The sun-kissed vibes of beautiful blonde highlights will never not make us happy. But can you get blonde highlights yourself at home?
A fresh new head of highlights 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 on blonde highlights so you can decide if attempting to do them at home is for you, and giving you some essential top tips if you do.
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What are blonde highlights?
Blonde 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 large chunky highlights, or soft and subtle with babylights, the options for blonde highlights are only as limited as your imagination…
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.
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, blonde highlights at home 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 highlight 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.
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!
You can also try on some virtual hair colours with the Best hair colour changing apps you need to use in 2021!
Can I highlight my hair at home?
Blonde highlights are a 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 blonde highlights 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.
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 yo use to get blonde highlights 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 highlights.
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.
What do I need to create blonde highlights 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!
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 highlights 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?
Highlighting hair dye kits aren’t really a thing if you want to add streaks, not all-over colour.
To do this, you’ll need to get yourself a highlighting kit for hair highlights and choose from a range of all-over hair lightening products to find the right colour for you.
There are a load of lightening and bleach kits that will help you get blonde highlights at home. Here are a handful of our tried and tested!
Read more about each on in our Best home highlight kit reviews.
Best blonde highlight kits at a glance
How can I look after my blonde highlights?
After you’ve achieved a fabulous blonde highlights 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, like these from Joico.