Last week, I went to my stylist for a trim, and she complimented my highlights, then asked (in a rather hurt tone) who did them. When I told her I did my own highlights, she was surprised, and I was flattered — I’ve been doing them myself for years, mostly because I was budget-conscious, not because I thought I’d get salon results. I got some more advice from my stylist, and I can’t wait to do them myself again next month. Here are 9 tips for doing your own highlights. Can you do them yourself, and shock your own stylist? Let’s see…
1. Test It out
Once you’ve selected the home highlights product you want to use, it’s time to test it to make sure it works on your hair, before you attempt to do your whole head. Choose a strand of hair where no one will be able to see (at the bottom, in the back) and apply the product according to the instructions. Wait for the required time, rinse, dry, and see if you like the results. If it’s not blonde enough, reapply and wait longer in increments of 10 minutes; if it’s too blonde, subtract increments of 10 minutes til you have the shade you want.
2. Do It Dirty
My brilliant stylist says that you definitely do not want to apply highlights to clean hair, and especially not to wet or damp hair. Applying highlights to hair you washed yesterday is the best idea, so lazy girls like me, take note of this tip for doing your own highlights!
3. Subtle or Bold?
Now it’s time to pull on that little cap that came with your at-home highlights kit. Make sure it’s tied on snugly, then take note of all those little holes in the cap. Those holes will help you pull through just the right amount of hair in all the right places, to get the look you want. For more drastic, noticeable highlights, pull thick strands of hair through all of the holes. For much more subtle highlights, pull thin strands of hair to every other hole. For chunky highlights only in the front, pull thick strands of hair through every other hole in the front and sides only. I can’t stress this tip for doing your own highlights enough: it’s important to think about the look you want BEFORE you start pulling hair through the holes!
4. Brush Well
Once you’ve pulled all the hair you want through the holes in the cap, it’s important to gently brush the strands of hair to make sure there are no tangles. Once you’re done, tuck the rest of your hair under the ends of the cap, and get ready to highlight!
5. Apply Generously
There’s a lot of highlighting goop in that at-home highlights kit, isn’t there? It depends. If you have a lot of hair, or very long hair, you might need two kits; for thin or short hair, one kit ought to be plenty… and really slather it on your hair, from tip to tip, or you’ll get uneven, weird results. Trust me. I’ve ended up with what can best be described as leopard spots before.
6. Wipe Away
It’s nearly impossible to apply at-home highlights without getting some on your face or neck, so once you’re done applying the cream to your hair, take a few minutes to wipe the excess off your skin. It can cause a chemical burn, and worse. Also, though you may be tempted, don’t apply the highlighting cream to your eyebrows or eyelashes. If you’ve ever accidentally gotten any in your eyes, you’ll understand why.
7. Be Patient!
Once you’ve set your timer, it’s time to relax and let the highlighting goop do its thing. Be patient; if you stop the process too soon, you’ll end up with brassy orange highlights rather than creamy white tones. Read a book, do the dishes, buff your nails, find something, anything, to do to occupy yourself while you’re waiting.
8. Add Another Color?
Once you’ve done applying the highlights, and washing away the goop, don’t take the cap off unless you’re sure you won’t be adding a color. Now is the time to do it; all the blonde hair is neatly portioned off. Blue? Red? Green? Violet? Layer on another color, then wait again. This is one of those tips for doing your own highlights you’ll be glad you read… it can save you so much time and effort later!
9. Take Care
Once you’ve got these glorious at-home highlights, it’s time to take care of them. Use a shampoo and conditioner especially for color-treated hair, and use it religiously every other time you shampoo. And be sure to re-apply your highlights every 6 to 8 weeks, to keep the look fresh, without roots. Unless you like that look!
Now that you’ve read these tips for doing your own highlights, are you feeling confident… and colorful? When will you do your own highlights, and will you add another dash of color over the blonde? Do you have any other tips to share?
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