Highlights are streaks of color that contrast your base hair color. The coloring is done with lightener and/or direct dyes and a variety of techniques.
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The color of your hair has a huge impact on the appearance of the rest of your body. This is why it’s important to make sure your hair color complements your skin tone and facial features.
There are a variety of hair coloring techniques that stylists use to create highlights. One of the most popular is balayage, which involves painting color onto sections of the hair using a freehand application for a more natural, sun-kissed effect. Another popular technique is baby lights, which are very fine highlights.
Hair color can be a fun way to express yourself, but it can also be a bit tricky. If you dye your hair, it’s important to know how to care for it so that it stays healthy and vibrant. We tapped celebrity colorist and dpHUE education lead Justin Anderson and color specialist Jocelyn Smith for their tips on everything from the difference between demi-permanent and semi-permanent hair color to how to prevent fading.
If you’re a natural brunette looking for a little brightness, ask your stylist for some partial highlights that blend into your mid-shaft. This subtle transition from brown to blonde accentuates your features and creates a beautiful contrast in your color story.
The classic way to get highlights involves woven sections of hair in foil and then bleaching them. This is the most time-consuming technique, but it gives you a bright, even look that’s great for those who want to make a big change in their appearance.
Balayage is a more subtle highlighting method where your stylist paints in small spots of color on the top half of your head, often around your face and crown area. This method is less maintenance than traditional highlights, allowing you to go longer between touch-ups.
Try sandy or golden blonde highlights on top of your brunette base to add a hint of sun-kissed warmth and dimension to your strands. This face-framing style works especially well for wavy girls because it showcases each individual strand of your hair for a super dynamic look!
Full highlights are great for a dramatic all-over color change. Whether done with foils or the balayage process, full highlights lighten a large section of your hair, usually all the way to your scalp. This creates more contrast and can make your hair look fuller and thicker.
They can be used to create a variety of looks, from natural and sun-kissed to more dramatic and glamorous. They also offer a more even brightness across your entire head, which can be great for camouflaging grays or fading roots.
When choosing between full and partial highlights, consider your desired appearance and how much maintenance you’re willing to put into your hair. Partial highlights require less upkeep and will be less visible as your hair grows out, but may not provide as much of a change in appearance. On the other hand, full highlights will be more noticeable as your hair grows out, but will provide more of a transformation and can be less damaging to your hair.
Highlights create a not-so-boring look for both men and women. When done right, highlights frame the face and draw attention to a layered haircut. They are also useful for covering gray hair, especially since they fade much slower than all over base color.
For the best results, you should always choose a stylist that has experience with highlighting techniques like foils and balayage. Foil highlights use aluminum foil strips to create patterns or shapes with lighter strands throughout naturally darker hair. This technique can provide bold or subtle contrast while balayage hand-paints lightening product onto the head in sweeping motions, creating a more natural sun-kissed gradient effect.
Frosting is another highlighting option, but it’s not typically as flattering as balayage or ombre because the color is too stark and not as gradual. In addition to that, frosting requires the highlighting cap to be removed for re-toning and is typically more costly. This option is great for someone who wants to go blonde, but does not want to commit to an all over lightening process and associated base color touch ups.