Blonde highlights | Here’s everything you need to know!

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

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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.

You’ll find a shade to match every skin tone too. So whether you go for cool blondes or warm blonde colors, you’ll find a shade to suit you.

Best of all, they suit any style – long waves or short bob, crazy curly hair or poker straight hair.

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…

Check out the latest looks for ideas and inspiration.

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 2022!

What kind of blonde highlights should I get?

This hairstyle is a great way to liven up your hair color.

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.

You can also choose to have some face framing highlights feathered in your fringe or bangs.

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?

ash blonde hair color instagram post

Full head highlights are the ultimate way to brighten up your hair. All over lightening means you will be left with a very bright blonde look, so it’s best for those who already have pale or mid blonde hair naturally.

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.

What are half head highlights?

caramel blonde hair color instagram post

Half head or partial lights are when only half of your head is lightened with bleach. If you’re after a softer look, half head highlights are the way to go.

Just like full head, they’re done with aluminium foils but they take less time to do and are easier to maintain.

What are babylights?

babylights hair color instagram post

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.

What is balayage hair?

balayage hair color instagram post

Balayage is another really popular way of adding lightness to your hair.

It’s the French word for ‘sweeping’, which is where this hair trend gets its name. This patented highlighting technique involves painting on stripes of lighter tones into darker hair, creating an effortlessly blended summery look.

What is Ombré?

Screenshot 2022 01 19 at 14.20.19

Ombre is a simple way of adding different tones to your hair. It’s the French word meaning ‘shade’, and it can be as natural or dramatic as you like.

It works by adding lighter highlights closer to the root and darker ends for a gradient effect, giving off those sun-kissed vibes we all love.

How long do highlights take?

Full head – Up to 4 hours.

Half head – Up to 3 hours

Babylights – Up to 4 hours

Balayage – Up to 2.5 hours

Ombré – Up to 2 hours

*Of course this all depends on the length and thickness of your hair as well as your base colour and whether it’s been dyed before!

Can dark hair have blonde highlights?

The short answer here is yes, most definitely!

If you’ve got dark hair and want to give your locks some lighter tones, it doesn’t matter what shade of blonde your natural colour is.

People often have difficulties highlighting black hair, dark 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 get highlights at home?

Well, it’s a specialized technique and there’s a reason professional colorists 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!

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

TOP TIPS!

Mix it up – opt for a mix of blonde shades to add depth and dimension to a warm or cool base.

Enhance your natural colouring – If your hair is very blonde naturally then just go straight in with full head highlights.

Start slow– if you’re not used to your hair being bleached, opt for half head highlights or an ombre look first.

Get toning – To avoid any brassy tones, be sure to tone your hair with a purple shampoo regularly.

Watch the heat – If you’re going to use a hair dryer or tongs make sure to use a good heat protecting spray.

Love your locks – using a nourishing conditioner will help with keeping your hair and your colour feeling healthy and vibrant.

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?

Don’t:

  • 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. 

Do:

  • 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 and learn: How to highlight your hair at home.

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

Which is the best blonde highlight kit?

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.

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.

How long do highlights last?

Well, it depends how you look after them!

The more often you wash your hair and use heat tools such as straighteners and tongs (and the higher the temperature), then it will fade much quicker.

Highlights can last anything from 6-12 weeks when treated well.

If you’re a fan of the blonde hair with dark roots look, you can give yourself some extra time in between salon trips. Just let your natural root growth show through!

In fact, it’s this root growth that will determine when you need to brighten your hair again rather than any colour fade.

How can I look after my 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!