A color cascade with hair highlights
Highlights light up your hair – literally! Depending on the product, home color application kits can lighten streaks of light blonde to medium brown hair by up to six shades. Your highlighting technique decides whether you create thin and almost imperceptible glints, defined blonde hair highlights, or broader color blocks. As a general rule, the finer the highlight the more natural the effect, such as with blonde balayage. There are a number of different methods you can use to achieve stunning hair highlights at home: here we take a look at some of the best.
Streaking caps for natural-looking highlights in your hair
Using a streaking cap creates the most natural looking hair highlights. However, this method also takes the most effort. Below, we show you how to highlight your own hair using one of these ingenious and inexpensive caps.
Step 1: Put the streaking cap on top of your dry combed hair and secure it by fastening the straps underneath your chin. Don’t push all of your hair underneath the cap but simply allow it to stick out. Cover the hair on your neck with a towel.
Step 2: Pull strands of your hair through the perforations in the cap using a highlighting needle. Use every second or third perforation for a less dense number of highlights. It is important to hold the highlighting needle as flat as possible. Make sure that the hook always points upward.
Step 3: Ensure there are no knots in the strands you have selected before preparing and applying the streaking mix to the hair. How long you allow the mix to develop in the strands depends on the desired bleaching effect. The product instructions and color chart will help you find the right application time for your hair, so that you end up with perfect blonde hair highlights.
Step 4: At the end of the application time, rinse the streaks with water and then remove the cap. You should then shampoo your hair and use a leave in conditioner for three minutes. Rinse your hair thoroughly a final time and style it as usual.
How to highlight hair using a streaking brush
To create hair highlights in just a few select places you can use a streaking brush. This allows you to have total control over where you add the lightened effect, be it all over your head or just in a select area, such as on your bangs. The following steps explain how to highlight hair using this method:
Step 1: Comb your hair thoroughly and part it in its usual place.
Step 2: Prepare the streaking mix and apply it to the desired hair strands using the streaking brush. Avoid applying the streaking mix to the scalp as best you can. We recommend leaving about a quarter of an inch of the hair strands near the scalp untreated, as this will make the transition to the growing root portion look more natural later on.
Step 3: If highlighting hair at home, you’ll need two mirrors to be able to accurately work the back of your head or, better still, the help of a friend. The application time depends on the original color of your hair and the desired degree of bleaching.
Step 4: At the end of the application time, thoroughly rinse your hair with water before washing it with a mild shampoo. Allow the conditioner to remain in your hair for a few minutes. Finally, rinse your hair again.
Using a highlighting comb
A highlighting comb used on top of an applicator bottle allows you to set slightly broader three-fold blonde hair highlights. To use this method follow these steps:
Step 1: Part your hair in a zig-zag line to create a casual look. Briefly practice using the applicator on a sheet of paper to get a feel for the required pressure on the bottle.
Step 2: Blonde hair highlights should never be rushed, so hold the applicator with the bleaching color mix vertically over your scalp and evenly guide it over a strand of hair in one sweeping motion. While moving the applicator tip evenly over the strand of hair from the roots to the ends, apply the same amount of pressure on the bottle.
Step 3: Keep the application time within the recommended range for the product. Then rinse, shampoo and condition your hair as with other application techniques.
Other important facts when learning how to highlight hair at home
- Use blonde hair highlight formula immediately after mixing it and never save any for later use. Only freshly mixed applications guarantee good results.
- Never cover the hair with plastic film or a shower cap while the streaking mix is in your hair. This may lead to hair damage because heat builds up underneath the cover, and the alkalizing agent cannot escape.
- Be sure to wear old clothing and protective gloves while highlighting hair. Loose mix may otherwise permanently cause light spots and ruin valuable clothing.
- Even if looking to create dark hair highlights at home, always perform a stand test first to determine whether you are allergic to the coloring mixture. You find instructions for the allergy test on the product package and inside the box.
- Be sure to avoid inhaling dust from the bleaching powder while mixing it with the developer liquid.
- Use the provided conditioner after rinsing out the streaking mix. This keeps your hair looking healthy and beautiful.
- Putting blonde hair highlights in your hair right after using permanent dye is not a good idea. Allow your hair a recovery time of at least two weeks after either of these two treatments. Only then should you plan the next treatment.