Everything You Need to Know About Hair Highlights
Think you’ve watched enough tutorials to know how to dye your own highlights? Think again. Highlights are pretty tricky, even for professionals who do it on the daily! But if we’re being honest, we know that getting box dye at the pharmacy is so much cheaper and fun to do with the besties. However, box dye is great for an all-around application. When it comes to highlights, it’s all about precision to create natural-looking hair.
Compared to dyeing your entire head, creating highlights consists of a very detailed procedure. If one step goes wrong, so does the entire job. This is especially if you plan on using a couple of shades lighter than your natural hair. It may require bleaching, which is a whole other detailed procedure as well. For example, if you don’t tone your bleached strands, you could be left with a very awkward shade of yellowish-orange. Don’t get us started on leaving the bleach on for too long on your hair.
There is a lot at stake, but we know that you came to read this article to find out how to do it on your own anyway. With the advice from hair experts, we compiled a list of tips and also things to avoid when doing your highlights on your own. Let’s get started!
Consult a Professional
Nothing wrong with getting help from an experienced individual who does highlights for a living! This is especially if this is the first time you’re attempting to do so. You may not know the best products for your hair type, and if anything goes wrong, you might have to deal with the aftermath for a long time. But with the opinion of a professional, you get personalized advice specifically for you and your hair. Trying to navigate on your own is possible, but it can be very arduous and also a shot in the dark.
If you can, try to get it done by a professional on the first go. This definitely saves you the trouble of having to go in the end anyway to remedy your DIY mistakes. If not, there are some salons that offer free consultations — so you don’t necessarily have to get it done there.
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What Type of Highlighting Processes Are There?
Now that you are equipped with helpful information, it’s time to put together a kit to get you started. If you’re just looking to touch up old highlights, getting a single process color might be your best bet. All you have to do is apply the color, rinse it off, and voila! If it’s just to touch up your roots, this application is easy-peasy. Experts recommend using semi-permanent colors as they aren’t as harsh as permanent ones.
These work well if you already have light hair. If you have dark virgin hair, a single process color may not bear any results for you. With dark hair, oftentimes you have to use bleach to lift the color. And if it’s your first time, bleaching can and will go wrong very fast! You may even end up dissolving your beautiful tresses. When bleach is in the picture, it’s referred to as a double-process type of job. After bleaching, you have to tone your hair to make it look natural. It’s highly recommended to do it professionally if you need a double-process job to avoid damages to your hair that may be irreversible.
At salons, professionals either use aluminum foil or do a “balayage”. According to many hairstylists, balayage is the most sought-after highlight technique because it blends easily with hair regrowth.
What Your Kit Needs
If you’re doing a single process job, your kit should already come with instructions, gloves, icing apparatus, application bottle, and application brush. Only do this on your own if your stylist recommends you the product because hair mistakes are extremely hard to correct and are very costly too.
In a double-process job, you will need some aluminum foil, a comb, gloves, bleach, and peroxide. Choose a low-volume peroxide to avoid dissolving your hair. Refer to descriptions online to know which ones work best for your current hair color. When it comes to bleaching, take note that it will irritate your skin upon contact. Sometimes, it may feel like it creates fumes that cause your eyes to water. If you have sensitive skin, we highly recommend seeing a professional to help avoid creating adverse effects.
Remember to get a rat tail comb and many clips to help you out with sectioning your hair neatly. Without clean and neat sections, your DIY highlighting job could easily bleed onto other sections of your hair, leaving you with a patchy job. Experts advise to stay away from the back of the head, and only highlight areas like your parting and hair around your face. In fact, do as little as possible.
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Test Out the Waters
Professionals recommend sectioning a small amount of hair to test out the product before committing fully. Test this on clean hair to ensure that other products or impurities don’t affect the product’s performance. After application, use the foil to wrap it up. Keep an eye out for a light shade of yellow (or just yellow) because that indicated your hair is ready. If you have darker hair, it takes longer to lift color with bleach. The speed of the color change depends on each individual, so don’t panic. Don’t touch your test strands in between checks!
If all goes well, get to sectioning! This helps keep you organized and ensures minimal color bleeding. After you’re done with the application, don’t forget to tone your hair.
Like any hair care routine, ensure you deep condition your hair. Color-lifting products like bleach can be very harsh on your hair as they strip it of its moisture. This makes your hair very vulnerable to breakage and can lead to split ends and unmanageable hair.
There you have it — we hope this has helped shed some insight into the daunting world of hair highlight applications. Always consult a professional whenever you’re in doubt because winging it can lead to irreversible damages that can cost you a lot to cover up.
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