Highlights 101: Everything You Need To Know Before You Color Your Hair
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU COLOR YOUR HAIR
The fall season is officially here! Pumpkin spice and spooky vibes fill the air, so why not fill your hair with some warm highlights?!
Whether you dream of beautiful bronze, cool caramel, or rose gold highlights, we have you covered! Maybe you already have light hair, but still want to get some dimension, so why not try some lowlights?! Highlights and lowlights can bring out your cheekbones, make your eye color pop, and even make your face appear slimmer!
There are a few things to consider before jumping right into the color process though. Between natural hair color, skin tone, strength of hair, and your maintenance level there is a lot to consider.
Consulting with a professional can eliminate many of the problems caused when coloring.
How does bleaching work?
Bleach is a lightening agent that it strips your hair of pigmentation. It is a bleach powder that is mixed with a liquid developer containing peroxide. There are different volumes of peroxide that gets mixed with the bleach, depending on the shade you’re looking for and how quickly you want the natural pigment lifted, is what determines your volume; 10 volume being the lowest and 40 volume being the highest. A stylist will choose the level based on the speed of lift and tone desired.
Finding the perfect color
Natural hair color– If you’re new to the highlight game and don’t want something too drastic, or you are a low maintenance girl, try to stay between 2-3 levels of your hair color. This means if your hair is golden blonde to dark (which is considered warm), the highlights that would compliment your hair the most would be a warmer blonde color or a “buttery blonde”.
The higher you lift, the sooner you will need to come into the salon to maintain the tone. Make sure you speak to your stylist to talk about maintenance shampoo for high lift colors and blonde tones.
Skin tone– If you have a pinker skin tone, rather than a more olive skin tone, you may want to avoid warmer highlights and stick to cooler, sandy blondes so your hair does not make you appear flushed. On the other hand, if you have a more olive skin tone, golden blondes might be a good choice for you to bring warmth to your face.
Some of this may sound confusing, so talk to your stylist and see what color she recommends to best combine your natural look and your desired look!
Techniques: Foiling VS Balayage
Bleaching your hair is bleaching your hair, there is no other way to say it. Or is there? There are SO many different techniques for dying/bleaching hair, but we’re only going to be talking about 2 today, the foil method and the balayage/painting method.
Foils– Foils are a more precise way of highlighting your hair. For a foil highlight, your stylist weaves a few strands of hair apart from the rest, putting a lightening agent on it (such as bleach) and then covering the strands with foil to keep in the moisture. It is also an easy way to keep track of how light each individual foil section is getting so the bleach can be rinsed at the desired hue.
Balayage/Painting– Balayage, meaning “to sweep” in French, is a “sweeping” or painting of the hair. For this technique, the stylist sections off the hair into larger sections and paints them one by one, giving you more of an ombre look. Many times a stylist will merge the two techniques, foiling and balayage, to get the desired look.
Glaze– You can change the overall hue and tone of hair with a glaze. Glazes can also be referred to by several different names like toner, gloss, sealer or cellophane. The basic use of a glaze is to coat the hair to add shine and tone. There are options to use a clear glaze that keep your hair color the same and just adds shine, or if you want to add a new hue to your hair without a lot of commitment, think of caramel, rose gold or spice tones. A glaze goes over highlights or refreshes existing highlights and lasts 4-5 weeks.
Lowlights– Lowlights are the opposite of highlights. Instead of adding lighter colors to your hair, you’re adding darker shades. This could be used if you’re natural hair is light and you’re looking to add some dimension to it, or if you feel like you added too much lightener and want to bring some of the dark colors back. Adding darker colors to your hair doesn’t strip your natural hair in any way, so this process can be done with minimal consequences.
Alternatives to Bleach
If you have natural virgin hair and are worried about using bleach lightener, try going for bronze/caramel or red color. This can be achieved by using hair color in lue of lightener. If you decide to take the plunge and go lighter in a few months, a bleach lightener can be placed right over the top to make highlights brighter.
Keep The Elasticity
No matter what lift method you choose, don’t forget to use deep conditioning treatments at least once a week to keep your curls healthy, moisturized and in tip-top shape. Deep treatments help curls stay hydrated and keep the curl pattern uniform.
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