DIY way.
Kate Middleton medium brown hair

The recent rise in brunette hair colour requests has been pretty phenomenal, and we can credit most of it to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Ever since those famous engagement photos were released, the world has been hooked on her chestnut locks.

Kate Middleton, medium brown hair (2)

Her medium brown hair looks incredibly healthy, glossy and dimensional—not to mention completely natural, right? If it weren't for the fact that we all know she gets her hair coloured—by the world's most expensive stylist at that—you would never know she wasn't born with it.

Colouring medium brunette hair can be tricky. On the one hand, it's quite likely you can pull off some shade of blonde (think Jennifer Lawrence or Angelina Jolie). Although hairdressers love to take people lighter, getting there can be expensive, time-consuming and often damaging. And like we talked about in my dark brunette hair colour tutorial, traditional blonde highlights in brown hair can often look too light and stripey.

On the other hand, if you stick 100 percent with what nature intended, that medium brown colour can be kinda boring. I have a natural mid-brown hue myself, so I GET IT.

I have a colour technique for adding dimension and warmth to your hair without compromising the quality or making it radically lighter or darker. By blending two shades, you can achieve a warm, medium chocolate brown without the brassy effect that you often get from golden hair dyes.

Kate Middleton, medium brown hair (3)

So if Kate Middleton is your ultimate hair inspiration, keep reading to find out how to get her covetably coloured locks.

What you'll need

Garnier Nutrisse Permanent Hair Colour in 63 Light Golden Brown (or Brown Sugar):

Garnier Nutrisse Permanent Hair Colour in 63 Light Golden Brown

Garnier Nutrisse Permanent Hair Colour in 50 Medium Natural Brown (or Truffle):

Garnier Nutrisse Permanent Hair Colour in 50 Medium Natural Brown

You'll also want to have:

How to apply the colour

1. Start with dry hair.

2.  Mix each of the colour crèmes, 63 Light Golden Brown and 50 Medium Natural Brown, with their developer bottles.

3. In your plastic mixing bowl, mix roughly ¾ of the 50 Medium Natural Brown with ¼ of the 63 Light Golden Brown. Apply this mixture from the roots down to the mid-lengths of your hair.

5. Mix the remaining ¾ of the 63 Light Golden Brown and ¼ of the 50 Medium Natural Brown. Apply this from the mid-lengths to the ends of your hair. Make sure to feather the lines with your brush to blend and achieve a very subtle graduation of warmth. We are aiming to make the bottom half warmer than the top.

6. Leave the colour to develop for 25 minutes.

7. Rinse with cold water until it runs clear, and then shampoo and condition. (It’s a good idea to leave your conditioner in for about two minutes.)

8. Rinse again, and then dry and style as usual.

Get the products

Have your say

Is Kate Middleton your hair inspiration?
Have you ever had highlights gone wrong in your medium brown hair?
Have you tried this technique for adding dimension?