Choose either the highlighting kit where everything comes pre-measured for your convenience, or visit a beauty supply store that sells to the public and choose your own ingredients. If this is your first highlighting experience, a kit will introduce you to the process. But, if you’re familiar with applying the mixture, purchasing your own professional supplies allows you to choose custom highlighting shades and specialty caps.
Highlights add excitement and movement to flat hair, creating variation in the color and softening the lines of your face. Depending upon your hair’s natural color and texture, you can create blond highlights that are either soft and feminine or bold and aggressive. Even black hair can have blond highlights but the process takes a little longer than adding highlights to light brown or blond hair.
- Highlighting kit
- Bleaching powder
- 40-weight cream developer
- 20-weight liquid developer
- Plastic highlighting cap (with holes)
- Plain plastic cap (the disposable kind)
- Plastic crochet hook
- Plastic bowl
- Highlighting brush
- Protective gloves and cape
Begin with dry hair. Shampoo one or two days in advance. The natural oils in the hair protect the hair shaft from breaking. Brush your hair until all tangles are removed and brush it straight back from your face.
Pull the highlighting cap over your head, tying it securely under your chin. It’s important to secure the cap snugly to keep it from shifting during the application process.
Use the small tip of the crochet hook to poke into the holes in the highlighting cap and pull a small bit of hair out of the hole. For fine highlights, use a tiny crochet hook that picks up only a few strands of hair. This will result in the most natural look. For heavier highlights, use a slightly bigger hook.
Put on the protective cape and gloves before you mix the highlighting as directed in the kit. Or, if you’re mixing your own, sprinkle the highlighting powder into the bowl and gradually add the 40-weight cream developer until the mixture resembles a thin paste.
Smooth the highlighting mixture on the exposed strands of hair with the brush, taking care not to let it drip on clothing or carpeting. Distribute the cream evenly on all of the strands and then cover your head with the plain plastic cap.
Check your hair at the initial time recommended on the kit or, if you’re using your own mixture, check it every 10 minutes. Kit highlighting is less potent and will take slightly longer.
Allow your hair to lift beyond any orange stages until it reaches blond. Some people become concerned if they check their hair and it is orange. However, dark hair often goes through an orange stage if the hair has underlying red tones. Just put the plain plastic cap back on and check it again in 10 more minutes.
Rinse the highlighting cream from your hair before removing the cap and then shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
- Photo Credit Photo, curtesy of Stock.xchng
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