Highlighting hair is a great way of adding color and life to dull hair. Highlighting hair entails coloring some sections or strands of hair in shades lighter or darker than the natural shade of hair. For example, a brunette may color certain stands with auburn or red highlights. Blonde hair may have dark blonde or light gold highlights. The purpose of highlighting strands of hair is to throw the remainder of the hair into relief by deft use of allied colors.
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Highlighting is done in one of the following four ways:
- Frosting: This method is used on very short hair. The tips of the hair are lightened by using a brush to apply color. This look is popular with men
- Chunking: This method is used to apply color to whole sections of hair. The color used is in shades totally removed from the natural hair color. This look is popular with pop artists who sport pink, purple, and blue highlights.
- Painting: As the name suggests, in this method, hair paints are applied to strands of hair. This look can be created at home as it requires very basic skills and materials.
- Foiling: Foiling is the method employed in salons the world over. In this method, hair strands are separated to be highlighted in shades darker and lighter than the natural shade of hair. The strands are coated with pigment and wrapped in aluminum foil for the time it takes for the color to set. In this method, the finished mane of hair shows three shades: The natural shade, a lighter shade, and a darker shade
There are natural products that can be used at home to provide temporary highlights. Products like honey, lemon juice, henna, and olive oil, when applied to the hair and left to dry can provide temporary highlights without any side effects that chemical highlights seem to have.
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To highlight hair at home, a few precautions need to be followed:
- Do not highlight permed or straightened hair
- Test the highlight with a patch test on the skin
- Use highlights on dry, shampooed hair
- Protest clothing by wearing a wrap over your clothes. Apply petroleum jelly on exposed skin near the hairline to protect the skin. Use gloves while applying color
- Comb out all knots
- Read the directions and try a strand test to check out the finished look.
- Once you finish applying the color, wait for the designated period before rinsing your hair.
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- Never shampoo your hair on the day of coloring your hair. A clarifying shampoo can be used two days before coloring.
- Never use hair color after its expiry date and never store the leftover mixture for later use.
- Hair should not be washed the day highlights have been added.
- Avoid salt or chlorinated water, overuse hot styling tools, and shampoo daily as they can cause the color to fade.