There’s a reason why hair highlights never go out of style. Whether you want to opt for a complete hair transformation or simply change things up a little, highlighting your hair is the single most fun way to get a new look! Not only is highlighting your hair a trendy way to switch things up, but it is also versatile. There are many variations for you to pick from, and you will always find yourself spoilt for choice. Whether you want to go for a funky color and spice things up or go for basic and subtle streaks, you can choose the right option that flatters your skin tone, facial structure and matches your personal style!
Even though highlights may mean spending hours in the salon chair, a fresh set of ombré highlights or foil ayage will make all that effort worth it! Don’t know what those terms mean? You’re not alone. The hair colouring process can be overwhelming for most, and the best way to minimize any confusion is to be familiar with the terminology and know precisely what you want! To help you get started on your hair highlighting journey, here are the different types of hair colour highlights you can pick from.
Types of Hair Highlighting Styles
Below are some of the most popular types of highlights, let us know your favorite type of highlight and why do you like it in the comments section below. For some of these styles, you might need to use a hair dryer, if you don’t have one or are looking to buy a new one, check out our article on the best hair dryer.
Baby lights are extremely natural and subtle blonde-white highlights that are supposed to give the impression of sunkissed hair. They try to mimic the natural blend of colours often observed in children or virgin hair. Even though they look natural, they are ultra-fine lines that are carefully placed throughout your hair. Baby lights complement those with both long and short hair and are an excellent option for those who don’t want something too drastic. Low maintenance, subtle and fresh, baby lights are an ideal choice for the summers.
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2. Foil Ayage
Foil ayage is a balayage technique that involves wrapping strands of hair in foil to colour them. Besides the foil, the main difference between foil ayage and balayage is that the former provides a higher lift when compared to freehand balayage. You will get blonder faster and in fewer sessions through foil ayage because the foil allows the hair to get lighter when wrapped inside. This results in distinct high contrast highlights in comparison to balayage that gives a more breezy look.
3. Traditional Highlights
Like the name suggests, traditional highlights are the classic, tried and tested conventional variation. Traditional highlights run from the roots to the tips and require frequent touch-ups once the hair grows out. It involves sectioning the hair into thinner strands, wrapping them in an aluminum foil coated with lightening agents and leaving them to process. The final look is a sleek yet straightforward variation of highlights that frames your face and adds dimension to your hair.
Ombré is when one shade blends into another shade, usually moving from darker tints to lighter ones. It is a two-toned hair colour effect, where the top colour is usually your natural hair colour that gradually fuses with a lighter colour. Usually, people opt for browns and greys when getting ombré highlights, but funky colours like pink, blue and red are also popular choices. Ombré is a versatile and customizable option, and its biggest advantage is that you don’t need to opt for frequent touch-ups. Since the hair colour starts from the bottom half, and your roots remain untouched- ombré retains its original look and feel even once your hair grows out.
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One of the most popular hair highlighting styles, Balayage doesn’t involve the use of foils at all. Instead, balayage is accomplished via hand painting strands of hair. The freehand technique gives a supernatural and fresh look that’s not too drastic and yet noticeable. Balayage works on any hair colour, and any hair length making it one of the most versatile options. Balayage embraces your natural root shade, and so grows out well. It requires little maintenance and rare touch-ups. It gives hair a natural sunkissed feel that makes your hair look effortlessly cool.
Sombrè is a creative mix of subtle and ombre and is precisely what it sounds like. It is the seamless and gradual transition of one colour to another. It’s a smoother and more organic alternative to ombrè. It is a gradient transition between the root colour and the colour of your highlights. The root colour is also woven between the rest of the hair. This gives a flowing and dimensional look to your hair and makes it look even thicker and healthier. Just like ombré, it is low maintenance since these highlights don’t start from the roots. When your hair grows out, it’ll look intentional and give a whole new look to your hair.
7. Frosted And Chunky Highlights
Frosted highlights involved the dyeing of scattered strands of hair in sparkling hues. It aims to give a “frosty” or “icy” look to your hair by highlighting strands in cool blonde tones like ash, platinum, and beige. Hair frosting builds a strong contrast between the highlights and the base colour, giving your hair a fresh and cool vibe.
Chunky highlights were a major trend in the 2000s that fizzled out eventually. The modern chunky highlights, however, are surprisingly chic and vogue. They’re much more sleek and dainty when compared to the retro version. The best way to rock chunky highlights is by opting for a shade just two or three levels lighter than your natural hair colour. This makes the transition subtle and ensures that your highlights pop without looking too harsh.
8. Ribbon Highlights
Pretty self-explanatory, ribbon highlights involve dyeing strands of hair to give an illusion of coloured ribbons. Ribbon highlights start with a solid colour, and then a lighter hue is interspersed throughout the entirety of the hair in ribbon-like shapes. This gives your hair volume and depth, and looks great when styled into loose beach waves!
Partial Vs. Full Highlights
Partial highlights are when highlights are placed around the face to create a brightening or framing effect. The hair is only coloured in sections, usually to give a quick lift to your hair or touch up your roots. It’s often referred to as “half head of highlights.” Partial highlights give dimension to your hair and brighten your face without changing your hair colour completely. They give a natural sunkissed look and intend to make the hair look bouncy and supple.
Full Highlights involves highlighting your hair entirely. This means all your hair is dyed into a single solid colour. There are endless options to choose from, from subtle shades to brighter and more dramatic hues. Full highlights make your hair look more textured. Full highlights can change your entire look and make you look completely different if you opt for a very different color from your root color. However, they can also be subtle yet fresh if you go for a less obvious colour. Full highlights are the way to go if you want to switch it up and go for something very new. However, they require frequent touch-ups that partial highlights don’t. Partial highlights are also cost-effective.
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There is no lack of options when it comes to different types of highlights. You can mix and match with colours, patterns, styles, and designs before deciding the style you prefer. You can experiment with different hair colours and highlights every once in a while! After all, variety is the spice of life, and what’s better than some fresh highlights to add some change to your everyday looks!