How to Get Great Hair Highlights At Home

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Well-done hair highlights can make a stunning statement about both your hairstyle and you! Whether you want to highlight short, medium, or long hair, just follow these tips to get salon-quality hair highlights that can easily be done at home.

Things You'll Need

  • L'Oreal Hair Highlighting Kit
  • hairstyling magazines
  • old clothes
  • L'Oreal hair highlighting kit
  • blow drier
  • old towels

How to get great hair highlights on short hair

  1. First look through some magazines and find pictures of highlighted hair. Not all hair highlights are the same so keep your eyes peeled for bold streaks and subtle shading to see which you prefer.

  2. Buy a home highlighting kit that is designed for your length of hair. Those with short hair will do best with a hair highlighting kit that includes a cap and hook, while those with long hair should pick up a kit that includes a special application brush that lets you "paint" on the highlights.

  3. Choose a hair highlighting color that will give you the results you're looking for. For a subtle effect try buying a color only two to three shades lighter than your natural color. For a bolder look try a light blonde or bold red as your highlight of choice.

  4. Keep your coloring in mind. If you look better in cool colors, such as purples, cool blues or bright yellows you are a "cool" colored person. Choose platinum or ash toned blondes or violet based reds. If you look great in browns, warm orange colors or warm reds then you are a "warm" person. Stick to golden or buttery blondes and orange based reds such as auburns or flame reds.

  5. Perform highlights on completely dry hair. If at all possible, try to highlight your hair on a day that you haven't washed it. The natural oils of your hair will help protect your strands during the coloring process.

  6. Highlighting your hair in either a bathroom or kitchen is best. Remove anything in the area you'll be using that may be ruined should it come in contact with some of the color solution.

  7. Put on an old shirt that you won't be worried about ruining. Also, have some old towels on hand to wrap around your shoulders and protect counter tops.

  8. Brush hair thoroughly to remove all tangles. If you have long hair be sure to brush your hair into the style you usually wear it in. This will ensure you place your highlights right where they'll make the most impact.

  9. Open the highlighting kit and read the instructions from start to finish before beginning. Make sure to read any cautions or recommendations. You'll also want to note any toll free help line numbers on the box, just in case you hit a snag in your hair highlighting endeavor.

  10. Drape your shoulders with one of the old towels and secure with a hair clip. This will help catch drips.

  11. Place the hair highlighting cap on your head and pull it down so it sits snugly on the head. Tie the strings tightly but so you are still comfortable.

  12. Grasp the hook included in the kit as you would a pencil. Starting as close to your front hairline as possible, carefully puncture the designated holes of the cap with the hook. For the best results have the hook come in at a slight angle.

  13. If you want thin hair highlights that will enhance your color but generally blend in, only pull out thin sections of hair from the punctured hole. This is best achieved by not letting the hook penetrate your hair too deeply once the cap has been punctured. For thicker and bolder highlights pull larger sections out by going deeper into your hair.

  14. Continue to carefully pull out the desired amount of strands until you satisfied. You may want to pull out sections only in the front for a subtle lift around the face or all over for a lighter effect throughout.

  15. Once all the hair is pulled through the cap put on your protective gloves and mix the coloring agents according to the directions. Be sure to shake the bottle well before applying to the hair.

  16. Coat all the pulled out sections thoroughly with the color and use your fingers in a lathering motion to be sure no hair is missed.

  17. Set timer for the designated processing time, according to the kit's directions and place a plastic loosely over highlights to keep the heat of your scalp intact. This heat will help the color process faster.

  18. Once the time is up, use a towel to gently remove the color from one or two of the strands. Grab a section of the towel in both hands and place the hair between your hands. Rub back and forth in a gently scrubbing motion until the strands are mostly free of color. Check to see that the color is close to what you wanted. Remember, your hair is still damp from the color so it will dry slightly lighter than it appears now.

  19. Once the color is done remove the cap and rinse your hair thoroughly. If possible, avoid shampooing your hair to remove the color as the cuticle, or outer layer, of the hair is still slightly open. Washing may prematurely remove or fade your new hair highlights. Instead rinse very well and apply a conditioner to seal the cuticle and moisturize the hair shaft.

  20. Towel dry hair and use a blow drier to dry your hair. This will allow you to check out those new highlights in all their glory. If any problems are apparent call the toll free number and speak to a professional.

How to get great hair highlights on long hair

  1. Follow the instructions for short hair, as listed above, up to and including number ten.

  2. Making sure your hair is styled as you'd normally wear it, have a good look at how your hair sits and where you'd most like to see highlights.

  3. Hair highlights around the face add brightness and definition so consider placing a few highlights on the sides of your hair that frame your face. Bangs are also the perfect place for a few highlights.

  4. Keep in mind where your part is. A few highlights along your hair's part is recommended and will help define the direction of your style.

  5. Once you know where you want your highlights to go, put on your protective gloves and mix the color according to the kit's directions. Always be sure the color is mixed thoroughly before applying.

  6. Following the directions, load up the brush included with the kit and slowly begin to paint on your highlights. For thinner and subtler hair highlights use less color on the brush and paint the color on by skimming the surface of the hair. For bolder highlights use more color per swipe and go deeper into the hair sections.

  7. Don't be afraid to mix it up. You don't have to have all bold or all fine highlights. For a little variety try bolder highlights around the face and more subtle highlight further back towards your part or the crown of your head.

  8. Once you are satisfied with the placement of your highlights begin timing your color and leave on for the recommended processing time.

  9. Check if your hair highlights are done grab a towel and rub the color off of one or two of the highlighted sections of hair. Remember that the final result will be slightly lighter than what you see.

  10. Rinse your hair thoroughly to remove all the color from your hair. Skip the shampoo to avoid prematurely removing your new color but apply a moisturizing conditioner to seal your hair's outer layer.

  11. Towel dry and blow dry your hair to be sure your hair highlights are just as you wanted. If you see any problems use the toll free help line to speak to a professional.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult with a hair color specialist or licensed cosmetologist if you are unsure what type of hair highlighting products are best for you.
  • Feeling bold? Try blonde highlights on bright red or dark brown hair. Keep the blonde a neutral shade without too much gold tones to it. A Beige or wheat colored blonde works best for this technique.
  • Don't want the same tired old highlights? Try using two colors instead of just one. Try using one color that's two shades lighter than your natural color and another color that's two shades darker. Alternate them or use them ind different sections of your head. Just be sure they don't mix while processing.
  • Highlights don't have to start at the root. Try painting on your highlights either starting an inch or two from the root or only the last one to two inches of the ends of your layers. This gives a new twist on the traditional highlighting look. Highlighting just your ends also means you can change your look more often as they'll be cut out faster--all the great color but less commitment!
  • Already a blonde? Glam up a head of blonde hair by adding thin highlights in a platinum color. Try strawberry blonde highlights for red hair and honey blonde highlights for sable brown base colors.
  • Read all labels carefully prior to purchase and follow all directions completely during application of a product.
  • Don't try and highlight hair around the sides and back of short hair if the hair in those areas is less than one inch long. Super short hair that is highlighted will ends up looking like leopard spots to keep the highlights for hair that is at least one inch or longer in length.
  • It can be hard keeping long hair pieces in place while waiting for the color to process. Be sure the color doesn't rub off onto sections you don't want highlighted or that there aren't blobs of color on your scalp.

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