Highlights and lowlights can bring life to dull hair colors but often they are misunderstood. Knowing the real differences between highlights and lowlights, and which one is right for you can go a long way.
Of course, you can always get one flat hair color. But where’s the fun in that? When you mix different similar colors on one head, you create movement and volume. Your hair becomes intriguing and does much more than frame your face.
It creates style and becomes the center of attention. Let’s see what highlights and lowlights are and if they can be mixed to provide such an enchanting effect.
What Are Lowlights?
Lowlights are small sections of dark color that are added to the hair. Sometimes you can add lowlights if you went too far highlighting your hair. Maybe your hair looks more like bleach blonde, but you don’t really like that look, or it’s not appropriate for your age. In this scenario, you can add a shade of deeper lowlights to your hair all over.
Sometimes, lowlights are only added to the bottom section. This gives you the appearance of having been in the sun, and only the top of your hair got lighter, but in a nice, natural sort of way.
Many people use lowlights on the top of their hair to re-create the blond hair of their childhood just as it started turning brown. To do this, the lowlights can be added close to the roots. Your colorist might use balayage techniques to blend in color with the rest of your hair.
What Are Highlights?
Highlights are streaks of color lighter than your own. So if you have brown hair, your highlights might be a shade lighter, or two or three shades lighter, depending on your preference. It’s not unheard of for people with hair that’s close to black to sport blonde highlights.
But these aren’t thick chunks. Highlights are almost always done in thin sections, about 10 strands of hair each. You might use a highlighter cap and choose the smallest holes, or maybe your stylist will tease a section of your hair and add bleach to what remains, then wrap the section in foil.
Can You Mix Lowlights with Highlights?
Most certainly! Mixing highlights with lowlights can give you a very natural look as if you were transitioning from a blond childhood. Most of the time, highlights are visible naturally on the top of the head for a child between five and seven, and the back of the hair near the scalp has natural lowlights.
When your hair is naturally blonde or even brown, it’s lighter in some areas than in others. In fact, one way you can tell that someone is using hair coloring is to observe that the color is the same shade all around with no variation.
So having lowlights and highlights at the same time makes your hair color look natural. Some people add lighter highlights to their bangs or fringe to give their faces a younger look.
Highlights and Lowlights for Thin Hair
On adults with thin hair, having both lowlights and highlights can make the hair look fuller by adding depth and dimension. This is especially the case when the highlights are babylights.
Here, you can’t tell that highlights have been added, and the lowlights look natural coloring. This creates the illusion of volume while at the same time being a very pretty, soft look.
How to Care for Hair with Lowlights and Highlights
The benefit of having highlights and lowlights is that the coloring still looks natural as your natural hair color grows in. So you can delay your next color treatment for up to two to three months.
That being said, you should always go into a salon to have lowlights and highlights added to your hair–preferably the same salon where you had them done originally.
Proper maintenance can help keep your hair vibrant, so make sure to use color-safe, sulfate-free shampoos and matching brand conditioners. Deep condition regularly and try to avoid the use of high heat.
If you have to use heat on your strands, make sure to use a heat protectant serum. To keep your blond looking fresh, consider using purple shampoo. There are also shampoos on the market that make sure red, brown, and black stay vibrant.
Do Lowlights Work for All Hair Colors?
You won’t be able to install lowlights on black hair because lowlights are darker than your hair. The only way to use lowlights on dark hair is if you have too many highlights and would like to conceal some of them with lowlights instead.
Besides this, lowlights work on any hair color that has darker shades, so that would be all others besides black. Reds, blonds and brows are all game.
Lowlights bring out the loveliness of pastel and rich fashion colors, too. Imagine having highlights and lowlights installed on a pastel pink so that it actually looks something like your natural color. Amazing!
How to Decide Between Lowlights and Highlights
Some people decide not to add highlights and lowlights at once because of the damage potential. Other people might choose one or the other to correct the shade of their hair. Lowlights can be added when you wish to darken your hair.
Like highlights, they are made with very thin portions of hair so that the coloring looks as natural as possible. So it’s easy to do a subtle darkening of the hair with lowlights. The same is the case with highlights, only the opposite.
You can lighten your hair with them subtly if you feel your hair is a bit too dark. If it’s not subtle changes that you’re after, consider a complete color treatment with new highlights and lowlights.
What’s the Difference Between Highlights, Lowlights and Babylights?
Highlights and lowlights use the same amount of hair, about 10 strands per color treatment. Babylights, on the other hand, use about half the amount of hair, around five strands per color treatment.
Babylights are a form of highlighting, but you really can’t tell the person has highlights installed because the hair sections are so tiny. They look very natural as if you have highlights from the sun or from henna.
For all textures of hair, there isn’t a more professional and, therefore, natural look than highlights or babylights and lowlights combined. For the most genuine look, just remember not to lighten or darken your hair in more than two shades.
Beyond that, you have complete freedom to warm up your highlights with a reddish tone, use the same tone range as your original locks or cool your hair down with an ashy color. The two procedures aren’t as expensive as you’d expect and the results are really dazzling.
Lowlights are better because they darken the hair and don’t use bleach to lighten it. Bleach is one of the most damaging substances for hair and for many people, their highlights break off due to the bleach.
Get lowlights when you want to darken your hair subtly, whether it’s the entire head of hair of just parts.
Lowlights are slightly cheaper because it’s just semi-permanent dye. Highlights use bleach and sometimes a semi-permanent color on top of that.
Streaks are highlights, but they may use more hair per highlight.
Lowlights cost $50 to $100.
Definitely. It’s called gray blending to add lowlights to gray hair.
Because lowlights are darker than the rest of the hair, they do not use bleach.
Lowlights last as long as a regular semi-permanent dye. The better your maintenance, the less fading you will experience. They can last a few months.
Lowlights can cover some of your gray hair, yes. Gray blending uses lowlights to add more pepper to the salt, so to speak.
Babylights are very thin highlights.
It’s better to go to a salon. But if you would like to install lowlights at home using a box dye, use a fine-toothed comb to tease the hair and separate what you would like to lowlight in a section. Then dye the unteased hairs only and use foil to separate the section.
Perhaps you are shampooing your hair too frequently or using a sulfate shampoo or one that is not color-safe. Perhaps you use too much heat on your hair to style. All these will fade your lowlights.
They can be applied with a highlighting cap, or the hair can be teased lightly, and the hair which is not teased can be dyed.
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