Blonde highlights | Everything you need to know!

blonde highlights

The sun-kissed vibes of beautiful blonde highlights will never not make us happy. If you’re here wanting to know everything about them, you’ve come to the right place!

A fresh new head of lights can make your eye colour pop and your skin look bronzed. But when it comes to creating the summery, shimmery look at home, you can risk ending up too bright and too brassy if you don’t do it carefully.

We’re here to give you the lowdown. In this post you’ll find out how to get the sun-kissed style, what shades will look great on you, and advice for looking after your hair to make them last for longer.

We’ll even help you decide if attempting to do them at home is really for you! And give you some essential top tips if you do.

So without further ado, let’s find out how to get this luscious look in your life!

blonde highlights at home

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What are blonde highlights? 

Highlights are a hair lightening technique that adds streaks of blonde to a darker base hair colour. 

From strawberry blonde, ash blonde, caramel blonde, dirty blonde and even platinum blonde, there are a wide variety of tones and colours to choose from.

Whether you go bold with a full head, half head or chunky streaks, or soft and subtle with a half head of babylights, the options for sexy blonde lights are only as limited as your imagination…

blonde highlights hair color collection pinterest board

Best colours for blonde highlights

Ash blonde

Caramel blonde

Honey blonde

Platinum blonde

Mushroom blonde

Sandy blonde

Beige blonde

Dirty blonde

Butter blonde

Are blonde highlights bleach?

These days, there are many lightening techniques available that don’t necessarily use bleach. It all depends on your hair depth, tone and strength as to whether bleach is an option for you. 

It is possible to lighten your hair naturally using a few different methods.

But for most people, you won’t get the degree of lift you want without it. Tints will only lift your hair a certain amount and that’s when the risk of orange horror hair comes in.  

So the answer really is yes, they are achieved best by using bleach. But if it’s used correctly and you look after your hair look well enough from the moment it’s done, it can produce amazing results.

Are blonde highlights bad for your hair?

Of course, bleach is bad for your hair as the processing dries it out and can turn it into a frizz factory. But that doesn’t mean you can’t repair it and lovingly bring it back to it’s best again.

Make sure you use a good deep conditioner that’s suitable for coloured hair at least once a week to restore the moisture and bounce to your hair.

We’d also recommend waiting a couple of weeks and doing an at-home keratin treatment to really smooth and put the goodness back into your locks.

Will blonde highlights suit me?

It’s crucial to know and understand your own colours to help you decide whether you should a) attempt to lighten your hair yourself and b) which colour you should choose.

And when we say your colours we mean things like your skin tone, eye colour and even the clothes you wear – these determine the right shades for you.

Use our checklist to find out whether you suit warm or cool tones.

If you have cool undertones:

  • Your skin tone is pink or pale.
  • You blush easily!
  • Jewel and pastel colours are so your thing.
  • The colour 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.
Ash brown hair at home cool or warm undertones infographic

You can also take our QUICK QUIZ! that will tell you which hair colours will most suit you. Answer a few questions and we’ll determine your colours and let you know which shades work best for you. Have a go! Just click on the image below!

which hair colour suits me

You can also try on some virtual hair colours with the Best hair colour changing apps you need to use in 2021!

What kind of blonde highlights should I get?

This hairstyle is a great way to liven up your hair colour. There are different kinds of highlighting techniques you can choose from to give your life some lift.

Full head, half head and babylights are three of the most popular and our favourite blonde looks you’ll find today.

T-section highlights are done on the crown of your head and used to top up your root growth as it starts to show through.

Types of blonde highights

  • Full head – Good for a dramatic change, harder to maintain.
  • Half head – Less time and money, grows out quite well.
  • Babylights – Great for fine hair, high maintenance.

What are full head highlights?

A ‘full head’ simply means that you get all the hair colour on top of your head, so it lights up like an angel’s halo!

This is a great look to go for if you want a more dramatic result but it can be more high maintenance as the roots start to grow out.

ash blonde hair color instagram post

What are half head highlights?

Half head or partial lights are when only half of your head is lightened with bleach. Just like full head, they’re done with foils but they take less time to do and are easier to maintain.

caramel blonde hair color instagram post

What are babylights?

Babylights are fine, thin streaks that are made to look natural like the hair of sunkissed little kids.

Babylights take longer to do than full or half head. But if you have fine or thin hair, they can add volume and dimension that makes the time spent well worth it.

babylights hair color instagram post

Can dark hair have blonde highlights?

People often have difficulties highlighting black hair, brown hair, or red hair because the natural pigments in these colours made them harder to lighten.

If you have dark hair, it’s not impossible to bleach it. It just means you may have to lighten your hair more than once to get the right lift.

How can I get natural blonde highlights?

If you’re looking for a more natural highlighted look and don’t want to spend hours in the salon. There are a few ways you can lighten your hair naturally.

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 sunkissed places.
  • Salt water – mix up a salt water solution a spray it on your hair when you hit the beach.

Can I highlight my hair at home?

Well, it’s a specialized technique and there’s a reason colourists need to be trained to do it! So we’d always recommend talking to your hairdresser first about whether they would suit you and what shades they would use.

Home hair colour technology is so advanced these days that there are some great kits out there that can give you good results and help you master how to get it spot on at home.

The biggest difference between salon and at-home dyeing is that in a salon, the colourist will expertly mix different shades to create a totally bespoke colour that suits you perfectly.

In a box kit, you get what you get—one colour tube and a bottle of developer. 

The results won’t be as good as you’ll get from a salon!

The problem with the kits you can buy to use at home is that sometimes they won’t lift your hair up to the desired colour and if your hair naturally contains red and warmer pigments, you could end up with bright orange hair!

The best way to avoid this is to only go for a shade specifically labelled for your current hair colour (i.e. “for light brown hair”) rather than the colour you want to achieve. 

The general rule is to choose a kit that’s only one shade lighter than your base colour. If you want to go lighter than this, it’s best to head to your salon to avoid being tangoed.

How to highlight your hair at home.

You will need:

  • DIY comb applicator 
  • Gentle lightening formula 
  • Plastic gloves
  • Conditioning after-treatment
  • Full instructions

You can also purchase a complete highlighting kit that comes with everything you need.

You’ll also need:

  • An old towel to protect your clothes and surfaces
  • Vaseline to apply to your ears and hairline to stop the dye getting on your skin
  • Some hair clips to hold back sections of your hair to apply the lotion more precisely.

And don’t forget to do a strand test before you begin so you don’t end up orange!

How do I apply the highlighting formula?


  • Rush it, the best results won’t happen if you’re slapping it on.
  • Leave it in too long – it’s tempting if you want to go lighter but you’ll end up going too light and making yourself looked washed out.
  • Pull too much hair out of the cap, if you’re using one. You’ll end up with tiger stripes. For best results, only pull out fine sections of hair in places your hair naturally lightens in the sun. 


  • Follow the instructions TO THE LETTER that come with the highlighting kit of your choice. 
  • Pay particularly attention to the development time, every kit is different and it will depend on how light you want to go.
  • Section your hair to make applying the dye more precise.
  • Check on a section at intervals to see if it’s developing at the right colour for you.
  • Be very careful about applying the dye, it will eat into colour whatever it falls.

Watch the professionals in action.

Pick up more than a few tips by watching how the professionals highlight hair.

Which is the best blonde highlight kit?

There are a load of lightening and bleach kits that will help you get the right look at home. Here are a handful of our tried and tested!

Read more about each one in our Best home highlight kit reviews.

Best blonde highlight kits at a glance

KitLooks likeBest for Buy it now
Garnier Nutrisse Bleach Hair Dye.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B013BL5Y4G&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest blonde highlight kits garnier nutrissePlatinum blonde effects.
Schwarzkopf Live Intense Lightenerq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00D870FMK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBBest blonde highlight kits schwartzkopf live intenseAchieving medium-blonde shades like caramel blonde.
Clairol Nice' n Easy Crème, Natural Looking Hair Dye, Light Ash Blonde.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07895NRK3&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBBest blonde highlight kits clairolAshy tones.
L'Oreal Colorista Effects Bleach Lightening Kitq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01N4I05Q1&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBBest blonde highlight kits l'oreal coloristaExtra lightening fast results.


L’Oreal Colorista Effects Bleach Lightening Kit

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01N4I05Q1&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB

Extra lightening fast results.

We wanted to give our natural blonde hair a lift, and the results were a cool head of icy blond hints. It’s powerful stuff so keep a check on it in development time or you might go way too light.

It dulled down after a couple of washes and is starting to look even more natural as time goes on. This is the easiest home kit for us.

How can I look after my blonde highlights?

After you’ve achieved the fabulous look you love, you’ll want to deep condition your hair regularly and avoid a lot of heat styling if you can.  

Your hair will be fragile and more prone to breakage and split ends for a couple of weeks. When you do heat style, use a hair heat protectant spray every time.

You’ll also need to use specially formulated silver and purple shampoos and conditioners to keep the colour in tip top condition.

Purple shampoos clean your hair just like regular shampoos but they contain purple toning pigments that help to keep yellow undertones at bay.

Parting words.

So there you have it. Highlights are a great way to change up your look without committing to an all over colour.

You can go as light or as dark as you like, which means there are endless possibilities to spruce up your look once you know how to do it yourself successfully at home.

It’s also a lot easier on your wallet than going to the salon for something that will probably wash out in two weeks anyway!