peekaboo highlights

The Lowdown on Lowlights: The Best Shade for Your Base Color

This often overlooked technique can be a total color game-changer.

Thinking of getting highlights this summer? We’re all about sprucing up your hair color, but why not consider getting lowlights as well? If you are sporting blonde hair or a darker color, having your stylist give you some lowlights is a great way to maximize your new hue without doing too much.

Lowlights, especially when worn with highlights, add depth and dimension to your hair so much better than a single-process ever could. The secret is knowing which shades suit your base color the best. Read on for some quick tips on this oft-neglected technique:

blonde lowlights
Lowlights enrich a regular blonde with much more personality. Photo credit: Dvora

How do you choose a lowlights shade that is best for your current base color?

The general rule: It is usually best to choose a shade that is within three shades darker than your base. Any darker and it risks looking streaky; any lighter and you end up with more highlights, which, although flattering, is a whole other story altogether.

Get them too dark and they won’t blend in well with your hair. If you want a richer color, it’s definitely better to combine lowlights and highlights and have them done professionally.

What shades will work best for your specific color?

If you are a brunette, shades in the red and brown hair color families will work best for you. Chocolate, rust, auburn and cinnamon are some shades to try. Any lighter color—such as beige, for example—you might end up drifting too much from your dark color and will end up looking as a highlight, and dare we mention, give that dreaded dated/German Shepherd streaks effect.

Blonde hair goes better with a deep brondes or the light brown family. Caramel, honey, toffee, bronze and beige are some of the colors to look out for.

If you are blessed with red hair, you might have to choose colors from the reddish-brown family, such as auburn, or choose complements from the golden-brown family, such as strawberry or rose gold.

Do you have nearly black hair? Lowlights might not be too visible on this particular shade, but you can still play with dimension by choosing colors in the brown family or try out luxuriant dark tones such as plum and magenta.

With gray hair, you must be very careful. Choosing colors that are only one shade darker is safe for you to avoid looking like you’re actually gray-ing. Two colors darker than your original color is a safe bet.

Skintone plays a part too

Your skin tone also plays a big role in what type of lowlights you should use as well. If you have fair skin with a warm undertone, deep red and cinnamon tones will work well for you. For fair skin with cool undertones, dark chocolate and light brown tones are best to look out for.

In the case of medium skin with warm undertones, golden brown to deep red accents is best. On the other hand, on medium skin with cool undertones, the best options are lighter browns and even dark espresso shades.

If you have dark skin with warm undertones, then deep caramel, as well as dark brown, will be flattering. Darker skin with cool undertones goes well with blue and purple-hued shades, such as a raven and deep wine or cherry, as well as dark brown colors.

How do you care for lowlights during the summer?

Summer comes with its own fair share of extreme heat. Taking good care of your lowlights is quite essential, especially if you want the color to last. Using a shampoo and a conditioner that is safe for use on colored hair, such as the Dove Nutritive Solutions Color Care Shampoo and the Dove Nutritive Solutions Color Care Conditioner, is very important.

Touchups, like regular dye or highlights, can be spaced out every six weeks or even longer, as lowlights can afford more regrowth and still look fresh. If you want it to retain the color for a longer period (especially before the pool or beach), apply a pre-poo treatment such as Nexxus New York Salon Care Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer to help repel water, and lock in color and help with retention.

It’s time to get out of the norm and try out some lowlights this summer. It could be one of the best style decisions you will ever make!

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