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Frosted Hair Coloring Vs. Highlighting Hair: What You Need to Know

There are different techniques a hair specialist can use while dyeing your hair. The method used depends on the results you want from a coloring session. If you’re going to change your hair color completely, it’s pretty straightforward.

Conversely, if you want only some parts of your hair dyed, a stylist can either use frosting or highlighting techniques. While frosting and highlighting are both hair-dyeing methods, they’re not the same.

Many people mistake frosting and highlighting as the same because they have similar applications. But, the results show a clear difference between frosted hair and highlights.

In this guide, we’ll discuss frosting and highlighting while showing you the differences between the two hair-dyeing techniques. It’s important to compare hair frosting vs highlighting, so you don’t walk into the salon misled. Let’s get right into it!


Frosted Hair: What is Frosting?

Frosted Hair

Usually, frosting is a word you can relate to icy temperatures. But in the case of hair coloring, frosting has nothing to do with cold temperatures.

Your hairstylist will color your hair strands individually during hair frosting, leaving the adjacent hair strands in their natural state. Once a strand has color, the next strand won’t have that tint.

During frosting, you’re not exactly losing your hair color to the new tint you’re introducing. Instead, your natural hair color will blend in perfectly with the new tint. It’s a combination that makes for a cold-like, beautiful look — hence the name, frosting. The cold-like look is a major difference between frosted hair and highlighted hair.

During hair frosting, it’s best to choose a shade darker or lighter than your hair color. For instance, if your natural hair color is black, you can frost your hair with a light brown color.

Since you’re not completely losing your hair’s natural color, you can frost all of your hair. With the frosting method, both the light brown color and the dark color of your hair will combine exceptionally.

After frosting, you won’t have a hair color change that will announce itself to the world. Instead, the new hair tint and your natural hair color will blend to give a unique overall appearance.


How to Frost Your Hair

How to Frost Your Hair

Although contacting a pro is better, you can try frosting your hair by yourself using the plastic cap method.

  • Start by wearing a specially designed plastic cap with holes. These holes will be adequately sized to fit your hair strands.
  • One by one, pull out the hair strands you’re looking to dye via the holes in the plastic cap.
  • While pulling out the hair strands, take care not to pull out sections close to each other. If a particular strand is getting a tint job, the one next to it should remain untouched. That’s the best way to get the frosting look.
  • Mix the hair dye product while following the instructions on the packaging.
  • Dye the hair strands outside the plastic bag.
  • Rinse the hair dye after the recommended wait period.


What are Hair Highlights?

highlighted hair

In the frosted hair vs. highlights debate, the latter offers more distinct results. The highlighting technique of hair coloring makes the new hair color distinct.

If you’re going for highlights, the hairstylist will apply dye to larger portions of your hair. The main idea is to change the color of enough hair strands to make a noticeable difference. By doing so, the part of your hair with a different color calls the attention of others without effort.

The main difference between frosted hair and highlights is the noticeable hair color change the latter offers. You can use hair highlights to draw attention to a particular section of your hair. Many people prefer to highlight the front parts of their hair.

For the best results, you should choose a very light color for your hair highlights appointment. For instance, if you have dark natural hair, it’s better to highlight your hair with a light brown shade. That way, when your hairstylist finishes the job, you can spot the change.

Highlighting your hair doesn’t change your hair color completely. However, it steals the attention your natural hair color used to get.

The amount of hair you choose to highlight depends on the type of style you desire. We find it’s best to start with a small portion of your hair if you aren’t sure how hair highlights will look on you. When you’re confident of the results, you can highlight a larger section of your hair. 


How to Highlight Your Hair

How to Highlight Hair

The process of highlighting your hair isn’t too different from frosting your hair. The major difference between frosted hair vs. highlights is that you’ll be working on larger sections of your hair.

  • Decide on the sections of your hair you’re going to highlight.
  • Separate the sections you’re looking to dye from the rest of your hair.
  • Cover the rest of your hair with a plastic bag so it remains untouched.
  • Dye the target sections, following the instructions on the packaging.
  • Rinse the hair dye.


Frosted Hair Vs. Highlighting

Differences between Frosted Hair and Highlighting

When you compare the process of doing frosted hair vs. highlights, you’ll find more similarities than differences.  But when the hairstylist finishes their job, it becomes easier to tell the distinct properties of frosted hair and highlights alike.

Some of the key differences in the results of hair frosting and highlighting include:

  • Frosted hair offers a cool and calm look, while highlights give you a pronounced look.
  • The process for frosting your hair deals with strands of your hair while highlighting deals with large sections of your hair.
  • Frosted hair has an almost unnoticeable color difference. Highlights, on the other hand, will give you a distinct hard-to-miss look.


Final Thoughts

You’ll mostly notice the difference between frosted hair and highlighted hair in the final results. The result of frosted hair is a cool look, while that of highlighted hair is a more pronounced look.

Whichever one you want to try, it’s better to speak to an expert for advice. Also, instead of trying to frost or highlight your hair yourself, you may want to contact a hairstylist. That way, you can save yourself from mistakes during the hair coloring procedure.