How To Highlight Hair At Home

Getting regular salon highlights can be a pricey business. Here at L’Oreal Paris, our expert knowledge in the haircare industry has allowed us to perfect our home highlighting products, and offer salon-worthy colour that will have you smiling – and swishing your hair – all the way to the bank. In this article, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know to highlight your hair at home, and avoid any hair colour nightmares.
How to prepare your hair for highlights

While you’re deciding on your hair shade, or waiting for that special occasion to go for your new look, use the weeks leading up to dyeing your hair as a chance to really pamper your tresses. We recommend switching your usual conditioner for an extra nourishing hair mask such as our  L’Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Mask to lock moisture in, and ensure your hair is at its healthiest and most hydrated before you colour. 

If your hair has a copper and auburn hue to it, we’d also recommend investing in a silver shampoo like our Colorista Silver Shampoo, which helps neutralise brassy tones. It’s a great way to prep your hair and achieve that gorgeous golden hue in your highlights.  

Don’t skip the strand test 

As you never know exactly how colour is going to behave in your hair, we’d always recommend a strand test to decide how long the dye should be left in your hair. The time difference between creating a fiery strawberry blonde or a beautiful butterscotch can be mere minutes in developing time. 

While we’re on the topic of testing, if you’re dyeing your hair for the first time you should also carry out a patch test 48 hours prior to ensure you’re not allergic to any ingredients in the dye. 

Introducing… the balayage highlighting technique

If you’re new to highlighting your hair and the thought of DIY fills you with dread, look no further than the balayage technique for a fantastic way to introduce natural-looking, almost-effortless highlights at home. 

Loved by celebrities across the world for its natural, sun-kissed appearance, balayage borrows its name from French, meaning ‘to paint’ or ‘to sweep’. Think of balayage as the more relaxed younger sister of traditional highlights, one which doesn’t demand you to keep up with root re-growth, as the technique is only applied to the lower part of your hair. 

How do I achieve balayage highlights at home?

Our Colorista Effects Balayage kit  contains everything you need to achieve the perfect balayage highlights at home. In the kit, you’ll find:

● DIY comb applicator 
● Gentle lightening formula 
● Plastic gloves
● Conditioning after-treatment
● Full instructions (as with all our products, be sure to read these thoroughly before you start colouring your hair, as well as carrying out a skin test.)

In addition, you’ll also need:

● An old towel to protect your clothes from bleach
● Petroleum jelly to apply to your ears and hairline to stop the dye getting on your skin
● Some hair clips to hold back sections of your hair, helping you to apply the dye with more precision and target specific areas

How to apply like a pro

The first step is to part your hair into two sections, either with a comb or with your fingers, so you create two bunches. Now you’re looking cute, divide the hair in half again so your head resembles the top of a hot cross bun. Clip each section back and ensure they’re as accessible as possible as you’ll shortly have your hands full!

After following the box instructions and with the products ready to go, begin by applying the dye onto our specially-designed wide comb, and then sweep it through your hair from the middle to the bottom, avoiding the roots entirely. Use the hair clips to help navigate through your hair, pinning and releasing each section as you work the dye through. 

Prefer a more hands-on approach? You can also use your (gloved) fingers to work the dye into the tips of your hair, blending the colour using downward strokes. 

Good things come to those who wait, so remember to take your time when applying the hair dye to ensure your tresses are evenly coated. 

Introducing... the “bronde” highlighting technique

When blonde meets brunette, you get beautiful, on-trend “bronde”. We love our L’Oreal Prérérence Glam Bronde collection  which comes in four shades and offers that enviable “I’ve just-got-back-from-holiday” look. 

We teamed up with Rosie Londoner to create a simple tutorial on how to embrace both your fun blonde and smouldering brunette side.

How do I achieve bronde highlights at home?

Follow the same technique we outlined in the balayage section, starting by parting your hair into four with a comb or using your fingers, and clipping each section to separate it. 

If you’re using one of our kits, you’ll notice a handy wide comb is included. Apply the product straight to the comb to ensure an even application, and sweep through your hair to create natural, golden highlights. 

Begin by applying the product about 2-3cm from the roots, emphasising application on your lengths and tips to get the lower part of your hair looking lighter. 

Leave on for the time indicated on the product packaging, then rinse thoroughly with conditioning shampoo provided. Now it’s time to blow-dry, style, and show off your gorgeous bronde locks! 

By altering your application technique slightly, you can use the  L’Oreal Prérérence Glam Bronde kit again and again to create a different look each time. 

Here are our absolute favourite bronde effects:

Wild bronde

A bronde favourite! Brush through the hair using light strokes to create sparse, natural-looking highlights straight from a sunny California beach.

City bronde

A slick-looking hairstyle that works hard and plays harder. Achieve this smokin’ bronde with success by applying colour more heavily to the ends of the hair.

Rock Bronde

Edgy and alternative, focus the colour around the sections of hair that naturally fall around your face and on the ends. Why play by the rules? 

Give it a go. We think you’ll agree that brondes definitely have more fun.

Maintaining your highlighted hair

Any new relationship requires commitment, with your hair being no exception. Here are some of our top tips for keeping your new colour bright, brilliant and beautiful:

1. Look for haircare ranges developed for coloured hair to protect and maintain your tresses such as the L’Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Low Shampoo
2. Take time out to apply a moisturising hair masque once or twice a week, such as our  L’Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Hair Mask
3. Finally, never underestimate the importance of heat protectant when styling your locks, such as the  Elnett Heat Protect Spray Smooth Blow Dry
From balayage to bronde and everything in between, these tips will keep your highlights dazzling all year round. Now, what else could we be spending that £47,000 on…?
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