Craving some color? Heres what you should know before diving into an at-home highlighting kit

Being stuck at home in quarantine has been extra rough for *anyone* used to a strict beauty salon routine. It's been super hard and stressful figuring out how to care for our luscious locks...especially when there is so much information out there on how to do highlights at home. It can get tricky figuring out what's safe and what's not. If you have highlights or are looking to change up your natural color, be sure to follow these steps and tips below. 

Step 1: Consult with a colorist 


Who else has been having dreams of silky blowouts and perfectly blended roots?

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Always make sure that you consult with a professional colorist when looking to fix up your roots or get brand-new highlights. Diving into the process before talking with a professional will be a *huge* mistake.

colorist knows *everything* about what could possibly damage your hair, what's in the highlighting kits sold in drug stores and the *exact* shade that's perf for your mane. If you don't have a colorist ready to DM on Insta, brands like L'Oréal have professionals you can talk to on their website *for free* who can answer any of your questions or concerns. If you send them a picture of your hair or do a video chat they can tell you which color highlights to get, give you amaze tips and more!

Step 2: Find the perfect coloring kit for you

This is one of the most important steps because if you use the wrong coloring kit your hair may not turn out the color you wanted. "It will cost a lot more money to correct the color than it did to buy the coloring kit," says Astrid Cohen, Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa NYC Color Director.

"If you really want to lighten up your hair, try L'Oréal. It's the best brand if you absolutely wanna try at home," Cohen adds. A common first-timer mistake? Buying a hair dye kit instead of a highlighting kit. When you're searching for your highlighting kit make sure it has a *lightener* because using standard hair dye will not give you the shiny highlight look that you want. Standard dye and highlight lightener have a very different consistency, so using the wrong material could really mess up your hair. 

Step 3: Buy the correct materials


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In addition to the highlighting kit, there are other important products that you need to get your hands on in order to successfully highlight your hair from home. First, you need to get some tin foil if you don't already have some laying around your kitchen. The tinfoil is used to separate and wrap the strands of hair that are being highlighted from the ones that are not. In salons, the colorists have them pre-cut into smaller pieces (4" x 6" rectangles) to make for a quicker visit.

Beware that the foil is a heat conductor so it is going to lighten your hair quicker than you may think, so make sure to not leave your hair wrapped in the foil for too long (depending on how light you want it). You are also going to need a brush to brush the lightener onto your hair. This can be a fancy salon brush if you have one, but a paintbrush or even a toothbrush can be used for this step. As long as what you're using has bristles to pick up the lightener, it'll work!

For the lightener dye, you are going to need a medium-sized bowl to pour it into and latex gloves so it doesn't stain your hands.  

Step 4: Prepare and protect your hair 


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Before you start applying the lightener dye you are going to want to prep your hair beforehand to make sure it's clean and healthy! "Deep moisturizing treating can help to keep the hair healthy, I recommend Kérastase by loreal," said Astrid Cohen, Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa NYC Color Director. "The brand surface is good too" Astrid added. To successfully prep for the best highlights you are going to want to shampoo and condition your hair, dry it and then do the highlights once it's dry. It's okay to do the highlights right after you dry it, but waiting 24 hours is typically recommended.

Step 5: Do a test strand


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Doing a test strand will help you get used to the highlighting process before you do your whole entire head. This way you can figure out how light you want the highlights to be before you do the rest of them. Since it's just the test strand, you'll only want to apply a little amount of the lightener from the kit to a *small* sliver of hair.

Wait between 10-15 minutes for it to soak into the hair, and after that wipe it off. At this point, you will be able to see if you like or dislike the lightener job that you did. If you didn't like what you did *don't worry* you can fix it, just reapply the formula from the kit and check on it every so often until you like the results. 

Step 6: Section your hair and paint away


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Once you've gotten the color you *love* on your test strand...just do the same thing on the rest of your hair! Be sure to part your hair how you like it for everyday styling, and not some *crazy* way or else the highlights won't look natural. Start with the lightener in the front of your head and gradually make your way with the brush carefully around your head. As a safety measure make sure not to get the lightener cream in your scalp. When you're working in the front of your head make the streaks of lightener about an inch long, and gradually shorten the streaks as you make the way to the back of your head. Remember not to be a perfectionist with this, the more natural it looks the prettier it will be! 

Let us know if these steps worked! Tag us on Insta (@girlslifemag) to show off your fab highlights!


by Hayley Miller | 6/27/2020