What are highlights?
Highlighting is a technique where you lighten strategic strands of hair to create brightness and dimension.
They can work on any hair colour, so they’re perfect if you’re looking to brighten your current colour, or transform your look without the commitment of a completely new all-over colour. A few strategically-placed highlights can even make fine hair look thicker.
How long does it take to highlight hair?
It depends on the colour of your natural hair, its texture and how light you want your highlights to be. For example, do you want chunky, sculptural strands or a subtle sun-kissed look? All in all, you’re looking at spending around two to three hours at the salon.
Now all you need is some inspo to take to the salon for your next colour update - so here are our favourite hair highlighting ideas for every hair colour.
Brown hair highlighting ideas:
Darker locks can be transformed with a few well-placed highlights. Whether you’re after a sun-kissed look or a more reddish hue, here are three ways to spice up your brunette style.
1. Brown hair with blonde highlights
Subtle blonde highlights through darker hair can instantly transform and brighten your style, and flatter any complexion. They also enhance textured or layered waves for the ultimate beach babe look.
Keep those blonde bits bright to stand out from your darker base colour by using our Brilliant Brunette Colour Vibrancy Shampoo and Brilliant Brunette Colour Vibrancy Conditioner every day.
Brown hair with caramel highlights
The classic combination of dark hair with caramel tones looks great with an ombré or balayage technique. Warm caramel and rich darker hues melt into each other to illuminate your ends for a dimensional and luxurious-looking colour.
Keep your colour looking fresher for longer and combat orange tones with our Brilliant Brunette Blue Crush Shampoo.
3. Brown hair with red highlights
Red highlights are a fun way to add a jolt of colour to darker locks without the commitment of an all-over colour.
Define which shade of brunette you are by visiting our guide to 10 shades of brown hair to get a feel for the kind of highlights that’ll work best for you.
4. Brown hair balayage
Balayage on brown hair helps you achieve a natural-looking, multi-tonal style - it’s surprisingly low-maintenance, and lets your keep your natural hair shade while giving your style a boost. If you’re after a subtle change, warm and golden vanilla blonde streaks will give your hair a fresh, updated look.
If you’re trying a bolder approach, well-placed pops of caramel or mahogany offer eye-catching contrasts to lift mid-to-dark browns.
5. Money pieces for brown hair
It’s always worth exploring face-framing highlights if you’ve got brown hair - they add brightness around the face while accentuating both your hair colour and best facial features.
Soft balayage money piece highlights add warmth to your complexion and refresh brown strands. If you’ve got a naturally darker base colour, honey blonde face-framing highlights will give you a gorgeous, dimensional look - pair with bouncy curls for year-round glamour.
Blonde hair highlighting ideas
It’s rare to see all-over solid blonde hair, and that’s because highlighted blonde hair is just too pretty to miss out on.
Not only do blonde highlights look stunning, root regrowth is less of a problem as the highlighted strands will help blend darker roots.
1. Blonde hair with pink highlights
Want to give your blonde a vibrant update? Try adding some pastel pink highlights throughout your locks - this perfectly pretty rosy shade blends seamlessly into light blonde hair, and also blends well with other colours in case you fancied trying the latest rainbow hair colour trend.
If you want to try this look out by yourself, check out our tips on hair colouring at home. Finish off the look with our Detox & Repair Masque to give your hair some TLC.
2. Blonde hair with caramel highlights
If you have darker blonde hair and want a lighter look, ask your colourist for caramel highlights. This warm shade of blonde will give you a lighter look that looks great styled in voluminous waves, which helps to show off all those blonde tones.
Our Go Blonder Intensive Repair Mask is the perfect post-stylist treat to keep your tresses in top condition.
3. Golden blonde highlights
If you want a sun-kissed look without spending hours outside, go for golden blonde highlights. By adding this warm shade to your strands, you’ll brighten your hair and your complexion as well.
Keep those golden tones from fading by using our Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Moisturising Shampoo and Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Moisturising Conditioner every time you wash and condition your hair.
4. Blonde hair balayage
Balayage is an ideal way to lighten and update blonde hair – especially if it’s darkened with age.
After a show-stopping look? Platinum blonde balayage adds depth and drama - especially when you leave a little bit of root shadow on show. If your natural colour’s a little darker, dark blonde balayage will create a sophisticated look brimming with dimension.
Honey blonde balayage is a warm, summery alternative with subtle ribbons of rich colour – perfect when paired with loose wavy hair.
5. Money pieces for blonde hair
Money piece highlights will brighten and soften your style, as well as highlighting your best features by cleverly framing your face. This technique suits every shade of blonde - however, they can look overdone if you don’t have any other highlights or choose an ultra-light colour on darker blonde hair.
Chunky blonde money piece highlights work beautifully with already-balayaged hair - if you want a money piece on unhighlighted hair, warm blonde money piece highlights add movement and depth.
Red hair highlighting ideas
Redheads can totally rock highlights too - the trick is to keep your base colour vibrant to let the highlights shine through.
Red hair is notorious for losing its vibrance easily, so check out our top tips for how to stop your hair colour from fading and invest in our Radiant Red Red Boosting Shampoo and Radiant Red Red Boosting Conditioner to keep your locks looking luscious.
1. Red hair with blonde highlights
If you have a light ginger coloured base, a few well-placed blonde accents can really help brighten your hair colour and your complexion. The subtle tonal changes are easy to maintain too, as they blend seamlessly into your base colour.
2. Red hair with copper highlights
Copper highlights are a great way to warm up a block red base colour. They work on most shades of red and look great all year round to add some luminosity to your style.
Just make sure to keep your locks hydrated once highlighted to make sure they stay in great condition.
3. Red hair with caramel highlights
Caramel highlights look perfect on a berry base to create a tonal look.
Check out our round-up of 10 different shades of red hair to determine which base colour you have and then decide on the right shade of highlights for your red hair.
4. Red hair balayage
Balayage is also suitable for red hair - lots of stylists recommend a look based on cold blondes like platinum or beige, which give red hair a flattering extra dimension and enhance your features.
However, if you’re a natural redhead, you can add varying shades of strawberry blonde to your locks to create contrast and colour.
5. Money pieces for red hair
Redheads can easily rock face-framing highlights - and if you’re after an updated 90s vibe, this could be the perfect look for you.
Light caramel blonde money pieces add subtle contrast with summery undertones - you can even go bold with platinum blonde. If you don’t want to bleach your hair, you could try doing a reverse money piece and going darker in front to make a statement.