How to Get Great Highlights at Home

Do it yourself highlights are easier than you think. Here’s how to give yourself the look for less.

A few well-placed highlights can subtract years from your looks, but they take time and money if you get them done at a salon. Luckily, you dont have to be a pro to highlight at home. Here's our do-it-yourself guide to home hair highlights.

“Drugstore kits have improved a lot in the last decade,” says Jet Rhys, a salon owner in San Diego. “Theyre quicker and easier to use than ever.” Here, Rhys shows you how to give your hair subtle, sun-kissed streaks without the big salon bill—or the suns damaging rays.

Choose the right kit

If your hair is light to dark blonde, look for a highlighting kit that adds pale, beige-blonde highlights, such as Clairol Nice n Easy HairPainting Blonde Highlights ($10.99; drugstores). Light-brown strands? Go for one that imparts dark blonde or caramel streaks like LOreal Paris Hi-Light Styliste in Creamy Caramel ($10.99; drugstores). If your hair is medium brown, a kit that gives light- or golden-brown highlights like Revlon Frost & Glow Chestnut Highlighting Kit ($8.99; drugstores) is best. If your hair is any darker (or red, permed, or chemically straightened), head to the salon.

Do a strand test

Follow the kits directions to mix up a small amount of the dye, apply it to a section of hair behind your ear, wait 10 minutes, then rinse, blow-dry, and check the results. “It should be about one shade lighter than your color,” Rhys says. If its too light, try again with a slightly darker kit. Not light enough? Apply more dye to the section, wait another 5 minutes, and check. Continue this process, checking every 5 minutes, until you reach your ideal shade.

Julia Rothman
Prep Before You Begin

Gather the following supplies: aluminum foil, a clean toothbrush, a plastic hair clip, and your highlighting kit. Mix up the rest of the highlighting dye according to the instructions, then clip up the hair on your crown (A).

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Jennifer Goldstein
Last Updated: June 23, 2009

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