Shades of Brown Skin [20 Common Brown Shades with Chart]

There are many different shades of brown skin in the world. Many people suntan to developed a golden-brown shade. What is brown skin tone? What are the different shades of brown skin?

Shades of brown skin come in various colors. These shades of brown are produced by the combination of yellow, red, and black pigments. The combination could also be black and orange. 

People usually describe brown shades as dark or light, yellowish, reddish, or gray-brown. But they may have different names for some people. There are almost two dozen shades of brown with the following colors as some of the most common:

  1. Chestnut brown
  2. Rosy brown
  3. Dark brown
  4. Cocoa brown
  5. Chocolate brown
  6. Sandy brown
  7. Smokey topaz brown
  8. Wood brown
  9. Walnut brown
  10. Khaki brown
  11. Tan brown
  12. Beige brown
  13. Burnt amber brown
  14. Desert sand brown
  15. Beaver brown
  16. Peru brown
  17. Taupe brown
  18. Buff brown
  19. Russet brown
  20. Wenge brown

These skin colors are all different shades of brown skin that come from one primary color – brown.

Read on to learn more about shades of brown skin tones, how the colors look like, and how you can complement these skin tones with different colors.

Shades of Brown Skin

shades of brown skin tone

The combination of the colors yellow, red, and black produce shades of brown skin—also, the combination of black and orange. 

The colors have different names since there are no standardized names for each brown shade. So, people usually describe these brown shades as reddish, dark or light, yellowish, or gray-brown. 

20 of the most common shades of brown skin are as follows: 

1. Chestnut Brown

Chestnut brown is a solid reddish-brown color, resembling the color of chestnuts. It is darker brown as compared to the other shades.

2. Rosy Brown

Experts also classify rosy brown as a shade of red and brown. This color was created as one of the X11 web colors and comes at a hue of 359.

3. Dark Brown

Web colors classify dark brown as an orange-brown shade at a hue of 19. It is a dark tone of the color brown.

4. Cocoa Brown

Cocoa shades of brown skin are also classified as orange-brown at hue 25. The color reflects the cocoa’s perfect brown shade, as shown below.

5. Chocolate Brown

Chocolate brown is an orange-brown color, like that of chocolate, at a hue of 31. The color is a darker shade of brown too.

6. Sandy Brown

Also classified as orange-brown, sandy brown is a pale brown shade with the same color as the sand. Sandy brown is at a hue of 28. This color is one of the X11 web colors. [1]

7. Smokey Topaz Brown

Classified as an orange-brown or red-brown, smokey topaz is at hue 15 and is also named a vermilion-brown.

8. Wood

This shade is classified as orange-brown and is similar to the color of the wood. Moreover, it is at a hue of 33 and is also used to describe colors in botany and biology.

9. Walnut Brown

Walnut brown color is like the color of walnuts. Classified as an orange-brown, it is at a hue of 30. Walnut is more on the darker shade of brown.

10. Khaki

This brown shade is orange-brown and is a web color too. Khaki is at a hue of 37 and is on the lighter shade of brown.

11. Tan

This is a pale tone of orange-brown and is at a hue of 34. Moreover, it is the perfect brown skin color that many aspire for. The reason is that the shade is not too dark nor too light.

12. Beige Brown 

Beach brown’s color is similar to the color of unbleached wool. It is classified as a yellowish-brown color at a hue of 60 and is one of the lighter brown shades.

13. Burnt Umber Brown

This is classified as red-brown and comes from heated raw umber. Moreover, this particular shade is at a hue of 9.

14. Desert Sand Brown

Desert sand brown is at a hue of 19. Some people recognize it as a deep shade of beige, but it is an orange-brown tone. The color is a lighter shade of brown.

15. Beaver Brown

Just as the name implies, beaver brown is similar to a beaver’s color. It is an orange-brown tone and at a hue of 22.

16. Peru Brown

Peru was initially called Peruvian brown and classified as an orange-brown tone. This color is one of the X11 colors and is at a hue of 30.

17. Taupe Brown

This color is at a hue of 30 and represents the average color of the French mole’s fur. Taupe brown is an orange-brown color.

18. Buff Brown

Buff brown represents the buffed leather’s color. The pale yellowish-brown is at hue at 28 and is a lighter shade of brown.

19. Russet Brown

This skin color is dark brown with a reddish-orange tone. Experts classify it as an orange-brown color with a hue of 26.

20. Wenge Brown

This color represents Africa’s legume tree, which has a dark color. Wenge is reddish-brown and is at a hue of 9.

Note that people may name these colors differently. To visualize more brown colors, below is a shade of brown skin chart: [2] The names of many of these colors came from the list of X11 colors by the X Window system that SVG 1.0 standardized. [3

Some web browsers define several of these colors. The first column is the HTML name, the second column is the (Red, Green, and Blue) RGB hexadecimal, and the third column is the RGB decimal. Each of these values represents a shade in the RGB color scheme.

You do not have to worry if you have brown skin, as there are various colors that can complement your skin.

The general types of brown skin are red-brown, pale brown, medium brown, and dark brown.

What color of outfit would go well with your specific brown color? You can choose from the following recommendations.

Recommended Outfit Colors for Shades of Brown Skin

brown skin shades

Light Brown Skin or Pale Brown Skin

Light brown skin goes well with cream, beige, and earthly sand colors. You could also wear darker colors that complement each other. Avoid stark black or white.

If unsure what color to wear, four colors can go with any skin tone. These are Indian teal, mellow rose, eggplant, and true red.

Medium Brown Skin

Gray and black blend well with medium brown skin. You could also add accessories, such as gold or copper to complete your attire.

Warm colors like orange-yellow, purples, olive green, and deep reds can lend a daring look to your outfit too. 

Red-Brown or Dark Brown Skin

Dark gray goes well with dark brown skin. Also, lighter and brighter colors are good colors for people with darker skin. 

You could go bold and wear vibrant colors, such as emerald green or purple. But you can wear pastel colors too, such as mint greens, cream, light yellow, and blue attires. 

To complete your get-up, ruby earrings and a ring could be perfect. Sapphire and emerald go well with mint green and pastel attires as well.

Shades of brown skin come in light and dark colors. The lighter brown colors are rosy, buff, desert sand, sandy, wood, khaki, tan, wood, Peru, and beige. 

The darker brown colors are chestnut brown, dark brown, cocoa brown, chocolate brown, smokey topaz brown, walnut brown, burnt umber brown, beaver brown, taupe, russet brown, and wenge brown.

Your skin tone will also help determine what attire color you should use. Skin tones may change depending on the amount of sun exposure. The more time you are exposed to the sun, the darker your skin tone would be. [4]

What Is Brown Complexion?

Brown complexion comes in many shades, as described above. You can classify a skin color as brown when they range from light to medium to dark brown. You may want to refer to the list of the shades of brown above.

Why Do I Have Brown Skin?

Several factors affect your skin colors, such as genetics, the amount of melanin in your skin, and your environment (amount of sun exposure.)


Genetics plays a significant role whether your skin would be black, white, or brown. Genes are why a white couple will not have black children unless they have a black ancestor. But most likely, you would get 50% each of your skin colors from both of your parents.

The amount of melanin in your skin is also a result of genetics. The darker your skin is, the more melanin pigment you have. Melanocytes’ skin cells produce melanin. [5]

This principle applies to your eyes and hair too. The lighter your hair and eye color, the less melanin you have and vice versa.


Your environment plays a role in your skin color too. The skin of people in tropical countries tends to turn darker due to sun exposure. 

The sun’s ultraviolet rays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tend to be harmful and may increase your risk of skin cancer. [6] Researchers discovered that people with more melanin (darker skin tone) have more protection from the sun’s UV rays. 

People in tropical countries tend to develop more melanin to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. But the body also needs early morning sunshine to help the skin produce vitamin D. So. You can expose your skin to the sun during early mornings to get your dose of beneficial sunlight.

Remember to wear protective clothing and gear (umbrella, hat, and long-sleeved shirts) when going out between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to protect your skin. 

What Colors Look Good with Brown Skin?

brown skin tone picture

Brown color can blend in with any color, as it is one of nature’s colors. In general, the following colors will look good with dark or brown skin:

  • Emerald green
  • Shades of red
  • Gold
  • Pink
  • Shades of purple
  • Shades of blue

So, a combination of these dress colors will look good on brown skin. You will have to use your ingenuity and explore how your skin tone reacts with these colors.

They are not written on stone, so you can use whatever dress color you discover that could go well with your brown skin. 

What Lipstick Color Is Best for Brown Skin?

Shades of taupe or red lipstick will look good with darker skin tones like brown or dusky skin. If you want to be daring, you can wear a blazing red color to stand out amidst a crowd. 

A lighter red would do the trick as well when you want to go modest and straightforward. Try to experiment to find out what works for you best.  

Conclusion – Shades of Brown Skin

Shades of brown skin have various colors. Some of them are:

  1. Chestnut brown
  2. Rosy brown
  3. Dark brown
  4. Cocoa brown
  5. Chocolate brown
  6. Sandy brown
  7. Smokey topaz brown
  8. Wood brown
  9. Walnut brown
  10. Khaki brown
  11. Tan brown
  12. Beige brown
  13. Burnt umber brown
  14. Desert sand brown
  15. Beaver brown
  16. Peru brown
  17. Taupe brown
  18. Buff brown
  19. Russet brown
  20. Wenge brown

These colors may have different names in other color terminology; therefore, you can refer to the images to find your skin color.

There are more than 20 shades of brown skin, and each has a slightly different shade. Yet, the general classifications of brown shades are light brown, medium brown, and dark brown.

Brown is an incredible skin shade.

So, if your skin tone is brown, be proud of it and make yourself shine by choosing the right colors for your apparel and clothing.

Related reading:

Golden Brown Skin Tone – What Is It? [With Pictures]

What Is Golden Skin Tone? (With Pictures)

What Is Bronze Skin Tone? (With Pictures)

What Is Caramel Skin Tone? (With Pictures)

The 6 Skin Complexion Types – and Tips for Each Type