Highlighting your hair is a great way to add color or warmth to your hair in a subtle way. The problem with highlights is that they are very expensive to have done professionally. Whether you like chunks of color, the subtle ombre effect of balayage highlights, hand painted highlights, or foil highlights, expect to spend a pretty penny at the salon. The great news is that you don’t have to go to a salon to achieve a similar look. Today’s over-the-counter products make it possible to achieve beautiful DIY highlights at home. From subtle highlights that are only a couple shades lighter than your natural tone to rich blonde, you can achieve the perfect highlight in the comfort of your home for a fraction of the cost.
1. Simple DIY Highlights
This great tutorial by The Beauty Department is a simple, effective method for anyone wishing to attempt highlighting their own hair. Although it is not mentioned in this tutorial, perform a strand test prior to using any color or bleach kit. This is especially important if you have dark hair.
- Flash Lightning Bleach Kit. This kit includes everything you need to highlight your hair, including; gloves, bleach, developer, a cap for processing, and a brush for application.
- Mascara spoolies. These little spoolies work great for blending your highlights.
- Hair Foils. These protect your hair from color and allow the color to heat evenly for fast processing.
- Sectioning alligator clips. These are essential to keep hair out of the way for any hair coloring or styling techniques.
2. DIY Balayage Highlights
If you are new to highlights, balayage is a great place to start. These highlights don’t go all of the way to the root of your hair and tend to grow out gracefully. This makes them easy to maintain. 2 Share My Joy has created this awesome tutorial that is easy and detailed enough for the beginner or experienced home colorist.
- Clairol Kaleidocolors. Kaleidocolors come in three shades; neutral, violet, and blue. Choose neutral for a warm blonde, violet to combat brassy tones, and the blue for a cool ash blonde. You can also go for crazier colors after bleaching and even try to make your own hair dye at home!
- Level 30 Creme Developer. This creme developer will give you an easy to work with, creamy consistency that is less likely to drip than a liquid.
- Bowl Hair Dyeing Kit. This includes everything you need to accomplish professional results in one kit.
3. Drugstore DIY Hair Dye Balayage
If you have colored your hair in the past and loved the color, but would prefer it in highlights, our DIY balayage tutorial is perfect for you. Did you know that you can use any box of hair color for highlights? It’s true!
This DIY highlighting tutorial by DIY Experience covers the basics about how to section and plan your highlights so you have consistent highlights with a color that you already love and trust. By using a color kit you have had experience with, the results are going to come out exactly how you imagine they will.
- Drug Store Hair Coloring Kit. Choose a hair color kit you have used before.
- Bowl Hair Coloring Kit. This awesome kit has everything you need to perform the task.
4. DIY Highlights – the Toothbrush Method
If you are afraid of making your highlights too large by using a standard hair color brush, a toothbrush will give you more control and is too small to make a mess when you apply the highlights. This tutorial from Women’s Health offers great advice on how to achieve the perfect highlights and also offers advice on how to keep your hair healthy after using a bleaching and color kit.
- Clairol Nice ‘N Easy Hairpainting kit. Choose the shade of your choice based on the starting color of your hair and perform a strand test prior to use.
- Toothbrush. This medium bristle toothbrush will give you more consistent strokes.
5. DIY Foil Highlights for Beginners
Foil highlighting can give you amazing results. However, if you want this done by a professional, it will cost you. The good news is that you can easily do foil highlights at home for a fraction of the cost with the same, gorgeous results. This tutorial offers some great tips and tricks to achieve perfect DIY highlights.
- Wella Blendor Lightening Powder. This is your bleaching component for this tutorial.
- Wella Koleston Perfect Developer. This developer has a high lift for dark hair colors.
- Bowl Hair Coloring Kit. This kit has all of your coloring tools in one box.
- Highligthing Foils. The foils protect your undyed hair and lock heat in for even, fast processing.
- Tail Comb. This comb will help you section your hair and weave your sections evenly.
Note: As bleaching hair is a pretty violent process for our strands, we also recommend using a good hair mask. You can also give one of our 10 tutorials for DIY hair mask a try for a more natural approach!
7. Easy Hand Painted DIY Highlights
If hand painting your own highlights sounds difficult or intimidating, think again. This tutorial by Prevention lays out the process so that you can easily identify the perfect product for your highlights and apply it in a manner that will result in beautiful, natural highlights every time.
- L’Oreal Glam Lights Highlighting Kit. This kit has nearly everything you need to get great, handpainted highlights easy.
- Color brush.
7. Subtle DIY Frosting Cap Highlights
Frosting caps were most popular in the 1980s, but they are still a great way to create your own DIY highlights as a beginner. This tutorial is a very basic introduction. There are a few notes to add to this tutorial. Never reuse a cap as the little holes can leak dye into the undyed portion of your hair. Use a creme developer with your lightener and follow the directions on the box or bottle. Also, when pulling your hair through the cap, insert the hook at a consistent angle for even coverage.
- Any Bleaching Kit or Creme Hair Color Kit. Make sure your kit uses a creme developer.
- Hair Frosting Cap. These caps are easy to use and will result in evenly distributed highlights.
- Cling wrap. This tutorial uses cling wrap, but a clear plastic shower cap will also work well.
Creating your own DIY highlights may sound intimidating, but these tutorials break it down so that nearly anyone can achieve salon-quality highlights at home for a fraction of the cost. You will also enjoy being able to tell your friends that you created your highlights yourself. What are you waiting for? Purchase your kit of choice and start highlighting!