7 Most Common Questions About Hair Highlights

By Sarah J. Helms / Updated on March 23, 2020
Questions About Hair Highlights


Hair highlights might be the most popular dyeing technique nowadays. Adding some highlights for dark hair, for example, will add spice and shine and make hair glimmer in the sun.

Highlights are perfect for women who like their natural hair color but want to upgrade it to the next level. Every hairstyle is unique since all of us have different hair shades.

Even though it takes hours to get highlights, women don’t give up, hoping to have a perfect hairstyle. The price might vary, but be prepared to set aside both money and time if you want trendy highlights. Still, alongside the commitment, you will get a hairstyle that requires just a bit of maintenance.

Hair highlighting comes with all kinds of questions and misconceptions. We’ve answered several most common questions about hair highlights. If you were thinking about getting your hair done, check them out.

1. How Long Do Hair Highlights Last?

Hair Highlights

Since everyone’s hair grows at a different pace, it is hard to say precisely how long highlights last. Usually, it takes one to three months to get back to the salon. Women go back to the hair salon for touch-ups when their roots start growing.

Don’t do this too quickly, though. Let your roots grow at least a few inches before going back for another round. Your hair needs to get recovered from bleaching.

Can Hair Highlights Be Removed?

There are two safe options to remove your hair highlights. Some other options include bleaching your hair, but you should avoid harsh treatments since your hair is already dry.

First of all, you can simply let your hair grow out of the highlights during some time. However, covering your highlights with hair color might be the easiest way to remove them. Make sure to pick the color that matches your natural shade. You will need to reapply the color when it washes out.

Be careful, though – apply only on the parts that are previously colored.

Will Washing Hair Fade Highlights?

Highlights wash out after average 24 washes.

They will definitely be less visible after some time, but fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent them from washing out too fast.

Hair Highlights

Washing your hair less will keep the color longer. If you wash your hair every day, try to use a dry shampoo instead of washing. Also, if your highlights are light, use violet shampoos that protect the color from getting brassy.

When to Wash Hair After Highlights?

Many women spend a fortune on their salon treatments. Then, they come home and wash their hair right away. That is how all the work can be ruined!

You should wait for at least 48 hours to wash your hair after getting highlights. The color should have time to penetrate the hair follicles.

Can you Swim After Hair Highlights?

After hair treatments, especially after bleaching, highlighting, and dyeing, your hair is dry and prone to break easily.

It is good to wait at least a week before going for a swim. Swimming in chlorine water can cause some chemical reactions that make your hair look terrible. It can cause your color to fade, to turn green, and your hair follicles to break down or dry out.

Before going to the pool, soak hair with tap water and make sure it is conditioned. Also, don’t forget to put on a conditioner and a mask after swimming.

Are Hair Highlights Permanent?

Generally, hair highlights last until the new hair grows up. So, we can’t say they are permanent. They belong to the group of semi-permanent hair treatments. Hair is lightened with bleach, so it will stay until your natural hair grows.

2. Are Highlights Really Bad for Your Hair?

It is pretty simple – all hair treatments that include bleaching and chemicals damage your hair. However, when it comes to highlights, they are not so ultimately bad for hair.

It depends on the number of highlights that you decided to do. If you opt to go for subtle highlights, the damage would be minimal.

Hair Highlights

On the other hand, platinum and blonde highlights can seriously damage your hair. That is mostly because of bleach. It removes hair pigments from the hair shaft, which leads to dry hair ends.

3. What’s the Difference Between Highlights and Foils?

Highlights and foils are basically the same things. The highlights are usually done with a plastic cap in the past, while nowadays it is more often to see it done with foils.

It also depends on what you want to achieve – keeping it low or dyeing your whole hair. Foils are also used for touch-ups when your natural hair starts growing.

Can You Change Hair Highlights?

You can always color-over your highlights. However, make sure to schedule an appointment in the salon. You shouldn’t do it on your own.

What is Half Hair Highlight?

Partial highlights are the ones that are only done in sections, placed around the face with a brightening or framing effect. They are very natural and look like the sun has kissed your hair.

This type of highlights is also less expensive and takes less time to get than the full highlights.

What is a Full Hair Highlight?

A full highlight includes highlighting your hair in every section of your head.

This type of highlighting could include lightening all of your hair or for something more dramatic, like going from a natural brunette to a platinum blonde.

You should also set aside more money if you want your hair to be fully highlighted.

What are Global Hair Highlights?

Global hair highlights mean that you are applying it on all your hair. It basically means the same as full-highlighted hair. Global hair is suitable for covering up greys, lightening, or slightly going darker than your natural hair color.

4. Is Hair Highlights Possible When Pregnant?

Whether you decide to dye your hair or to do highlights, you can do that while pregnant. There are no proven effects that dye can harm the fetus. The skin absorbs chemicals found in both semi-permanent and permanent dyes, but not in the large amount.

Hair Highlights

Doing highlights decreases any risk for the fetus as the dye is only placed on strands of your hair and does not touch your scalp. However, consider waiting until you reach your second trimester to treat your hair.

5. What are Hair Highlights and Lowlights?

While highlights range from caramel to the strawberry blonde, lowlights are used for deepening your natural hair color.

Lowlights are used to contour your hair. You can use shades that are 2-3 levels darker than your base. They are great for making your hair look more voluminous. It is also great if you decide to combine both of these dyeing techniques.

6. Dyeing Hair Versus Highlights

Dyeing hair is simply lightening or darkening your natural hair. It gives you a one-dimensional look that you can achieve at home as well. It is excellent for women with short hair or for those who simply want to cover their grey hair. Keep in mind that you will need to dye your hair every four to eight weeks.

Hair Highlights

On the other hand, highlights are considered to turn your hair into dimensional and voluminous. They can last up to four months. Unlike the simple one process dyeing, there are many types of highlights – balayage, foils, lowlights, and chunking.

7. Hair Highlights vs. Full color – What to choose?

The choice is always on you. Hair highlights are trendy, make your hair look voluminous and more dimensional. Also, this process takes more time and money. You will end up with a hairstyle that is perfect for many occasions, and that is low maintenance. Highlights need to be retouched every two to four months.

Full color is for women who don’t have time for complicated treatments. Also, it is perfect for those who like to dye their hair in the comfort of their home. For grey covering and changes in your natural shade, you can always go for a full-color treatment.


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