Many people assume that a bright blonde hair color is gorgeous on its own, but they soon find that without blonde hair highlights, even the prettiest shade looks flat and unnatural.
Why Blonde Hair Needs Highlights
Blonde hair naturally reacts with sunlight and ultraviolet radiation to create subtle shades of color, from brown tones to nearly white hues. Because of this, blonde hair without highlights tends to look artificial. Hair highlights add depth and texture and if properly done, create a gorgeous look without sacrificing the overall blonde shade.
Preparing for Highlights
Naturally blonde hair is very fine and can be delicate. Individuals who want to add highlights to their naturally sunny locks should carefully condition their hair prior to chemical treatments, and leave-in conditioners help protect the strands during processing.
Hair that has been previously colored blonde may be more difficult to highlight. Most hair dyes cannot be colored in layers and need to be stripped before highlights can be added. The harsh treatment necessary to achieve a blonde color can severely damage hair, and deep conditioning treatments are recommended to keep hair healthy before highlighting.
Choosing the Best Highlight Shade
There are dozens of hues of blonde hair highlights available. The key to choosing the best shade isn't just picking a pretty color: it needs to coordinate with your hair, skin, and eye color for a blended, natural look; ideally, more than one highlight shade should be used. Individuals who were born with blonde hair that darkened as they aged (which is natural) can look at old photographs - their previous shades of blonde are superb choices for highlights. Individuals who have adopted blonde locks, however, need to take greater care in choosing the best highlight color.
For Your Hair Color
Natural highlights are subtle and smooth, without drastic color differences. To achieve this effect through highlighting, opt for a highlight shade no more than one or two shades lighter than the base hair color. If your blonde shade is very light already, lowlights - accent colors one or two shades darker than your base color - may be more appropriate.
For Your Skin Color
Because highlights often frame the face, skin color is the most important factor when choosing an accent shade. The wrong highlight color can make your complexion appear too flushed, too pale, or just discolored.
For warm skin tones… Warm skin tones have hints of peach, pink, or gold, and the skin tans easily and evenly. Rich highlight colors such as straw, light gold, bronze, caramel, or very subtle shades of red complement warm skin.
For cool skin tones… Individuals with cool skin tones are frequently pale and do not tan easily. Their skin may have blue or gray undertones that are best highlighted and soothed by ash, beige, wheat, taupe, or other subtle highlights.
For ruddy skin tones… Ruddy skin tones tend to have strong red undertones and blush easily. Individuals with ruddy tones should avoid red-based highlights that can accentuate their skin, but beige, gold, and honey brown shades are excellent options.
For Your Eye Color
If you have chosen your blonde hair highlight color based on your hair color and skin tone, it will likely already match your eye color as well. As a double check, note that individuals with very light eyes (blue or green) tend to have cool skin tones and should opt for paler highlight colors, while individuals with dark eyes can often choose richer shades.
Natural Blonde Hair Highlights
Naturally blonde and brunette hair can be given stunning highlights with no chemicals at all. These hair colors naturally lighten in the sun, and spending time outdoors is a great way to achieve perfect natural highlights. To help hair highlight naturally, opt for hair styles such as braids that will expose different layers of hair to sunlight. If the lightening takes repeated exposures, be sure to use leave-in conditioners to preserve the hair's moisture.
Caring for Highlights
Properly cared for, blonde hair highlights can last as long as three months without retouching, particularly if they are not a drastically different shade than the base hair color. To keep the highlights looking wonderful…
- Use color-preserving shampoo
- Avoid additional color treatments
- Keep hair moisturized with regular conditioning
With proper color matching and basic care, blonde hair highlights can turn any shade of blonde into a stunning style with texture and flair.