How to Highlight Your Hair

You have likely seen the highlighting kits that come in a box at grocery and department stores. If you have never highlighted your hair before or you have only had your hair highlighted professionally, you may want to know the difference between the boxes and a professional job. The kits typically come with the bare minimum as far as supplies go and do not give you as much freedom. With a few more supplies on hand you can create a salon job yourself at home.

What You Need:

- wide tooth comb
– foiling comb
– hair clips
– a bowl
– a paintbrush

Box vs Salon Highlighting

The highlighting boxes typically come with a bottle of developer, color, an applicator and a shampoo. Sometimes they will come with a cap and a hook. These kits come with easy-to-follow instructions, but you can often tell when a highlighting job was done at home if you choose this option. You do not have to use the applicator that comes in the kit and you can feel free to use the foil method with the other supplies from the kit for a more natural look.

About Developer

In addition to using an all-in-one kit at home you can also choose to buy developer and do the entire highlighting process from scratch. You will definitely need the supplies listed above and this often results in a more professional look. Developer comes in several volumes – 10, 20, 30 and 40. This determines how light your highlights will be.

If you go this route then you will also need to choose your own color for your highlights as well. This gives you a lot more freedom than the kits, but it also makes it a bit easier for you to mess up. You need to know how to choose the proper color for your highlights to keep them looking natural alongside your natural hair color. You can custom mix colors and even use different volumes of developer to get a very dimensional look.

Getting Started

You want to mix equal parts of developer and color for both highlights and low lights. You will need to be sure to have a separate bowl and a separate brush for any different levels of developer used as well as different colors. Have your aluminum foil strips prepared and ready. You will need your pieces of foil to be ready and you want to be sure that you have enough. Fold down a half-inch flap on one of the sides of each piece of foil. Keep your hair clips nearby too.

Applying Color

To apply the color you will need to part your hair. Start with a center part and then create a T-part, dividing the hair into three sections. Start at the nape of the neck and use a foiling comb to bring down a smaller section of hair. Clip the rest of the hair out of the way. Weave the section of hair to get strips to highlight and place a piece of foil underneath with the flap side facing down and near the scalp.

Use a brush to paint on the mixed developer and color then make your first fold about halfway up. Then fold the folded foil again at about halfway and get the bottom edge as close to the scalp as possible. Take your foiling comb and insert it into the fold created by the small flap. Push up on it while pulling gently down on the rest of the foil to lock it into place. Fold the sides inward to make sure it stays on the hair. Repeat this process moving toward the front of your head.

After Application

In the salon you will be put under heat lamps. At home you can speed the process by wrapping your head in a towel. The process will take 20 to 30 minutes and you should check your foil every 10 minutes to make sure the color is what you want. When you are finished, start at the nape of the neck and begin removing the foils by pulling them back. Use lukewarm water to rinse your hair and wash it with a sulfate-free shampoo.