Dyeing Your Hair Tips: Highlights, Lowlights, Or Both?

So you want to change your hair color.

Dying Your Hair

It could be due to those unsightly gray or white hairs that are showing up with age. Or it could be that you are just in the mood for a change, however subtle it may be.

Either way, it’s great! Now, you have a few options to choose from.

Do you color it all one color? Maybe you will get highlights and lowlights? Or how about both?

Before you make this decision, you will want to know the basics of these coloring techniques and the methods used to apply such color.

It is also helpful to understand the differences between highlights and lowlights.

This knowledge, in combination with a few photos of hair you’ll really like, will ensure that the stylist gets your hair right and styles it to just how you want it!

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So, What Is Hair Dye?

Hair dye is the coloring agent that is used to color hair.

These dye colors come in a menagerie of shades and tones ranging from dark to light. There two major categories:

  • Some are natural-looking colors like blonde, brown, or black.
  • In contrast, others are bright and even neon-like such as pink, blue, green or purple.

Most often, people opt for highlights and lowlights. Neither one of them presupposes a solid coloring of every strand of hair on your head.

Instead, hi or lo-lights are strands in either a stronger or mellower shade that are woven throughout your locks to add dimension, volume, and depth.

There are several ways in which you can apply highlights and lowlights to your hair. As expected, each leads to a different outcome.

A good stylist should be able to use each of these techniques to achieve your desired look.

Even if you don’t know the names or understand the ins and outs of them, your stylist can judge which one, or which combination of both, should be used on your hair. This will depend on what you are looking to achieve.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the various ways in which you can dye your hair!

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Lo and Highlights Hair Dyeing Methods

I. The Balayage


This technique is typically used when you want a thicker, more chunky approach to highlights and lowlights.

Balayage is also the choice for those that prefer a more natural or carefree color option.

Since this is done freehanded, there is less symmetry in the coloring of your hair. This gives you a more dramatic and casual look.

With balayage, your stylist will take swatches of hair and paint on a lightening or darkening agent.

After each piece of hair is painted, it is wrapped in cellophane. This process is continued around the head until the desired amount of hair is colored.

The balayage approach tends to be defined by lighter tips and sometimes a more ombre look.

However, this method uses more peroxide than the foil method (which we will talk about next), so it isn’t for everyone.

II. The Foils Method


If you are looking for a typically blonder look or one that is more symmetrical, then you should probably opt to go with foils.

Your stylist will place foils on top and underneath the hair. These tend to blend more easily with your base or natural hair colors.

Foils work best if you are looking for a more even distribution of color.

The foil method works by sectioning the hair into swatches, somewhat similar to the balayage method.

However, the stylist will then further separate that hair into thick or thin strands (depending on your preference).

These strands are then painted with highlights and lowlights and wrapped in foil.

This foil both protects the surrounding hair from getting color on it and also ensures that the wrapped hair stays wet and strong.

Some stylists prefer this method because it gives a more controlled and compact look to the hair color.

However, this is an option that is completely up to you, as it is your hair.

So, Why Do You Think People Use Hair Dye?

There are countless reasons why people choose to color their hair. One, if not the most common, is because they want to change their look through a new color.

For many, hair dye is also a great way to cover up or disguise gray or white hair.

We all know that this starts to grow and become visible as we age. But some just don’t want to sport gray or silver or white hair (no matter how trending it might be).

Some will just want to experiment with hair colors.

Because let’s be honest, there are so many great colors out there, or color melts, or accents, or combinations.

For example, people that have naturally blonde hair and are looking for a change may opt to have their hair dyed a darker shade of brown or could even go for shades of black.

Some people want dramatic, appearance-shattering changes, while others just want to add a touch of something lighter or darker here and there.

Highlights and lowlights can do so much to really change the look of your hair!

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About Highlights And Lowlights

1. Highlights


Highlights are classified as any color you put into strands of your hair that is lighter than the natural or base color of your hair.

There is a common misconception that highlights have to blonde. That is so not the case.

Simply any lighter color will do.

This makes your choice of highlight color even more varied.

For those that want a subtle change, you and your stylist can choose colors that are near your original or base color but still lighter.

For example, if you have dark brown hair, you can opt to go with a caramel or copper tone.

This might be a better alternative for you rather than going with blonde highlights that are at least three shades lighter than your hair.

If you already have very light-colored hair, this might not be the best option for you either.

A lighter shade may be harder to find or make any difference in your hair.

Highlights usually are a popular choice for the summer months.

Most want their hair and skin to have that perfect sun-kissed look without having to spend a lot of time under harmful UV rays.

2. Lowlights


Lowlights are, as expected, just the opposite of highlights. They are classified as any color that is darker than your natural or base hair color.

These colors, just like highlights, are strands of color that are woven throughout your hair.

These tend to work a little better on lighter shades of hair as it may be difficult to find a shade or tone darker than already dark natural hair.

Adding lowlights to your hair adds dimension and depth to your hair.

It can also make it seem more natural. If you look at a child’s hair, you will notice several shades of hair that appear naturally.

If you have ever dyed your hair a solid color or have done lots of highlighting, your hair may pretty much be all one shade or tone.

To add a more natural look your stylist, consider mixing in some lowlights as well. They will add subtlety to your hair.

This will also keep you from having to come in for a touch-up every six weeks due to your darker roots.

Lowlights will keep darker roots looking natural and tie everything together more seamlessly.

Most people go for lowlights in the winter months when lighter shades of hair might make your paler skin look more washed out.

The added darker hues help add a warmer tone to your skin while still allowing your hair to retain that natural, sun-kissed look.

3. Highlights and Lowlights [Both]


Many people get both highlights and lowlights when they color their hair.

This adds even more dimension and can also create the impression of volume.

Your stylist can talk with you about all the color options and the tones you could or want to go with.

For example, you may get some highlights on the top, to frame your face, while also getting some lowlights underneath to add a more natural dimension to your hair.

Some may choose to get highlights and lowlights in bright vibrant colors as well.

However, as we stated before, those with either very light hair or very dark hair may have some difficulty with this.

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So, What Is YOUR Hair Motivation?

No matter what method you choose to color your hair, and what color you dye it, the choice is completely up to you!

Your hair is your canvas and you can do what you want with it.

However, just remember to do some research too and decide what styles and methods you like the most.

You may find that you like chunkier highlights and lowlights and, therefore, decide to go for h a balayage.

Or maybe you want a little more precision and symmetry in your color, like that achieved when using foils.

Pro TIP:

Choose at least one, maybe even a few photos of hairstyles and colors that you really like to take with you to the salon.

These will go a long way in helping your stylist understand exactly what look or end result you are going for.

Having many pictures can also help you narrow down your choices and decide on the perfect look for you, no matter the season or occasion.

Highlights and lowlights can be a fun way to get rid of those pesky grays or just make a few subtle (or bold) changes.

Look into your options and see what hair possibilities await you. There are endless possibilities!

Also, don’t forget to tell us which hair dyeing technique you ended up choosing. Were lowlights, highlights, or both (or none) the ones for you?

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Last update on 2021-09-18 at 06:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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