How to Prepare for Hair Highlights

Woman lying on her back with her highlighted hair spread out on the floor

Woman lying on her back with her  highlighted hair spread out on the floor

How to do hair highlights

Hair highlights are popular because they allow you to change-up your normal hair color without the dramatic results of an all-over hair transformation. Hair highlights also offer you a way to gradually lighten your hair, instead of risking a dye job that you eventually hate. In short, highlighting your hair sounds like the perfect solution to spice up your look, or if you’ve just been bored with the same color you have had since birth. Of course, it’s really important to get ready for the process, and here are some tips for how to prepare for hair highlights.

Have Realistic Expectations

When you’re flipping through catalogs of women with gorgeous hair highlights, don’t expect your new hair color to look exactly the way it seems on the models. Unless you’re the model’s identical twin, you’ll probably have a different face shape, larger or smaller forehead, and your starting hair color may be completely different as well. In short, you can’t trust the highlights in pictures because they could have been touched up digitally, making the color hard to recreate in a salon. Hair highlights will also vary due to your hair stylist’s preferred techniques.

Find your Match

If your skin is pale with freckles, you don’t want highlights identical to Jennifer Lopez because you’d end up with hair that doesn’t work well with your natural features. And if you have medium-to-dark skin, the hair color you choose shouldn’t be based off of what a natural redhead or blonde girl would choose! Before getting hair highlights, it’s best to research the colors that will work best with your natural hair color, skin tone, and hair style to find the best match for you.

Be Aware

When preparing for hair highlights, think of it as adding a beauty accessory to your hair. Highlights need to match your style of dress – both when you’re at work and relaxing at home. You’ll also want to think of any important occasions like job interviews, weddings, proms, or other times where you are expected to look your best. If you’re going to any of the previously mention events, you don’t want to get over-the-top highlights in your hair that don’t match up with what you’re doing.

Lifestyle Appropriate

If you’re not expected to look professional at your job, then you have more freedom to experiment with chunky highlights that offer a higher contrast. But beware of making your wrinkles more visible with stark contrasting highlights since they tend to enhance one’s flaws more than subtle highlighting changes. If you’re concerned about making a drastic change to your appearance, opt for well-blended highlights that look natural while complimenting your natural hair color.

Be Committed

Having hair highlights requires commitment if you want the color to last. You should be willing to use a shampoo for color treated hair, and be ready to revisit the salon every other month (or sooner) to have your highlights retouched. You may even need a few more deep conditioning masks or treatments after you’ve gotten highlights to reduce the chance of damage from using heat on your hair.

Revisiting salons every month or two can be very damaging on your hair, so it requires a couple of extra minutes each day to keep the hair from splitting or becoming dry! Highlights also need more time under the dryer if you’re not happy with the end results. Highlights can be difficult to reverse, and can further dry out or damage your hair, so it’s important to understand the risks and benefits of getting hair highlights.

Find the Right Hair Stylist and Salon

The last step in how to prepare for hair highlights is ensuring that you go to a salon you’re comfortable with. This will make the experience go smoother, and allow you to relax while you’re under the foils. If you’re uncomfortable asking the hair stylist questions, then you won’t feel comfortable telling her you’re unhappy with the color, or explaining in detail what you really want him or her to do.

With so many hair trends, hair highlights have never gone out of style. In fact, they have only gotten more and more popular with men and women of all ages. Since they’re an easy way to add a change to your hair, and can even be done at home now, it’s no wonder why so many people are turning to highlights instead of dying their hair one boring hair color.

Going back to our original discussion on preparing for hair highlights, don’t forget to ask questions when you have them, and be honest with your hair colorist about what colors you like. Also, be open to suggestions since hair stylists will give you helpful hints to find the right color of highlights for you. For more highlight ideas check out our Pinterest Hairstyles with Highlights Board.

Guest contributor Ashley Olson is a professional writer and she enjoys sharing tips on hair coloring and in several other beauty topics.