What's the difference between a highlight and a lowlight?
Quite simply, a highlight lightens and brightens the hair, while a lowlight darkens and deepens it. Think blond, gold and chamomile tones for highlights; reds, plums and aubergine shades for lowlights. Usually, two or three colors are used throughout the hair for a multifaceted, shimmering effect - any more than that and the hues can lose their contrast and look a bit muddy.
Which hair types are best for highlights and lowlights?
Actually, any length, style or condition of hair can benefit from highlighting or lowlighting. Whatever your natural color, you shouldn't go more than three or four shades lighter or darker, as the results will be too harsh and unnatural.
Will highlighting or lowlighting damage my hair?
No. These days, colorists often use semi-permanent vegetable dyes so there's no damage to hair. Even when permanent colors are used, the process plumps up the hair cuticle so it instantly looks thicker and fuller. In any event, you should always add a conditioner to help maintain the color and texture.
How much can I expect to pay?
The cost depends upon a number of factors, such as how many highlights or lowlights you have (you can either get a 'full head' or a 'half head'), the length of your hair, and the experience of the colorist. Since he or she will apply multiple shades, it's fairly labor- intensive. For a full head, expect to pay between $110 and $165.
How often will I need to have a top-up?
It will depend a lot on the length and style of your hair and the effect you're trying to achieve. Obviously, a short, cropped style will show regrowth much faster so you'll need a top-up every six to 12 weeks. A longer, less layered style need only be touched up four times a year.
Can highlights cover my gray?
Highlighting can blend gray hair but it won’t cover it. If your hair is mostly gray you may have to tint it first to provide a base color, usually a light brown or dark blond, then highlight over it. This is a high maintenance procedure and can be expensive. The base color should be touched up every 4 to 6 weeks and the highlighting should be done 3 or 4 times a year.
What if I have really dark hair?
If you are dark brown and have always wanted highlights, here is something for you to consider. When dark hair is lightened there will always be red tones involved because of the color levels it has to go through to become blond Sometimes if the hair has been previously tinted the hair won’t bleach past the orange stage without major damage. The red/orange can be reduced with a toner to deal with this. But often unless an ultra-dramatic look is desired the contrast of light blond and dark brown is way too drastic and definitely not natural looking. Why not bring your hair up to a rich golden tone, not orange but a shimmering gold. If you are adventurous put another color along side your gold and brown, like a rich coppery red. The dramatic effect will be dazzling.