View Full Version : Highlighting: Which Method?

May 15th, 2010, 09:46 AM
I'd like to add a few subtle highlights to my hair. Nothing drastic, just a few strands of four or five hairs each. I'm a Level 3 dark brown, and I'd prefer to go 2-3 shades lighter. I'm not too picky about the color--I'd accept anything from dark or medium auburn to milk chocolate brown. I already have some red tones in my natural highlights.

Bleach doesn't seem like the way to go, since it works quickly and keeps lightening as long as it's on your head. I don't want banana-peel streaks in my hair!

I'm considering the following methods:

1. 40 vol developer with a neutral and/or violet color. I believe this would take me 3 levels lighter (not 4, since my hair is dark) to a dark yellow, which the color would tone to a very light brown/dark dirty blonde.

2. 30 vol developer with a neutral and/or green color. This would lift 2 levels, leaving me with an orange underlying pigment that needs to be cancelled out with green.

3. 10 vol/3% peroxide and skip the color. I've read here about lightening with peroxide alone plus heat from a blowdryer. I'm not sure how much lightening I would get, even with 2 treatments. Maybe not much, but without a toner, I wouldn't want to risk going too light. Maybe just half a shade to dark auburn?

I looked into honey, but it doesn't seem like the best option. I doubt I could repeat the necessary number of treatments on the same narrow strands. Still, I'm open to persuasion.

Any tips or experience would be much appreciated! I'm especially curious to know how much the different volumes of peroxide could potentially damage my hair, how to determine which level of toning color to use, and how to identify tube colors specifically with green and violet tones.

May 15th, 2010, 10:00 AM
if you're just wanting a few very thin highlights, I think the cap method will work best. Foils are usually the far superior choice, but in this case it sounds like foils are your way to go..

May 21st, 2010, 03:41 PM
Thanks for the input. I like the idea of foils, because I could touch up the roots instead of constantly highlighting new strands of hair when it grows out, but I'm worried about having the strands out of sight as they process. I know that strand tests don't always give precise results, since different strands of hair can have slightly different textures. The cap does sound like a better method for a beginner like me.

For the record, I tried putting 10 volume peroxide on a thin strand and heating it with a blowdryer until it was bone dry, but I didn't see any lightening. I'm assuming I'd have to leave the peroxide on much longer, and maybe heat it twice before I saw results. But life is only so long. I think I'll try 30 volume and color next--40 volume is my last resort.

May 21st, 2010, 03:47 PM
I would really recommend that you go to a professional colourist for highlights. The cap is not a good method at all, and has been the cause of many shed tears here at LHC and with some real life friends.

Foils are best, but they are not easy to do yourself. If you seriously want highlights, I can't urge you strongly enough to go to a good salon with a colourist who is experienced with foils, your hair type and your colour.

May 21st, 2010, 04:40 PM
If you want your hair to look like it has been sunkissed by the sun, go a few shades lighter but have each strand gradually get lighter. The hair colourist would have to put a lighter brown/honey blond toward the lower half of each strand being highlighted and a darker blond toward the root area.

When your hair grows in your highlights root line will be less noticeable.

May 21st, 2010, 11:36 PM
I also think the cap is not a good method. It is hard to achieve a subtle look and it can go wrong in many ways.
You can ask to get T foils done with a colour that is 2-3 shades lighter. You can do it yourself if you are generally a handy type, but it is a fine work especially when doing long hair.

May 21st, 2010, 11:55 PM
I wouldn't ever use a 40 volume, it can really compromise the integrity of your hair. And 10 volume is categorized as "no-lift" so I think your results there will be un-noticeable. 20 volume will get you some lift, and 30 will too, but you will probably need to tone your results.
Personally, I use a bleaching agent, and you CAN control your level of lift, not all lightening agents continue to develop. Either way you might want to think about having it done in a salon, foils will definitely blend way better than a cap.

May 28th, 2010, 05:49 PM
*checks 40 volume off the list*

Maybe I'll have to keep shopping around for a lightener. The "mild" one I saw the other day on the Sally Beauty website proudly declared its ability to "lift up to 7 levels!" The horror!

My concern with lightener is the toning. How often do you have to re-tone highlights? I see so many brunettes walking around with hideous orange and yellow streaks in their hair.

I've been watching some video demonstrations and instructions on how to foil. After practicing the weave technique on dry hair, I'm going to go ahead and do some foils, first on a hidden test strand, then on my bangs. That way, any disasters won't be a total loss.

Either that or I'll chicken out and do nothing. I could never afford a decent salon.

May 28th, 2010, 07:22 PM
You know, I have never had to re-tone my highlights, but my hair is fairly light. I know what you mean about the weird brassy highlights on brunettes, and honestly if you want to avoid that you have to make sure to lift your color past that, or stop before. It's tricky and best left to a professional in most situations.

May 29th, 2010, 06:45 AM
Here's what I'd do if I were to get highlights:

I'd lift my hair in a high ponytail and let down just maybe half an inch of hair all along the perimeter. then I'd do kind of "peek a boo" highlights (is that even a technical term??) so that highlights would be visible all around when I wear my hair up (basically all the time) but you wouldn't be able to see where the root is. I'm not a person that likes to keep maintaining things like haircolor...

Another option is for you to go to a beauty school and have them do your highlights. they are working under their instructor, so I think they'd be really careful and listen to what you want done. Plus, you'd save lots of $$$ than if you went to a salon.

I really wouldn't try to do something so permanent with my own hair if I didn't know EXACTLY what I was doing... plus, working on your own hair is hard!

strwbrry dakri
May 29th, 2010, 09:23 AM
There is also a technique called baliage. Basically, you just paint the product where you want it, no foils or cap, and easy to control. But I would recommend a professional. Don't hesitate to ask people who have the type of look you are going for how they do it. Most don't mind sharing who their great colorist is. (Except that one woman I know - I complimented her on her highlights, and she told me they were natural from the sun. For crying out loud! My daughter worked at the salon where she had it done!)

May 29th, 2010, 09:30 AM
More "oopsies" happen at beauty schools than anywhere........ No way would I even consider letting someone practice on me !