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DIY Hair Highlights: A Guide to Successfully Highlighting Your Hair at Home

How to Successfully Highlight Your Hair at Home

Highlighting your hair at home can be a cost-effective way to switch up your look. However, it can be a bit tricky and requires some preparation and patience, especially If you have never done it before. If your favorite celebrity look inspires you and you want to flaunt the same hair color highlight but do not want to break your budget with all those expensive salon treatments, we have got you covered through this blog post.

If you want to take some risks and skip the same hair color trend, you may add beautifully-looking streaks to your hair, making you stand out. Highlights not only beautify your hair but also enhance your facial features as well. From choosing semi-permanent to demi-permanent or temporary hair colors, you may opt for a lot of options available out there. These hair colors are not limited to only single shade dye but are also used to highlight your hair strands as well.

Highlighting Techniques that You Need to KnowHighlighting Techniques that You Need to Know

Want to do some DIY highlights? You should be aware of some interesting highlighting techniques, and you may opt for the one that suits you.


Balayage can be your go-to technique for ladies who want to add a soft, radiant, and more natural look to their hair through highlights. During this method, you don’t have to section your hair strands, apply the desired color free-handedly closer to the scalp, and freely sweep it down to the ends. Balayage may stay for 4 months or even longer if you properly care for your hair.

Color Melting

To achieve natural, sun-kissed highlights, color melting combines many hues of hair colors together flawlessly. This highlighting technique gives a seamless and gradual transition between two colors which looks like the two colors melting into each other. The stylist will use multiple shades of the same hair color to create a subtle and smooth transition between the colors.


Foiling adds more depth and dimension to the highlights and gives you more control over your hair. During the technique, various sections are created through the hairs, and the color is applied to the sectioned strands and folded in aluminum foils. The foil helps to trap heat and moisture, which accelerates the processing time of the color, resulting in a more dramatic and consistent color.

Things to Understand before You add Hair Highlights at HomeThings to Understand before You add Hair Highlights at Home

While doing hair highlights at home can be trickier than doing the same hair dye color, as the former requires more control and precision. The color proportions, mixing & blending, and opting for the right technique – you should know everything before jumping into the DIY color highlights bandwagon.

There has never been a better time before to experiment with completely new hair coloring styles, such as highlights, whether they are gentle and subtle or thick and heavy. This is not something that you would want to do at home, especially if you are a novice, and for the fact that any minor inaccuracy with color blending might leave your hair looking terrible. Before you begin the process, remember a few things that might help you throughout the process.

Color Selection

The color you choose to highlight your hair should be lighter than your natural hair shade. A color that is one or two shades lighter than your natural base color would do the trick. Also, remember that hair color or highlights put a lot of impression on your overall facial features. The color you choose for the highlights may either make or break your entire personality. So before choosing the color shade, you must know your skin undertone and the overall impression that the color would put on your skin complexion.

Choose the Right Technique

The different kinds of applying highlights on the hair are mentioned above, and while doing the DIY hair highlights, it is important to know the technique which you will apply thoroughly. Whether you want to opt for foiling, balayage, or ombre, you must know the effects and application methods.

Do not Forget the ‘Sun’ Factor

During summers, when the earth is closer to the sun, and hairs are more exposed to its light, one should go for brighter color hues. However, in winter, deeper and golden color hues are suggested as the sun throws less light during this time, so hair should have glitzy golden shades.

Constant Care

Going for the highlights means that your hair would need proper care to maintain those highlights. Otherwise, your hair streaks will lose their color and shine and will turn out to look brassy if not cared for properly. Choose a low-sulfate shampoo with color-safe ingredients to prevent your color from fading after washing.

Do the Strand Test

Before applying the formula to your hair strands, try to test a small amount of it on a single strand on the underside to see the results.

Now that you know how to highlight hair at home, let’s begin the process.

Step By Step Procedure to Highlight Hair at HomeStep By Step Procedure to Highlight Hair at Home

Multiple highlight kits are available in the market that give you the desired tone and make it easy to do it yourself at home. Remember that you cannot achieve the desired highlight tone without bleaching your strands first, and you will probably need to go through multiple sessions to achieve the desired look. While adding highlights, make sure that the thickest highlight streaks are near to the face to enhance your facial features.

Prepare the Dye

To prepare the dye mixture, make sure to read the instructions given in the box. If you are doing it for the first time at home, it is recommended to skip the bleaching part as bleach results are difficult to reverse. You may use permanent dye highlighting your hair up to three shades and give your hair a more natural and subtle look.

Divide Your Hair into Sections

This is the time to divide your hair into various sections. You may go for four sections for thicker streaks or may divide into 12 sections for thinner color streaks. Use hair clips to secure the stands to their position.

Highlights through Foiling

This is probably, hands down, the easiest and fastest way of doing highlights at home. Most of hair colorists also prefer to add highlights by covering the hair strands with aluminum foil. By covering the strands in the foil strips, the heat gets trapped that speeding up the coloring process.

  • Mix your hair dye in a plastic bowl according to the given instructions.
  • Detangle your hair and wear your gloves before starting the application
  • Make small aluminum foil strips, which should be slightly longer and wider than your hair strands.
  • Make various equal sections of your hair and secure them with clips.
  • Start by applying the color on the outermost section of the hair and ensure that the color is applied on the entire strand, from the roots to the end.
  • Wrap the strand into the foil strip. Fold the strip in half so that the bottom half is folded above the top edge and the ends are placed over the roots.
  • Secure the foil tightly by folding it inwards and using clips to secure the strips tightly.
  • Wait for the time that is suggested on the dye box and let the color sit into your strands properly.
  • Adding highlights with the help of a plastic cap

This is yet another way that is quite popular among those who do not want to out extra effort into foiling their hair. All you need in this procedure is a plastic cap.

  • Make the hair dye as per the directions on the box.
  • Detangle your hair and brush them properly.
  • Wear gloves and a highlighting cap on your head.
  • Now take out the small hair sections from the small holes of the cap once you have taken the desired hair strands out of the cap, it’s time to apply the color dye mixture.
  • Make sure that the color is applied on each strand from the roots to the ends.
  • Let the color sit on the hairs for the given time.
  • Take off the cap carefully and wash the hair properly with a sulfate-free shampoo.

How to Take Care of the Highlighted Hair?Take Care of the Highlighted Hair

If you have successfully reached your desired highlight shade, this is not it. As important as it is to follow the right technique and choose the right color to add highlights, it is equally important to take care of the highlighted hair. Read the tips below to keep your highlighted hair healthier and prevent them from losing its vibrance.

  • Use hair care products that are specifically made to treat colored hairs, such as sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. You may also use purple shampoo at least once a week to nourish the blonde hair.
  • Do not forget to moisturize your newly highlighted strands with the help of a color-care hair mask or conditioner. The sulfate-free hair masks provide colored hair with the right amount of hydration.
  • Stay away from the heat treatments as much as you can. Your hair has already gone through the harshness of bleaching agents, it is important to prevent them from suffering the warmth of the heating tools.
  • Only go for DIY hair highlights if you are confident and ready to see the results, as it might take a lot of effort to return to your previous hair shade if you are not satisfied with the results of the highlights.

Bottom Line

Your hair gains dimension, vigor, and richness from highlights and lowlights. With highlights, your hair seems more voluminous, healthy, and bouncy. You can also apply some highlights to enhance the features of your face. If you don’t know how to highlight your hair at home, the method can be frightening, so always try the procedure if you are ready to bear the results. Before deciding on the right method to achieve the desired result and the appropriate color for your hair, you should know everything about the highlighting procedure. Treat your highlights with color-safe hair products to make them fresh and rejuvenated for longer.

Read our detailed articles on hair highlights.

How Long Do Hair Highlights Last

How to Put Silver Highlights in Dark Hair at Home?

Highlights to Cover Grey on Brown Hair

How Long to Wait to Wash Hair After Highlighting

How to Blend Grey Hair with Dark Brown Hair


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is Balayage an expensive highlighting technique?

Balayage is an expensive highlighting technique because not every salon or hair stylist knows the right sweeping technique to do it. Only expert hair colorists understand the nooks of doing the Balayage, so they charge higher for this highlighting technique.

What is the difference between highlights, lowlights, and baby lights?

Highlights are the process of adding lighter color strands to the hairs. Going for lowlights means having darker color strands, while baby lights are tender highlights in which the hair colorist adds more color highlights to your hair.

How to highlight hair at home without foil?

You may wear a plastic cap if you do not want to go for foiling while doing highlights. Secure the cap on your head, remove the strands from its holes, and apply color accordingly. It will also prevent strands from mingling with each other and give your highlights a significant depth.

Do highlights damage hair permanently?

Before adding highlights, the hair undergoes the process of bleaching. The bleaching agents, such as ammonia, are extremely harmful to the hair and even make them break more often. If the hair is not treated with proper care and the right products, the damage stays for longer, and your hair may look brassy.

For how long do the highlights stay in the hair?

Permanent highlights stay for longer until the new hairs start growing. The temporary highlights stay for 2 to 3 washes, while semi-permanent highlights can stand for 5 to 6 washes.

Can I add highlights to my hair without using bleach?

Yes, you may add highlights to your hair without using bleach if you have a light brown hair shade.

How is lemon used to add highlights to hair?

Lemon has natural bleaching properties and adds natural highlights to your hair. Squeeze lemons in a bowl and apply it on your strands from roots to ends with your fingers or brush. Sit in the sun for 30 minutes and rinse it off thoroughly.

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