Half Head Highlights – Are They Right For You? Discover Your Highlights Style.

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Nothing brings a touch of sunshine and happiness to your head like half head highlights.

Those luscious lighter strands of hair create a brighter, multi-dimensional look that frames faces, makes eye color pop and your skin glow.

But should you have a full head or half head highlights? What’s the difference between the two? And will they really suit you?

Choosing between these two sunkissed vibes can be a tricky decision.

The truth is, both are gorgeous and will make you look amazing!

But it’s also important to consider your face shape, hair type and lifestyle before making the choice.

That way you’ll end up with an awesome hairstyle that fits your personality. Let’s take a closer look at each option!

The best place to start is by considering whether you want all over lightness or if you’d prefer just some lighter strands in certain areas of your hair.

This depends on how much maintenance you’re willing to commit to as well as what kind of style suits your personal taste better.

You should also think about which one would suit your face shape the most because this will help ensure that it looks good for longer!

Here’s everything you need to know!

What are half head highlights?

Half head highlights aka Partial highlights are a great way to lighten up your hair without having to do your entire er…head.

There are different ways of doing it, but essentially, it’s having lighter strands only on half of your hair.

Typically, root-to-tip ribbons are created throughout the crown and side of your hair, but you can also lighten the entire top layer of your hair while keeping the lower layers darker and more natural.

Just like a full head of highlights, partial ones are done with foils. They’re the perfect way to try out a new look without committing too much time or money.

Check out the latest half head highlights looks on our Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration.

half head highlights collection

What is a half head of highlights vs full head?

Highlighting your hair can be a fun and creative way of expressing yourself.

However, there is often some confusion when deciding between these two.

Let’s clear it up.

Half head means that only the top or front section of your hair (about 2 inches wide) will be lightened, leaving the rest natural looking.

Because this style is more subtle, it grows out well and looks on point with the grown-out root stretch or root blur looks.

Full-head are typically applied on the entire scalp rather than just selective sections.

If you want a more dramatic change – such as going from brown to blonde highlights– a this full on option will make your dreams come true.

However, this look is more high maintenance and will need touch up sessions at least every 6 weeks as it grows out at the roots.

half vs full head color pinterest

Half head vs full head highlights.

Half head

  • Only the top or front section of hair is lightened
  • Takes less time
  • Costs less money
  • Less maintenance
  • Subtle change

Full head

  • Your entire hair is lightened
  • Takes more time
  • Costs more money
  • More high maintenance
  • More dramatic change

Are half head highlights right for you?

If you’re wondering half head highlights are right for you- the answer lies in what you want to achieve with your color.

Do you want a natural look or a whole new you?

If you are looking for a more subtle change, perhaps with lighter hair color or if it’s your first time highlighting your hair, then getting just one small section done would make sense as opposed to all of it from top-to bottom.

This technique is perfect if you want to add some extra dimension and texture your hair.

This style is great for those who don’t have time for top-ups every six weeks, but still need a fresh new look from their hairstylist!

When you want a bolder look, or if your hair is on the thinner side and requires more volume to make it appear thicker, then going for full foils will work best for you.

Top 3 On-trend Half Head Highlights Ideas.

Half head highlights create the perfect sun-kissed look you want with minimal upkeep or change.

There is no need to spend hours at the salon when you can have a beautiful, versatile style.

Here are the top three half head highlights ideas that will inspire your next hair color!

#1 Hazelnut balayage highlights

half head highlights black instagram

Hazelnut hair color is becoming increasingly popular, and for a good reason.

It’s a beautiful neutral tone that flatters all skin types and shades.

When paired with a brunette base, it adds dimension and overall warmth to your hair.

Ask your stylist to apply the highlights on the top layer of your hair, creating a natural-looking effect.

#2 Copper blonde highlights

copper red hair instagram

Metallic Copper hair color is perfect for those who want to have both warmth and brightness in their hair.

Combine copper blonde highlights with a darker base color for an epic contrast.

This look is great for warmer skin tones as the warm undertones in the highlights will enhance the complexion.

#3 Golden Blonde with soft brown lowlights

blonde hair babylights instagram

If you’re looking for a more natural blonde look, go for golden blonde with low lights.

This color combination adds dimension to your hair, giving it a more natural and beachy feel.

The low lights will keep your hair from looking too light or washed out pair marvellously with half head highlights.

What color half head highlights will suit me?

The right color for you all depends on the base color of your hair.

For a natural, sunkissed look, you’ll want to go no more than two shades lighter than the color your hair is now.

Any lighter than that and your hair color is likely end up washing you out or even turn orange!

Think about what colors compliment the shade and tone of your hair now.

You’ll also need to take your natural undertones into account to define what colors suit you.

This is all part of color theory that your hairstylist will be up to speed with and can recommend the right combination of shades for you.

You can also take along a picture of the look you’d like to give your salon some direction.

If you’re not sure what hair colors suit you, you can take our quick quiz!

Just click on the image below!

Which Hair Color Suits Me?

Best hair colors for half head highlights.

For black hair

Red, Burgundy, Chocolate brown, Chestnut brown.

For red hair

Copper, Strawberry blonde, Caramel blonde.

For brunettes

Honey blonde, Caramel blonde, Ash blonde, Dirty blonde.

For blondes

Platinum blonde, Light ash blonde, Silver blonde.

Will half head highlights cover gray hair?


If you have a good colorist then they will make sure that your style looks as natural as possible by blending the grays in with the rest of your hair.

If you opt for ashy blonde colors, they will blend in and hide the gray tones of your natural hair really well.

Warmer, golden blonde colors can be mixed with lowlights to cover the gray.

How long does a half head of highlights take?

Half head highlights can take anything up to 3 hours to complete.

The time depends on things like the texture and length of your hair, and if your colorist is increasing or decreasing the level of lift/lowlights.

What you can be sure of is that it takes less time than a full head of foils – and costs less too!

Can I do half head highlights at home?

There’s a reason hairdressers are trained to do this process – it’s tricky!

But if you’re feeling brave, you can have a go at doing them yourself by purchasing a home highlighting kit!

Some brands that offer at-home kits include: L’oreal, Garnier, Clairol, and more.

Check out our highlighting kit reviews.

These kits come with the color cream and conditioner for your hair all in one package, making it easier to apply and look after your hair!

If you’re feeling adventurous or want something specific then go to a professional who will be able to give you a unique color.

Watch and learn: How to do highlights at home.

How long does it take for half head highlights to grow out? ​

Once you’ve got the color in your hair, it takes about 6 weeks for highlights to start to grow out.

Because you haven’t lightened all of your hair, this look can grow out pretty well. Especially now that blonde hair with dark roots is so on-trend.

You can also consider going for a t-section touch-up where your roots are refreshed along your parting and crown to brighten and update your look.

How do I care for highlighted hair?

The key to looking after your beautiful locks lies in preventative care and a few simple precautions before and after coloring.

After you’ve had your new style done, your gorgeous hair will be fragile and more prone to breakage and split ends for a couple of weeks.

First off, always use shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh sulfates or parabens.

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

You’ll need these if you’re going for blonde! They can also darken highlights that are too bright and brassy.

Make sure to deep condition your hair regularly and avoid a lot of heat styling if you can. When you do heat style, use a hair heat protectant spray every time.

Secondly, make sure to cleanse with cool water instead of hot water as this can strip color faster than warm or cold water.

Lastly, avoid washing your hair every day; doing so will lead to fading and dryness. Instead try washing once per week at most!

These easy steps will help maintain healthy-looking color that lasts longer than ever before!

Parting words.

Whether you want to lighten up your natural color or add some dimension and texture to your locks, we hope this article has given you everything you need to know to decide if this style is truly for you!

Good luck!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!