If your budget is a little tight this month, but you’re keen to spruce up your look and get into the summer vibe, you’ll be thrilled to learn that you can highlight your locks at home. While it’s not the easiest process to manage all on your own, it is possible to do a pretty job; if you’re eager to give it a try, you’ll definitely want to follow a few basic guidelines. To help achieve the best possible results, I’ve written a few of these up: here’s my list of 7 tips for successful home highlights.
1. Don’t Wash
If you can, try to plan your schedule so that your highlighting happens on a day when you haven’t washed your hair. The natural oils that coat each strand help to protect your locks from the damaging effects of lighteners and artificial colourants.
2. Pick the Right Kit
There is a wide variety of hair highlighting kits on the market today and the each type is directed at a particular kind of hair. If you have long locks, for example, you will want to work with a product that includes a wand applicator: this little implement usually resembles a mascara brush and will help you to get the colour onto your hair smoothly and evenly. If you have short or medium length tresses, it’s best to go for a kit that comes with a cap. These are cumbersome if you have a lot of hair, but very neat and effective if you don’t.
3. Choose an Appropriate Shade
It’s very important, when you’re choosing a highlighter kit, to remember that not all blondes are the same. Shades vary quite dramatically from warm through to cold, and you’ll need to pick a colour that suits your complexion. This shouldn’t be too difficult: if, as a general rule, you look good in cool colours, go for something in the line of a silvery ash blonde. If you’re a colouring is warmer, opt for a buttery caramel or honey variation.
4. Wear Old Clothes
No Matter what kind of kit you’re using, and regardless of how adept you are, you are bound to splash peroxide on something. In order to make sure you don’t ruin a lovely outfit, make sure you’re wearing something ancient. If you’re planning on actually getting into the shower in order to wash out the product, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re old shirt is one with buttons or a zip up the front: if it isn’t, you’ll have to drag it over your head and this can also cause unnecessary mess.
5. Be Strategic
Before you get to work with your cap or your highlighting wand, take some time to consider where you want most of your colour to go. Do you want it evenly distributed throughout your hair, for example, or are you keen to frame your face with lighter sections? This way, you’ll have a concrete plan of action by the time you get round to actually applying the colour, and this will give the process some systematic structure.
6. Set a Timer
You want to make sure you stick to the instructions that come with your highlighter kit. This means timing the process very precisely: in order to achieve this, get your egg timer out of the kitchen and set it to go off about five minutes before the recommended time period has elapsed. If your hair’s not quite the shade you’re after yet, allow it to develop for a little longer. If it’s perfect, wash it off.
7. Shampoo, Condition, Dry
When the time comes and the colour is the correct shade, rinse the dye out of your hair with warm water. Gently shampoo your locks using a nourishing product, and apply an intense, moisturising conditioner to replace the nutrients that have been bleached out. Absorb excess water with a thick towel and then blow dry your tresses, keeping the drier on a cool-ish setting. This will allow you to assess the finished product.
Highlighting your hair on your own is not a walk in the park. Especially if you have longer locks, it’s a good idea to ask a friend to help you with the process. Two pairs of hands will be able to distribute the colour more evenly throughout your hair, and your ‘assistant’ can apply the product to difficult-to-reach spots on the back of your head. That concludes my list of 7 tips for successful home highlights: do you have any great suggestions of your own to add to it?
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