Hair trends and colors change with the wind, but some things never go out of style. Black is a classic that’s timeless and elegant all year round. If you fancy a change that’s not too drastic, black hair with highlights could look amazing on you.
But what color highlights look good? And how do you know which ones will suit you? Will highlights show up on your natural hair color?
There are so many different color variations and ways to style your beautiful black mane and still keep it natural-looking – whether you have short black hair, medium and poker straight or like to wear it long and wavy.
However, if you’re not sure how to get started or what colors will suit your skin tone best, this article will give you all of the information that you need to know!
We’ve compiled everything that you need to know. We’re here with all the ideas and inspiration you need to find the look that’s right for you.
- 1 What color highlights look good with black hair?
- 2 Why are highlights a great idea for black hair?
- 3 Which highlights are best for black hair?
- 4 What color highlights will suit me?
- 5 Can black hair be highlighted?
- 6 What happens if you highlight black hair?
- 7 Watch and learn: How to highlight dark hair
- 8 How do you naturally highlight black hair?
- 9 The best ways to naturally lighten your hair.
- 10 How long will black hair with highlights last?
- 11 How much do black hair with highlights cost?
- 12 Do highlights damage black hair?
- 13 What are some things to avoid if you have black hair with highlights?
- 14 The dos and don’ts of highlighting black hair.
- 15 Parting words
What color highlights look good with black hair?
- Caramel brown
- Deep red
- Midnight blue
- Fuschia Pink
- Honey Blonde
- Sea green
Why are highlights a great idea for black hair?
Highlights of all colors work really well as they can give dimension to any hairstyle while still being subtle enough to not overpower the original color of your hair.
Whether you have jet black or very dark brown hair, long hair or short hair, they are great way to add some fun and flair to your look.
There are many ways you can make your hair look like the perfect storm.
Whether it’s a touch of red streaks, copper highlights, mocha or espresso shades. Thicker, glossier strands of neon or pastel colors or lighter golden blonde babylights for a more subtle touch?
It’s all up to personal preference!
It might seem tough making such decisions at first but once you find something that works well with your complexion and face shape-the result will speak volumes about who YOU really ARE on an inner level.
Head over to our Pinterest board to check out the latest ideas and inspiration for dark hues.
Which highlights are best for black hair?
Here are 10 of our favourite colors, highlights ideas and ways to wear this epic look.
#1 Black with caramel brown highlights.
Blonde can be a touch too light to mix with black because you’ll need to bleach it more than once to get the right level of lift. This can damage and frazzle your poor gorgeous locks.
Caramel highlights are a softer, more subtle alternative to blonde that’s warmer, super flattering and easier to achieve.
Caramel brown is a great complementary color for balayage or ombre styles that add natural, golden, burnt toffee flecks to any look. Graduate the color from root to tip and add blonde just at the ends for a lighter look.
Best for: Warm undertones.
#2 Black and deep red balayage.
Black hair with red highlights is a classic. From firey red to pillarbox red and auburn, red suits anyone with cool or warm skin tones thanks to the variety of dark to light shades you can get.
Deep red has a depth that tonally just looks fantastic with black. With deep red hair dyes, you can be more daring. Go for a full head of balayage highlights to really create a multidimensional vibrant look.
Best for: Warm or cool undertones.
#3 Black with midnight blue highlights.
Midnight blue is sultry and mysterious and adds a cool vibe to black locks. We love it for its unique, shimmering blue glow.
Keep the roots dark at the top and go for a balayage blue highlighted look. Ombre midnight blue also looks fabulous and you can even add some teal tips at the ends for extra pizzaz.
Best for: Cool undertones.
#4 Black with burgundy highlights.
Of all the purples, burgundy is our fave to highlight on black. It’s a rich, multidimensional color that can draw subtle blue or purple shades and tones.
If you have naturally black hair, burgundy or a red wine color can add a sheen and stunning warmth to your look. Go for this if you have dark or olive skin too.
Best for: Warm undertones
#5 Black with smoky silver-grey.
Silver and grey are modern, on-trend hair color ideas right now. The good news is that they are some of the best colors to add depth and dimension as they are tonally from the same color family of pigments.
Silver-grey can be almost platinum blonde in color and demands the same kind of upkeep so make sure you’re up for it. A good silver shampoo will keep brassiness at bay.
Silver adds a metallic shine to black. Grey adds a more muted, matt highlight color. Sprinkle silver-grey lights around your hairline and temples to frame your face and make your eye color pop.
Best for: Cool undertones
# 6 Black with fuschia pink highlights.
Pink adds fun and fabulousness to your look. We love fuschia pink for it’s show-stopping contrast with black.
Pink can be harder to maintain on black but the layered look is well worth the extra trips to the salon.
Feather your hair with lighter pinks to create subtle babylights or full on streaks. You can also mix in purple highlights to make ribbons of color that catch the light.
Best for: Cool and warm undertones.
#7 Black with copper ombre highlights.
Another color bursting onto the hair dye trend list this year is copper.
Part of the metallic family, copper is a warm, orange-red spicy color that looks amazing on dark hair. It’s easily achievable too so you can expect shiny, great condition hair if you opt for a copper combination.
Be as intense as you like with copper, keeping the roots dark for a gorgeous grown-out ombre look. Add slivers of blonde too for the summer months.
Best for: Warm undertones
#8 Black hair with honey blonde highlights.
This is a classic hair color that looks amazing on black. Honey blonde brings an instant warmth and brightness to any look.
Lighter and more subtle highlights than caramel, this shade is perfect for anyone who wants to add a touch of summer to their do. We love how it warms up the complexion too.
Best for: Warm undertones.
#9. Black hair and mahogany balayage
This is a rich, deep reddish brown that looks amazing on black hair.
Mahogany is perfect for those who want something a little different but not too out there. It’s also a great way to add some depth and dimension to your look without going too dark. Blend darker hues with light brown highlights or chestnut highlights for an on-point color combo.
Best for: Warm undertones.
#10. Sea green.
This is a beautiful, soft teal color that looks amazing on black hair.
It’s perfect for those who want to add a touch of color without going too crazy. Sea green is also a great way to add some depth and dimension to your look without going too dark.
Best for: Cool undertones.
What color highlights will suit me?
What colors will suit you depends on your undertones – things like your eye color, skin tone and your natural hair coloring.
Jet black looks awesome with colored lights because the contrast of the highlighter makes the color stand out more compared to a really dark shade.
If you have naturally dark hair, it can be tricky to dye it another color. It’s a deeper and darker pigment than something like brunette hair.
You’ll need to lighten it with bleach first which can be damaging and dry out your hair over time.
Half head highlights, are a great way of adding color to sections of your hair without having to bleach your whole head. They are typically on top of the head and lowlights in front or underneath.
Hair streaks are also a way of adding color and life to a solid base.
Subtle lifts like auburn, balayage and even sun-kissed blonde streaks will give you that natural highlighted look.
Black ombre hair is also a style that brings color and dimension to your luscious locks.
Black hair with red highlights is probably the most popular way to rock this style.
But really black is a great base for a whole range of cool-toned or warm colors. All you need to know is which ones will suit you.
You can find out what hair colors will suit you with our quiz! Just click on the image below!
You can also use our checklist below to find out your undertones and check whether warm or cool colors will suit you.
If you have cool undertones:
- Your skin tone is pink or pale.
- You blush easily!
- Jewel and pastel colors are so your thing.
- The color yellow washes you out and does not look good on you.
- You have blue not green veins in your wrist.
- Pearls and silver jewellery look awesome on you.
If you have warm undertones:
- You have red or golden tones in your natural hair.
- Your skin tone is golden, tan or olive.
- You might have freckles.
- You have green not blue veins in your wrist.
- You suit bright or rich shades better.
- Gold jewellery looks awesome on you.
Can black hair be highlighted?
Yes! You can highlight black hair – you just have to be extra careful.
It’s a shade that tends to be drier than most other hair colors. That’s also partly why it’s so shiny!
Dry hair is fine, but here are a few rules that you should follow for the sake of your black mane:
Take things slow – if you’re going from a dark color to a lighter one, it’s a good idea to start with highlights first.
This way, you can avoid damage and still achieve the look you want without sacrificing your natural lustre.
You can always just lighten the ends of your hair. Use ‘high gloss’ products on your ends or anywhere else that needs extra moisture.
If lightening your ends isn’t an option for you, try using a black hair balayage method instead of traditional highlighting.
This technique uses paintbrush-like tools to take even the darkest hair to a lighter shade.
In general, if you’re going from one very dark color to another, it’s best to do a strand test beforehand to make sure nothing changes unexpectedly!
What happens if you highlight black hair?
You may think that dyeing your black locks into golden tresses would be the easiest switch ever.
But if done incorrectly, it could end in disaster.
What’s even worse than orange-blonde roots? Faded orange hair!
Changing your natural pigment is risky business.
A lot depends on your hair type what method you’ll need to use.
And it can leave strands feeling dry and brittle too. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re getting into if you want to highlight dark hair.
Watch and learn: How to highlight dark hair
How do you naturally highlight black hair?
It’s not easy to naturally highlight black strands without bleach. The pigment is so deep and not lifted easily, even with chemicals.
Black will fade to orange or red tones, particularly if your hair naturally draws warm. So you may end up with orangey hair that doesn’t look as good.
But there’s no harm in trying some ways to naturally lighten your hair if you only want a touch of subtle glints. You may have to try these a few times to get the right lift.
The best ways to naturally lighten your hair.
- Lemon juice – Put some neat lemon juice in strands of your hair where the sunlight naturally hits.
- Honey and cinnamon – Mix 3 tablespoons of honey and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon together with your usual conditioner and leave it on as a hair mask to develop.
- Vitamin C – Crush up a Vit C tablet and make a paste with water to apply to your hair in sun-kissed places for that effortless sun-kissed look.
- Salt water – mix up a salt water solution a spray it on your hair when you hit the beach.
How long will black hair with highlights last?
How long black hair with highlights lasts depends on how you take care of your hair and what products you use. As well as the color and hair dye that’s gone into it.
If you use a quality shampoo and conditioner, then your highlights should last about 3-4 weeks before they start to fade.
You should only wash your hair once or twice a week to prevent the color from fading too quickly.
When you do wash it, be sure to use a quality shampoo and conditioner designed for color-treated hair.
You may also want to invest in a leave-in conditioner or hair mask to help keep your hair hydrated and healthy.
If you have blonde, ash blonde or platinum highlights, use a good toning shampoo to keep it from becoming brassy or orange.
How much do black hair with highlights cost?
Prices will vary depending on the salon you go to and the type of highlights you want.
Highlights can range anywhere from $150 (£115) to $400 (£300), depending on how many colors are used and how much hair is colored.
If you want a more expensive look, you can ask for balayage or ombre highlights, which will add more dimension and depth to your hair.
These styles can start at around $200 (£150) and go up from there.
Do highlights damage black hair?
In a word, yes! Because of the intense processing involved to light your dark hair pigment, this labour of love can make your hair look and feel like straw.
If done incorrectly or too frequently without proper care afterwards, this style can leave your hair feeling dry and brittle – something that can easily lead to breakage.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up lightening your hair. With the right products and care, you can achieve lighter hair without damage.
What are some things to avoid if you have black hair with highlights?
Be sure to avoid using any harsh chemicals or heat styling tools on your hair.
This can cause the color to fade quickly and damage your hair.
Instead, opt for air drying whenever possible and use heat styling tools on a low or cool setting.
When shampooing, be sure to use lukewarm water and avoid rubbing your hair too vigorously. After shampooing, gently pat your hair dry with a towel before applying any heat styling products.
The dos and don’ts of highlighting black hair.
- Be sure to apply highlights evenly throughout your entire head of hair so that you don’t end up with any patches.
- Keep an eye out for signs of damage from over-processing; if there are none, then enjoy the new color!
- DO use the right products – use shampoos without sulfates and opt for moisturizing conditioners instead.
- When highlighting black hair, it is best to use a color that closely matches the natural hue of your hair.
- Get a good consultation with a stylist before you start any treatments.
- DON’T highlight your whole head if you have dark roots or are going for a natural look.
- Avoid using too many colors in one highlight job – this will only make your hair look messy and unprofessional.
- If there are signs of damage from over-processing, take care not to overdo it with additional dye jobs – they can lead to more damage and breakage than before.
- DON’T overdo it! Highlights should be subtle, not dramatic.
Black hair with highlights is a great way of adding texture and dimension without doing anything too drastic that may up ruining your hair.
If you’re looking for some ideas of how to style your hair, we hope our guide has helped! We’ve covered everything from the different types of highlighting techniques to what products are best used when highlighting.
A pop of color or natural-looking lifts will really bring some vibrancy and personality to every style. And every length of hair too – from medium to long and short.
So now you know the look for you, what are you waiting for?