How To Highlight Your Hair

Want to achieve your own colourful or subtle highlights? Learn how to highlight hair at home with our range of semi-permanent and temporary hair dyes. 

Many semi-permanent hair dye brands ensure that their tubs and bottles are re-sealable which means you won’t waste hair dye when you are highlighting your hair and you are likely to have plenty left over for your next DIY highlights

How To Highlight Hair

With this step by step guide, you can learn how to do highlights at home. Whether you opt for bold blocks of colour or soft streaks, you can use semi-permanent hair dye to add a splash of colour to your hair. 

Before you begin, make sure you've got the following equipment to hand:

  • Disposable gloves to protect your hands from staining.
  • A tint brush for precision application.
  • An old towel to protect your clothing and surfaces.
  • Petroleum jelly to protect against drips and stains.
  • A tail comb to detangle, section off your hair, and work the dye through.
  • Sectioning clips to help you to segment your hair neatly.

Usually, half a tub of Manic Panic or another brand of hair dye will provide sufficient coverage for a full head of highlights and the remainder can be stored for future applications of highlighting hair.

How to highlight hair with foil? How to highlight hair at home with foils?

Starting with clean and dry hair, comb out any knots or tangles to give you a silky, smooth platform to work with.

Cut several lengths of tin foil or hairdressing foil, aim to cut the pieces into 8" x 4" sheets, or longer if required. Measure out longer foils for the easiest way to highlight long hair

Using a tail comb, part your hair into manageable sections and pin up. A tail comb is a type of comb used by a hairdresser that tapers off into a tail for using when sectioning off the hair. 

Once you're satisfied with your sectioning, begin by sliding a strip of foil underneath a small section of hair, making sure it’s pressed up against your scalp.

How to highlight hair at home with bleach?

Mix your bleach, following the instructions on your product. If you haven't chosen your bleach yet, be sure to check out our range, here.

Using a colour brush, apply lightener to the hair section. Start in the middle then spread out towards the roots and tips.

Fold the foil over and fix in place. Then repeat with every section of hair you wish to highlight.

Leave the lightener on for the recommended amount of time (usually about half an hour), however as this can vary from person to person, we recommend taking a look at how your colour is developing at 5 minute intervals from the halfway point of the developing time.

Once your hair has reached the desired shade, remove the foils and wash out the lightener with a mild shampoo and warm water.

Next, towel dry or blow dry your hair and thoroughly detangle.

You may need to wait a few days before applying dye to your newly bleached hair sections in order to allow your hair to recover. Make sure to check the instructions of the hair dye you are using.

Haven't selected your next hair dye shade yet? With hundreds of styles available, shop here to find your dream colour.

How to highlight hair at home yourself? How to highlight hair yourself?

When you are ready to add colour, section off the pre-lightened hair and pin these back with hair clips, so they're ready for highlighting.

Apply hair dye to the pre-lightened hair in the same manner as before, using foils and a tint brush.

Allow the colour to process for about 30 minutes (check your hair dye instructions for the developing time), then once you're happy with the shade you've achieved, rinse out each section separately with cool water.

Alternatively, you can apply the colour all over your hair after pre-lightening, which results in more subtle highlights to complete your hair highlights at home.

How to highlight hair with cap?

Want to know how to do highlights in hair? To highlight your hair using a cap make sure your hair is thoroughly combed and detangled. Add the cap to your head and use the holes in your cap to pull sections of hair through to the outside of the cap. You can make your own highlighting cap using a regular plastic cap by carefully cutting holes into the cap in the places that you would like highlights. You can then cover the hair that is on the outside of the cap with bleach or hair dye, depending on if you are pre-lightening your hair. Allow the hair dye to develop then carefully rinse off. Remove the cap and you should be left with highlighted hair.

Where to place highlights?

It is important to think about the placements of your highlights when you are learning how to apply hair colour highlights. With any method of hair highlighting it can be difficult to know where to place your highlights if you are highlighting your hair at home. If you are highlighting your hair on your own it is easiest to stick to highlighting the front of your hair as you will be able to clearly see where you are placing the highlights. It can also make it easier to highlight your hair at home if you place the highlight a little way away from the roots of your hair to create a balayage effect. 

How to highlight hair without cap? How to highlight your hair without a cap? How to highlight hair at home without foil?

It is possible to highlight your hair without using a cap or foil but it is extremely difficult. Even short hair will get better results when highlighted with a cap or foil. There are two ways you can attempt to highlight your hair without a cap or foil.

Method 1: Use a comb to give yourself highlights on the top of your hair. Add your bleach or hair dye to your comb and gently comb it through the top layer of your hair. The problem with this method is that it is not very accurate and the hair product can end up on areas of your hair that you were not planning on highlighting.

Method 2: Use your natural highlights to get a subtle highlighted effect. If you have ‘virgin’ hair you are likely to have natural highlights in your hair. Choosing certain hair dyes and applying them without bleaching your hair first will mean that the naturally lighter strands of your hair will look different with the hair dye than the darker strands of hair, therefore, creating very subtle highlights. 

How to highlight hair at home without a kit?

If you don’t want to use a kit to create highlights at home then you can simply make your own or opt for temporary highlights. Gather all the items listed in our guide above and you will easily be able to highlight your hair at home. Alternatively, why not use one of our temporary sprays or hair chalks to add funky streaks to your hair without the commitment; it’s a great way of how to streak hair. These products can be placed straight onto your hair (results may vary depending on your natural hair colour) and can just as easily be washed out again. Check out our full range of temporary hair colours, here.

How to highlight dark hair at home?

To highlight dark hair at home, you may want to pre-lighten the streaks that you want to highlight in order to get noticeable vibrant highlights. If you want more natural DIY highlights dark hair then choose a similar dark colour that will give a subtle tint to your highlighted hair, allowing you to skip the bleach. Colours such as dark reds and purples are perfect for pairing with dark hair. Please note results will vary depending on your natural hair colour and porosity.

If you are new to dyeing hair, it can be daunting to try and create your own highlights at home. If you are looking for a basic way of how to streak your own hair then choosing a temporary spray or chalk is definitely the quickest, cheapest, and easiest option but if you want to try out something that will last longer then follow our step by step guide for using semi-permanent hair dye to highlight your hair at home.

Looking for more information about dyeing your hair at home? Our hair dye guides include helpful information about dyeing hair as well as tips on how to achieve different styles.

Please Note: Blue Banana hair dye information should be read alongside professional advice. Blue Banana makes no guarantee of validity and additional instruction should be taken from trained persons.