Tips for applying hair highlights

Thinking of highlighting your hair but can't afford to go the salon? Read ahead for tips on how to highlight your own hair.

Many people prefer for a professional to handle their highlights, and with good reason---an expert colorist will help you decide what colors will look best on you and will make sure the job is done right. But what about those of us who want a new look but can't afford salon coloring? It's certainly possible to achieve great results at home, and there are numerous kits and products on the market designed to help you highlight your own hair.

What Kind of Dye?

In the hair dye aisle of your drugstore or grocery store, you can find numerous kits for at-home highlighting. If you decide to purchase a ready-made kit, keep the following things in mind:

-Ask your friends what brands they've used and how they've felt about them.

-Read the box carefully. Some highlighting kits won't work on certain shades of hair. Make sure you get the right kind for your hair color.

-Different types of kits offer different effects. A one-color kit, with a color that is dramatically different from your own, will create dramatic streaks of color; there are also kits designed to create natural-looking highlights.

You can also find professional hair dye, the same stuff that colorists use, at a local beauty supply shop (like Sally's). This is advisable if you intend to bleach in highlights. Read the instructions thoroughly on the package before purchasing to make sure that you get the right kind of dye for your hair.

The Right Tools

To be able to do a salon-quality highlighting job, you need salon-quality tools. Visit your local beauty supply shop (like Sally's) to find the following supplies:

-Disposable gloves. The disposable gloves that come with home highlighting/dying kits are huge! Buy gloves that fit you.

-Paintbrushes. Don't bother with the one that comes in the kit. Instead, pick up some cheap paintbrushes from an art supply store.


-A smock or towel to protect your clothing.

The Technique

One easy way to do your own highlights is to simply dip your glove-covered fingers in the bleach or dye, then run your fingers through your hair wherever you want highlights. Painting on streaks with a paintbrush can also deliver excellent effects.

Many at-home highlighting kits come with caps that have holes punched in. Basically, you wear the cap and pull locks of hair through the holes, then you paint those strands of hair. However, this type of all-over highlighting is often best left to professionals.

Tips and Hints

-Do not wash your hair the day that you plan to highlight. The oils in your hair will help to protect your scalp and your hair from the chemicals in the bleach or dye, so having one or two days worth of buildup is a good thing.

-Before you start highlighting, style your hair as you normally do. This way, you can best see where you want the highlights to go. For a natural, sun-kissed look, take note of where your natural highlights fall, then simply strive to enhance these.

-Team up with a friend. A friend can see parts of your head that you can't! Have your friend help paint on your highlights, then switch and lend your friend a hand.

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