10 ways to highlight your hair extensions
Hair Color

Highlights for Days: 10 Ways to Highlight Your Hair Extensions

Highlight 101

Virgin and human hair are great style choices to choose if you are looking for quality hair extensions.

However, getting the color you want can be tricky. If you want a unique look such as highlights, you will need to dye your extensions to achieve the look. Whether you are going for natural highlights or a more striking look, with some patience and hair dye, you can get your dream look.

In this article, you will find different techniques and methods to getting the highlights you desire.

highlights

Tips to follow before dyeing your extensions

Although dyeing your hair can be an exciting journey, there are some precautionary measures you want to take that will be in the best interest of you and your hair.

You want to make sure that you prep your hair in the best way possible to achieve the perfect results. Here are a few essential steps you can follow that will help get you ready to slay those highlights.

Tip #1 Do not wash your extensions right before you dye it

Washing the hair a few hours or right before dying it may cause more harm than good.

It is better to wash your hair at least 24-48 hours beforehand or color on dirty hair. Color does not only have a better hold on dirty hair; clean hair may be too slippery. In simpler terms, dirty hair holds color best.

washing wig

Tip #2 Get the right type of hair dye

Because we are specifically talking about extensions, it is essential to buy the proper color.

There are specific hair dyes made for human hair extensions. It is necessary to get the right dye because different types of dye may be too harsh on the extensions and weaken the hair. Do your research and try and get the best hair dye possible.

Tip #3 Complete a strand test

This step is not necessary but is helpful if you are not entirely sure about how the color you chose will look on your hair.

What you want to do is pick a strand of hair to test. It’s best to select a strand that will not be a part of an extension that will be at the back of the head. This way it is easy to cover if you decide not to dye your hair. Apply the hair color and leave it for the amount of time on the box.

Then wait 24 hours to make sure you are happy with the hair color results. It is essential that you only mix a small amount of hair dye and not the whole box to make sure it does not waste.

Tip #4 Always use gloves

Gloves are a good idea to protect your fingers and nails from staining.

Some dyeing techniques require using your hands, and it takes months before hair dye will be removed entirely from your fingertips. You can easily avoid that by taking a few seconds to throw on some gloves.

mixing hair dye

Ways to highlight

#1 Basic Highlights

Highlights are partial or spot hair coloring in which just a few sections of hair are dyed.

The parts of hair are dyed a few shades lighter than your base color. The primary purpose of adding highlights to your hair is to brighten up the overall tone of your hair and add softness and gorgeous depth to it. Your natural hair color determines the shade of your highlights

No matter what the base color of your hair, you should never go more than a few shades lighter than it so that they look natural. Going lighter than a few shades may risk your hair looking like stripes similar to a zebra. No one wants that!

How to get the look

Choose the Right Shade

You want your highlights to look natural. So here is a color guide that works well with skin tone.

If your eyes are brown, blue, or hazel with blue or green flecks, you have a cool skin tone and should choose shades that are cool-toned as well – such as ashy brown, beige blonde, burgundy red, and blue-hued blacks. Cool skin tones usually look best in silver jewelry, so if you naturally gravitate to silver, this is you.

If your eyes are brown, blue, or hazel with brown flecks, your skin is likely warm-toned, and you look best in gold jewelry. Choose hair colors that are similarly golden-toned, like golden brown, wheat-toned blonde, auburn red, and black with reddish tones.

ash blonde hair

Apply the Color

Brush the dye as close to the roots as possible, and then drag the color down the length of your hair while it’s flat on your head.

Continue the process until the entire first layer is saturated. Then, use your hairdresser clip to separate the first inch of the top section and continue the process on the next layer. Once you completely cover your head, set your timer as prescribed in the color instructions.

Starting it when you first begin coloring your hair could mean that your bottom layers don’t get enough processing time.

Rinse

Make sure you are rinsing your hair off at the right time.

Washing Hair Extensions

#2 Balayage

Balayage is a coloring technique developed by the French in the 1970s.

It is a freehand technique where you apply the color by hand instead of the regular foiling or cap highlighting techniques. It can work for even the shortest hairstyles such as a pixie cut. However, it shows up best in longer hair. In Balayage, there are dark pieces left on the bottom to create dimension and a more natural look. With highlights stemming from close to the roots towards the ends of the hair.

This technique looks like natural sun-kissed highlights throughout the hair. The transition is natural and requires little maintenance. Balayage is an excellent option because you can achieve a softer effect or add colors that make your hair pop.

This style is great if you want to switch up your hair but make it look natural. The natural highlights can make all the difference. However, because this style is uncommon, it is best to get it professionally done or consult someone with experience than do it yourself for the first time.

But if you want to give it a shot here is how you can achieve the look at home.

dark brown balayage

How to get the look

Part your hair

There are different ways you can choose to part your hair.

The recommended way is to do a hot cross bun method which is parting your hair into four equal sections which make it easier to dye your hair piece by piece. This step is essential because you want to take your time when preparing to dye your hair so that it comes out nicely.

Dye your hair

Balayage is all about the contrast between dark and blonde, so be careful not to get any of the dye in areas you want to keep dark.

You want to pull the dye through your hair from the middle of the strand to the bottom using the comb applicator, avoiding your roots entirely. The amount of hair you cover will depend on how thick you want your highlights to be.

This preference varies for each person. You may use hair clips to section off and color smaller, more targeted strands. To achieve a more natural look, use your fingers (make sure you are wearing gloves!) to work the dye into the tips of your hair, blending the color using downward strokes.

Then you wait for the amount of time stated on the box, and wash the dye out carefully section by section.

It is important to remember to be very careful when dying your hair by this method as you want it to look as natural as possible. But the hard work pays off!

This method is a beautiful dyeing technique that will have your hair looking amazing.

hair dye mix materials

#3 Foiling

Foil highlighting is a technique that uses foil to achieve highlights.

It is the process of applying foil to separate the strands of hair that are made lighter from strands of hair which will remain its natural color. It is pretty time consuming, but it is an excellent method to try, and the results are surprising.

How to get the look

Precut and fold your pieces of aluminum foil

Using the handle of a tail comb select strands of hair.

Remember, every foil wrap becomes a highlight, the more you weave and the more strands you wrap, the more highlights you’ll get. Because you will be using extensions, you do not need to worry about keeping your hair out of the way. Just make sure you keep your extensions separated from one another.

You want to center the edge of the foil under woven strands, as close to the base of strands as possible.

Once you wrap the hair, start application of the dye working the formula down the strand of hair you have wrapped with foil. Be sure you thoroughly and evenly saturated each strand with the mixture. Keep the dye 1/8- an inch away from the edge of the foil.

Check the strand for development 20 minutes after the first foil placement. Select a foil from the first wrapped section. Hold a towel under the selected foil. Unwrap the foil and, with a spray bottle, spray strand with water.

Check results

Dry strand thoroughly. If additional time is needed, apply more mixture and rewrap as before.

When hair has lightened as desired, remove foil wraps (in the same order as applied) at the shampoo bowl and thoroughly rinse mixture from hair. Shampoo.

foil hair dye color

#4 Slicing

Slicing refers to a more choppy highlighting technique. Hair slicing is typically used to create a bolder highlighting look. Slicing describes when you take a slice of your hair and highlight it using foil.

How to get the look

Since this is also a method using foil, you want to cut and fold your foil beforehand to have it prepped. To slice, part your extensions up to 3 inches wide and from 1/6- to 1/8-inch thick. You want to keep your slices thin. Place the foil underneath the strands. Brush the dye onto the strands, fold the foil and secure it onto the hair.

You want to do this on as many strands as you want and after 20 minutes or so check the process. Once the hair has gotten to your desired color, you can then take off the foil and wash the extensions.

It is crucial to remember to keep the sections thin. You do not want to take large sections of hair because this will result in a striped effect.

slicing hair dye highlight

#5 Frosting

The frosting is the process of free-hand lightening the tips of the hair. It works well for shorter hair, so if you have short hair extensions, this is the perfect look for you. This method is a look you should try if you are up to trying new things because it is not as familiar as it used to be.

How to get the look

Mix the bleach and crème developer in your mixing bowl. Remember to get products that work well with your extensions. Using the small brush, spread the mixture on the roots of your hair, covering no more than half of the hair. Start at the top and work your way down. You want to apply the dye as much or as little as you want to depend on how natural you want it to look.

You want to check your hair every 20 minutes to make sure you get the color you desire. Once you are satisfied with the color, you then want to wash out your extensions, dry them and rock the look!

frosting hair color dye highlight

#6 Pintura

For my curly extension lovers, this method is for you!

The pintura technique is similar to balayage, but there is a big difference: Pintura refers to the process of painting each curl individually. Shari Harbinger has stated pintura “helps create light reflecting highlights that work to boost hair’s brilliance and dimension.”

Pintura creates a beautiful light effect that looks natural.

How to get the look

In Pintura highlighting, you paint the lightener onto the hair.

However, it is applied first at the roots rather than at the mid-shaft. Also, more you deposit more lightener at the roots than what you would do in the Balayage process. This technique creates light roots. To mimic the natural lightening of the sun, even more, lightener is applied to the mid-shaft and ends of the hair.

This process is the same in both Balayage and Pintura. Because this is a newer method, watching videos and getting advice to know how you can do this will help you achieve the look.

pintura hair color dye natural

#7 Baby lights

Baby lights are soft, subtle highlights that you place around the hairline. They are meant to look natural and are worth it if you take the time to do this highlight method. They are the perfect look for the summer because they look like natural sun dyed highlights.

How to get the look

This technique is much like the foiling method. You start at the root.

The key is to make the highlights look natural. To do so, it is better only to go a few shades lighter than the curly of the hair. Beginning a few inches from the root, use foils to slice small sections of hair. This look is one of the more complicated ones to achieve.

If you decide this is what you want to do, using resources such as videos and friendly advice can get you the look you want.

jennifer lawrence blonde waves oscars 2018 hair

#8 Chunking

Chunking is a style of highlight which is more extensive and thicker than a traditional highlight.

Chunky highlights are offered in a broader variety of bold natural colors, as well as a large number of artificial, or unnatural, colors and are used to create more contrast, rather than subtle texture, as in traditional, thinner highlights.

How to get the look

Chunking is an effortless technique.

Depending on how thin or thick you want the strips is how much hair you will use for each strand. You will start from the roots and pull the dye all the way down to the ends of the hair. You can use as many or as little strands as you want.

To get a more natural look, I recommended that you choose a dye that is just a few shades lighter than the hair.

chunking hair dye color

#9 Ombre

Ombre is a French word meaning shaded or shading. Ombre hair color is darker at the roots through the mid-shaft and then gradually gets lighter from the mid-shaft to the ends. It is such an exciting way to dye your hair, and you can make it look more natural by going a few shades lighter than your roots. Ombre is a bit similar to dip dye. However, the difference is that ombre blends into your hair no matter the color.

How to get the look

Get tools ready and apply color to the tips

Apply the color to the tips of your hair, a section of about 3 inches high, with a brush or your hands while wearing gloves.

Be sure not to leave a sharp line. This step is essential to make your hair look natural and blended. Now secure the foils by folding them around the hair, but do not fasten them too tightly. The hair strands need space for the color to develop.

Wait for the color to develop

Leave the color to form on the ends of your hair. Make sure to leave the color in for the amount of time listed on the box subtracted by an extra 10 minutes. The reason for this is when applying the second layer for 10 minutes, you do not want to overdye the bottom half.

Add more dye to your hair

Once you have opened up the foil and can see that the tips look like the color you want, add some color higher up the hair – about another 2.5 inches up (again not leaving any blunt lines).

Messy is okay as it makes it look natural. Put the foils back and leave this to develop. About 10 minutes should be enough, but remember to check. You do not want to leave the color in for a long time, so it does not over-develop. If the hair gets over-developed, the ombre look will not be as effective.

Rinse

Once you are satisfied with how much the hair color has turned out, you need to rinse the dye out of your hair.

Taking your time is essential. Achieving the ombre look is not difficult but if not done correctly will not look right. The key is to get the blended look so be very careful.

purple ombre hair color
ombre hair

#10 Sombre

Sombre is a softer version of the ombre look. It works well with extensions because of the usual dark color they come in. The key to making the highlights look natural.

How to get the look

Shading should be more seamless and gradual than ombre. You can get this look by weaving your natural root color throughout the hair, allowing your highlights to blend in naturally.

To do sombré, choose a dye that is a few shades lighter than the extensions natural color. Unlike ombre where you will go much lighter, you want to stick closer to the natural hair shade to make the highlights look natural. Apply color to the ends of the hair, then wrap it in foil.

You want to make sure to not go up to the root as this look focuses mainly on the bottom half of the hair. The rest of the process is the same as you would do for the ombre look

sombre hair

Are you inspired to highlight your hair?

Highlighting can be a challenging process to master.

Each technique is different and has its difficulties throughout the process. But with patience and hard efforts, you can completely transform your hair. There are so many different highlighting techniques to spice up your extensions. Do not be afraid to take a risk, and try something unique.

About Maira Tarawallie

I am a student at the Ohio State University. International relations major and aspiring MUA. I love anything that has to do with hair and beauty!

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