How to Achieve Perfect Hair Highlights

Serena Norr | 24 April 2016

Get sun-kissed highlights easily.

Mixing up our look is our jam, but it can be really challenging to commit to one color, especially if you are super open to trying new hues. One of our fave ways to dip (literally) into color is to experiment with hair highlights. Not only can you try something new; lighter strands here and there gives you a gateway into the world of color without the huge commitment of all-over color processing. But, like any type of color processing, there’s a lot going on in the world of highlights. From multi-dimensional highlights to chunky streaks to popular dip-dyed ends, you really need to know the facts as you embark on creating killer highlights. Read on as we give you a primer in all things highlights to help you achieve this look.

Types of Hair Highlights

blonde summer highlights
Freshen up your look with sun kissed highlights. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

There are various types of highlights you can try out. Check out a recap of some of the most common types:

1. Chunky Highlights

This look is defined by its thick, choppy streaks that will dominate your hair. Super popular in the 90s, this look is experiencing that’s bold and dramatic.

2. Multi-Dimensional Highlights

This look is generally characterized by the blend of different tones. This look generally looks pretty natural as the colors intertwine with each other.

3. Dip-Dyed (Ombré) Highlights

Often called ombré highlights, this trendy look is characterized by its painted effect that is highlighted towards the end of the strands. This low-commitment highlighting technique generally grows out of your hair and is favorable for those who don’t want highlights from the roots to the tips.

4. Frosted Highlights

These highlights are similar to chunky highlights and have a pronounced look. However, frosted highlights are generally even thicker, showing very little of your natural color.

5. Thin Highlights

Often called face framing highlights or the lazy gals bestie (ok, we made that one up), thin highlights are really subtle as they literally let your face ‘pop’ while adding a subtle boost to your locks. For the lazy gals (holla!), you’ll love this foray into color that will quickly grow out, creating a sun-kissed look that you can pretend is so natural.

Achieving Highlights at Home

Now that you know what type of highlights you want to achieve, here’s more about how you can do them at home.

1. Read the instructions.

Sorry, not sorry if this sounds obvious, but unlike single- process color, you’ll want to make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing. This includes understanding the specifics of how you’re going to be applying the bleach, as well as how much you need for your particular length.

2. Do the strand test.

We know this is one of things that no one loves to do, but it’s so important to test your strands, especially since you may be lifting your hair color significantly with highlights. Don’t forget to wear those gloves cause dyed hands aren’t cute (or safe!).

3. Apply your streaks.

The signature look of highlights are those awesome streaks. Prep your head by placing some lotion or petroleum jelly around your hairline to ensure that no dye leaks onto your forehead. Brush your hair and part it as you normally do. Mix the dye as per instructions on the box and using the applicator brush, apply the dye on your hair based on the level of highlights you want to achieve. For those that want chunky streaks, you can apply the dye rather thickly throughout the top of the roots and towards the strands. For lighter, thinner highlights, use a sparse amount of dye as you paint about inch-thick slivers on your hair. You don’t want to be all that strict about placement, especially if you are going for a more natural highlighted look (look at you, master balayager!). Insider tip: Use an old toothbrush to apply highlights if you want very subtle precision.

4. Use the enclosed conditioner.

Most hair coloring kits come with a conditioner. Be sure to to use this formula after you dye hair. You may even need a deeper conditioner to revive and nourish your newly highlighted strands.

5. Maintain your look.

Keep your highlighted look a little bit longer by avoiding intense heat styling (blowdryers and flat irons are usually the culprit) and use a color-protectant shampoo and conditioner, which can help maintain color as it prevents dryness and dullness. Try the TRESemmé Color Revitalize Shampoo and the TRESemmé Color Revitalize Conditioner whose formulas, when used as a system, can keep your color up to 8 weeks.

6. Give your hair some extra love in the form of a hair mask.

While highlighted hair looks awesome, you may also find your hair starting to feel really dry and even look damaged! No need to freak. Simply incorporate a nourishing hair mask into your hair care regimen to protect your strands. Try the Suave Professionals Moisture Mask with Almond + Shea Butter whose formula can re-hydrate your hair, while making it super soft.

There you have it – some simple and easy tips to help you highlight your hair at home.

Have you ever highlighted your hair? How easy/difficult was the experience?

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