Whether you’re looking for a subtle way to lighten your hair, want to add dimension and shine, or just need to brighten your look, highlights are definitely the way to go.
Unfortunately, there are more than a few ways for highlights to go wrong – and believe me, I know. I once ended up with thick, orange stripes that left me looking like tabby cat – so before you head to the salon or the drug store to pick up an at-home kit, here are a few tips to ensure that you wind up with gorgeous, natural highlights that make you look like your hair’s been kissed by the sun.
Go to the Salon the First Time
At-home highlighting kits have come a long way in recent years – like L’oreal Ferira Multi-Faceted Shimmering Hair Highlighting Kit or Revlon Frost & Glow – but it can be tricky to get the right look if you’ve never had highlights before. If you’re a highlight virgin, it’s usually best to go to a salon so a color specialist can help you pick out the best shade and placement for your highlights. Once your hair is highlighted and you know what you like best, it’ll be easier to mimic the look at home with a kit.
The key to beautiful highlights is a natural look, so one of the biggest mistakes is choosing a shade that’s too cool or ashy. When hair lightens naturally in the sun, it usually picks up a warmer tone. The trick is deciding whether to choose a golden or reddish hue for your highlights. If you’re unsure, think about what color your hair turns when you spend time in the sun and look for a similar shade for your highlights.
Aim for Subtle
Picking out the right tone for your highlights is crucial if you want a natural look, but the depth of the color is just as important. You want your highlights to look subtle, as if your hair was naturally lightened by the sun, so you shouldn’t highlight with a color that’s three or four shades darker than your base color. Instead, keep your highlights about two shades lighter than the base color so there’s a nice, subtle dimension to your hair.
Don’t Go Too Chunky
We’ve probably all seen women who got a little too enthusiastic with the highlights and wound up with striped hair. If your highlights are too wide or chunky, you’ll end up with a similar look – which is never flattering on anyone. Add highlights in thinner sections so they blend with your base color for a natural look. And don’t add too many either – the striped skunk look can also occur if your hair is loaded up with tons of thinner highlights.
Keep It to the Upper Layers
Your highlights will look more natural if you keep them in the upper layers of your hair where the sun would naturally hit it. The bottom layers will keep their darker shade, adding depth and dimension to your locks. And when it comes to placement, you can’t go wrong with some soft, face-framing highlights. They’ll brighten your skin and make you look younger – who wouldn’t want that?