Hairdresser accessories for coloring hair, close-up
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Get The Best Highlighted Hair With These 5 Tips

Highlighting hair seems like a straightforward process. You get a highlighting brush and slather some mixed dye on the strands where you want a different color. Then you pick up the highlighting brush or cap and realize it’s not going to be so simple.

The dye may have a way of migrating to parts of the hair you don’t want it to. Maybe you find the highlights look slightly chunkier then you wanted them to when you’re done. Or maybe you somehow end up with a full head of the color you just wanted as highlights (been there). Below are several application tips for getting the best highlighted hair.

Understand Your Dye

The first place you’ll want to start, of course, is with choosing the right product. Since you’re probably doing this at home, you may want to opt for one of the many boxed highlighting kits. That will streamline the process.

It’s important, however, to get a boxed kit that’s meant for your hair shade. For instance, many kits will have pictures of different shades of hair and the end result. Or they’ll say that the kit is for a certain hair shade. Pick a shade where the before color on the side of the box matches your base color, since the dye’s result depends on your hair’s base color.

And always always always do a strand test first to avoid whole head mishaps.

Have The Right Brush

Most highlighting kits will come with application tools. Some are great, like easy-to-use brushes. Some not so much, like caps that you pull your hair through. These caps will get in the way of knowing exactly where the highlights will end up, since you’re grabbing hair from wherever the holes are placed.

If you end up with a good highlighting kit in terms of color, but not-so-great tools in the kit, one popular method of applying highlights is to use a simple toothbrush, which will evenly distribute dye. Use a small child’s toothbrush for wispier highlights. You can also use a wide paintbrush for chunky highlights.

Apply The Dye To Strands Carefully

This part is easier than you’d think. Simply hold a strand of hair up and away from the rest of the hair. That way, you are only getting that strand, rather than risking getting the dye in other parts of your hair. Apply the dye to the brush, and cover the strand, leading the brush away from your roots.

Place Highlights Sporadically

It’s easy to get tripped up in this stage by thinking your highlights have to be scientifically and mathematically accurate and evenly spaced. Natural highlights aren’t exactly symmetrical, so feel free to apply highlights wherever. Just make sure to do a few strands in the under layer of the hair to keep the highlights looking somewhat even.

Use Foil For The Most Precise Highlights

You may have heard of people applying highlights by wrapping the highlight strands with tinfoil. This is a good method if you tend to have unsteady hands or your hair absorbs dye very easily. It blocks the dye-saturated strands from the rest of the hair so your highlights look more defined.

For this method, apply dye the way you would above, but have a strip of tinfoil under each strand as you apply the dye. Wrap the tinfoil around each strand as you finish, as loosely as you can to keep the dye even, but so the tinfoil still holds in place. You’ll look like a conspiracy theorist who got too creative with their tinfoil hat, but it’s not like it’s a party look. Then when it comes time to wash out the dye, remove the bottom layer of foil, moving to the top. Then rinse out the dye like normal.

Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. You can find out more about her at https://www.clippings.me/michellelovrine.