Want to do a lil’ something with your hair? Getting highlights can be really exciting. But before you hit the salon, here are a few pointers you MUST browse through.
Go on, get reading!
1. Know what you’re signing up for
Highlights actually means adding a new streak of colour that is lighter than the natural colour of your hair. (If you want a streak of darker colour, that’s called lowlights.) Depending on the kind of highlights you want, it could also mean using two colours on your hair for a bold contrast. While highlights do not touch the roots of your hair - so you don’t have to work on getting your “roots” done when your hair grows - read up on the subject and look at pictures of celebs with highlights, etc., to make sure you’ve made up your mind and you’re ready to invest time in post colour-care.
2. Embrace your natural colouring
Making the most of your natural hair colour and what suits your skin tone can go a long way in acing the look. Broadly speaking, most of us are either cool toned with bluish-brown undertones, or have warm toned skin with overtones of orange-yellow. If your veins are visible and your wrist looks pale, you have cool toned skin. And if your veins are not that obvious, you lean towards the warmer side of the scale. The haemoglobin levels in our body determines if we are cool or warm toned.
3. Figure out what works well for your colouring
If you are cool toned, and have a medium to dark complexion, your overall colouring can be described as “Dark Cool”. Ash-toned highlights will add a layer of freshness and complement your natural colour.
If you are cool-toned and fair, you’ll probably fit under the category of “Light Cool”. Ash-blonde highlights will really suit you.
If you are warm toned, with a medium to dark complexion, your colouring would be called “Dark Warm”. You can strike a contrast with shades of caramel and add dimension to your look.
Finally, “Light Warm” - this is what you’d be categorized as if you’re fair and have a warm skin tone. Neutral gold highlights would look great on you.
Most Indians fit under the “Dark Cool” and “Light Cool” categories, and you should explore colours accordingly. Having said that…if you want to try a semi-permanent shade of Indigo blue JUST ‘coz you’re feeling it, chuck the shade card, and go right ahead and experiment! It’s about expressing yourself too - not just sticking with the “rules”.
4. Invest in the process
Make sure you seek out the best colourist/ hair stylist in your city, especially if this is your first time. Ask your friends to recommend professionals, not salon chains. Get a free consultation and go through the colour shade and the process details with the hair expert. This will give you confidence in what you’re doing. Finally, while we don’t suggest getting highlights done at home, if you are
determined to do it it, then please invest in a proper highlighting kit and use a toothbrush to be precise with the application.
5. Keep an eye out on trends
Hair colouring is a longish-term investment, so it’s best to do some research before you get highlights. Apart from foil highlighting, which is the most basic technique for getting it done, there are three other techniques. Of these, a technique called “balayage” is a rage in the West. Herein, the colorist paints on the highlights by hand, making the colour seem more natural. Another trend called “sombre” is popular on Pinterest: it means having your highlights tipped towards the end and being super blended towards the roots. So keep an eye out for what’s out there, and make sure you get the best of the best!
6. Make sure to regain the natural health of your hair before going for highlights
Getting any sort of colour on your hair can damage your hair to a certain degree, even if you’re using the best products. While highlights don’t actually cause as much damage since you have the option of not touching the colour to your roots, colour of any sort can still make your hair brittle. So make sure to take good care of your hair before you decide to get those highlights. Indulge your hair with some hair packs, hair spas or just oil massages for a few months before getting highlights. So that when you do get highlights, your hair is healthy and can handle that colour!
7. Don’t go TOO light
Yes, we mentioned this already, but it’s worth mentioning again. Unless you’re going with a completely different colour altogether - purple, blue, green and the like - you don’t want to pick a colour that is almost as light as your actual skin tone. That often makes one look washed out. You also should be careful about picking a colour that is no more than 3 shades lighter than your actual hair colour - anything lighter often has a way of looking completely mismatched and patchy.
8. Know how much of your hair you want highlighted and for what purpose
Once you know what colour you want, you also need to know how much of your hair you actually want highlighted. Full or partial? Some people often get highlights placed around their face for framing or brightening effect. While others opt to get their whole head, front to back highlighted, often also with the purpose to hide some greying hair. So, before you sit down to get those highlights, know why you want them and how much you actually want.
9. Make sure you take care of those highlights after!
Post highlight care is just as important if not more as taking care of your hair before. Make sure you deeply condition your hair at least once a week and indulge in products that are colour friendly. Wash your hair slightly less often and use a heat protectant while styling your hair, even if you didn’t before.
Happy highlights to ya!
MUST-READ: Hair Colour 101: The Everything You Need To Know Guide Before You Tone Those Tresses
MUST-READ: #RealGirlBeauty: 10 Things to Keep In Mind Before Colouring Your Hair