How Long Do Highlights Last? Here’s How To Stop Them Fading.

We all know that feeling. You walk out of the salon with fresh, new highlights and you feel like a million bucks. But then, a few weeks later, you start to notice that your hair is losing its luster. Your once-vibrant highlights are starting to fade, and you’re left wondering—how long do highlights last, anyway?

This is probably the most common question we get about highlights.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. As always, it depends. It all comes down to how well you take care of your hair and how often you wash it.

We’re here with the lowdown on highlights and how you can make them last for longer!

How long do highlights last?

Generally speaking, highlights will last anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks with proper care. 

The lifespan of your highlights depends on a variety of factors, including the type of highlights you get, how well you take care of them, and the natural color of your hair.

What are highlights?

Highlights are a great way to add a pop of color to your hair without fully committing to dyeing it. They can also be used to help create the illusion of fuller, thicker, sun-kissed hair.

Highlights are usually created by using a bleaching solution to lighten small sections of the hair.

Once the bleach has been left on for the desired amount of time, it is rinsed out. The result is subtle streaks of color that can brighten up your hair and give it more dimension.

Highlights can be created with any color of hair dye, but are most commonly seen in shades of blonde and brown hair.

They’re a timeless classic when it comes to hairstyles and a versatile option for anyone looking to change up their look.

So whether you’re looking for a fresh new style or just want to add a little bit of spice to your life, highlights are definitely worth considering.

Check out the latest looks over on our Highlights Pinterest Board for ideas and inspiration.

how long do highlights last pinterest board

How long will your highlights last?

There are three main factors that play a role in how long your highlights will last.

The type of highlights you have

For example, if you get traditional foil highlights, those are likely to last longer than balayage highlights. Balayage highlights are more natural-looking, but they don’t last as long because the color is less concentrated.

How well you take care of them

Another factor that plays a role in how long your highlights last is how well you take care of them. If you wash your hair every day or use a lot of heat-styling tools, those things can cause your highlights to fade faster.

The natural color of your hair

Your natural hair color also has an impact on how long your highlights will last. For example, if you have dark hair, your highlights will start to fade sooner than if you have light hair.

Let’s break down everything you need to know about highlights so you can make the best decision for your hair.

Watch and learn: Why does hair color fade?

Here’s a great video that shows you some top tips and tricks to help you stop that sun-kissed look from fading!

What are the different types of highlights?

Foil highlights

Foil highlights are the most common type of highlights.

They are achieved by weaving small sections of hair and wrapping them in foil before applying color.

Foil highlights can be very subtle or very dramatic, depending on how many foils are used and how much hair is pulled through each one. Blonde highlights work best with foils including very light colors like platinum and ash blonde.

How long do foil highlights last: 4-6 weeks

Half head highlights

Half head highlights are exactly what they sound like—highlights that cover half of your head.

They are typically placed around the crown and temples to add a little bit of brightness and dimension to the hair.

This technique is perfect for root melts and root blurs and are more high maintenance thanks to the darker roots.

How long do half head highlights last: 3-6 weeks

Balayage highlights

Balayage is a French word meaning “to sweep.” Balayage highlights are achieved by sweeping color onto the hair without using any foils. This results in a more natural-looking highlight that grows out seamlessly.

We particularly love copper balayage, chocolate balayage and caramel balayage blends of this on-trend look.

How long do balayage highlights last: 4-8 weeks


Babylights are very thin highlights that are meant to mimic the sun-kissed hair of a child. They are typically applied all over the head to add a little bit of brightness.

Super-fine babylights look incredible blended with darker shades to create depth and shade and the appearance of thicker hair.

How long do babylights last: 3-5 weeks


Foilayage is a combination of foils and balayage. It is achieved by painting color onto small sections of hair and then wrapping those sections in foil.

Foilayage is a great way to get natural-looking highlights with more control over where the color is placed.

How long does foilayage last: 4-8 weeks


Ombré is a gradient effect where the hair gradually goes from one color to another. It is usually achieved by lightening the hair from the roots to the mid-lengths and then applying a darker color to the ends.

We love this style in edgy, on-trend shades like silver, rose gold and blue-black.

How long does ombré hair last: 6-8 weeks


Lowlights are the opposite of highlights. They are achieved by adding darker colors to the hair to create depth and dimension.

Lowlights can be very subtle or very bold, depending on how many colors are used and how much hair is pulled through each one.

How long do lowlights last: 4-6 weeks


Hair streaks are sections of hair that have been dyed a different color from the rest of the hair. They are typically placed around the face to add a pop of color. But can be as thin, chunky or…streaky as you like!

These are the easiest kind of highlights to do yourself at home with a hair streaking or highlight kit.

How long so streaks last: 2-4 weeks (depending on color)

Now that you know all about the different types of highlights, let’s talk about how you can make them last longer!

Do highlights fade away?

Here’s the thing: Highlights do tend to fade faster than all-over color.

That’s because the bleaching process not only lifts your hair color, but also strips away some of the natural pigment in your hair.

And since your hair is constantly growing, the new growth will be your natural color, causing the overall color to appear dull and lackluster.

Will they ever fade completely? No, because of the lightening process involved, your hair will always have a slightly lighter color where the highlights were applied.

T-section highlights tend to fade after about four weeks and half-head highlights can usually hold up for around eight weeks before needing a refresh.

Over time, all highlights will become less and less noticeable as your hair grows out.

How to stop highlights from fading.

Once you’ve got your highlights, it’s important to take care of them so they last as long as possible. Here are a few top tips:

  • Avoid washing your hair too often. Washing your hair strips it of natural oils, which can fade your highlights. Try to wash your hair every other day or every three days if possible.
  • Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Sulfates are harsh chemicals that can strip color from your hair, so it’s important to use products that are free of them. We recommend our line of sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, which are specifically designed for color-treated hair. 
  • Limit your use of heat styling tools. Heat styling tools like curling irons and flat irons can also fade your highlights over time, so try to limit your use of them. If you do use heat styling tools, be sure to use a heat protectant spray beforehand. 
  • Get regular trims. Getting regular trims helps prevent split ends and flyaways, which can make your hair look dull and lifeless. We recommend getting a trim every 6 weeks or so. 
  • Touch up your roots regularly. As your roots start to grow out, they’ll eventually start to show through your highlights. To prevent this, touch up your roots every 4-6 weeks with a color-safe shampoo or temporary root touch-up product. 

How long does it take for highlights to fade?

Highlights usually start to fade after about 6-8 weeks. Depending on the type of highlights you have, they will either get lighter or change color entirely. 

For example, if you have blonde highlights, they will gradually become less pronounced and may even start to take on a yellowish tint. If you have red highlights, they will start to fade to a copper or ginger shade.

How long do blonde highlights last?

Depending on how light or dark your natural hair color is, blonde highlights can last anywhere from six to eight weeks.

If you have very dark hair, you may need to touch up your highlights every four weeks or so. 

The thing to watch with blonde highlights as they start to fade is brassiness. This is when the hair starts to take on a yellow or orange tint.

To avoid brassiness, use a purple shampoo or toner once a week. This will help cancel out any unwanted yellow tones in your hair. It can also darken highlights that are too bright!

Does your hair go back to normal after highlights?

The short answer is: eventually, yes. Your hair will go back to its natural color after the highlights have completely grown out.

How long that takes will depend on how light or dark your natural hair color is, as well as how light or dark the highlights are.

If you have very dark hair and want to go back to your natural color, you may need to get a few inches trimmed off to get rid of any damaged or discolored ends. 

How long do salon highlights last?

If you get your highlights done at a salon, they will usually last between six and eight weeks too. But there are a few things you can do to make them last even longer:

Be sure to ask your stylist for low-maintenance highlights, such as balayage or babylights. These types of highlights are less likely to fade quickly.

Ask your stylist to use a toner on your hair after the highlights have been applied. This will help seal in the color and prevent it from fading too quickly.

Be sure to use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner at home. This will help extend the life of your highlights.

Use a heat protectant spray on your hair before using any heat styling tools, such as curling irons or flat irons. Heat can cause the highlights to fade faster, so it’s best to avoid it if possible.

If you follow these tips, your highlights should last for several weeks. 

How long do partial highlights last?

Partial highlights are a great option if you’re looking for a more low-maintenance hair color.

This technique is when highlights are applied to only the top layer of hair, typically around the face.

They usually last between four and six weeks, although they can sometimes last up to eight weeks. 

The thing to watch with partial highlights is that they can sometimes grow out unevenly. To avoid this, touch up your roots every four weeks or so. 

Do highlights damage your hair?

Highlights can damage your hair if they are not done properly.

If the bleach is left on your hair for too long, it can cause the hair to become brittle and break off.

If your heart is set on highlights, prepare your hair beforehand by using a deep conditioning treatment. This will help to protect your hair from damage and keep it healthy. 

You should also avoid washing your hair for 24 hours after getting highlights.

This will give the bleach time to set and will help prevent your hair from becoming dry and brittle. 

Parting words

We hope this article has answered all of your questions about how long highlights last.

Remember, the lifespan of your highlights will depend on the type of highlights, how well you take care of your hair, and your natural hair color.

With proper care, your highlights can last for 6 to 8 weeks or even several months. So go ahead and book that appointment at the salon—you’re in for a treat!

This article was written and reviewed 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!

  • Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant
    Hair Stylist & Color Consultant

    I’m Enza Piazza, your go-to hair stylist and color consultant with over 23 years of professional salon experience bringing vibrancy and life to hair of all hues. My Italian roots from sunny Sicily infuse passion into every snip and color, a passion that’s been recognized with top honor awards including bridal and party hair at the National Hairdressers Federation’s Championships. After training in Surrey, UK’s most prestigious salons including Head Master Academy, I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and set up Enza Hair Styling, offering tailored hair care for 13 years, and treating each client like family. Away from the salon, I cherish moments as a proud Nonna to grandson Joseph and as a playful companion to my Jack Russell, Bo.