Adding highlights to your hair is an awesome way to give your locks a makeover as well as give you a fresh new look. As with any hair color change, there are some little rules you can follow that will ensure you end up with a great finish. Keep in mind that the rules we are sharing with you today are a guideline and not set in stone. For some people, some of the rules may not apply. Read on to find out what they are and give them a try today!

Why get highlights in the first place?

Highlights are one of those things that a lot of kids dream about getting once they are old enough. I will never forget the first time I got highlights. I was 12 years old and got them for my birthday. I have gotten highlights ever since!

Highlights help to give your hairstyle a fresh new look. They are a way for you to express yourself through color. They are a hair makeover that you will not regret! All you need to do is make sure that the color suits your skin tone and that you blend them in nicely with your hair cut and style.

Highlights can help you frame your face and can even lighten up your look. A change is as good as a holiday and highlights will help give you the change that you have been looking for!

Rule 1: Choose wisely

Long Wavy Blonde Hairstyle with Subtle highlights

The best way to get a flattering highlight finish is to make wise choices.

Ensure that you choose a highlight color that not only goes well with your current hair color, but also blends well with your skin tone.

Where you place the highlights is also key. If you want a sun-kissed natural look, thin highlights that are dark at the root and light on the ends are the way to go.

For an obvious highlight look, brighter, thicker highlights around your face should be your option of choice.

Rule 2: It's all about the base

Kristy Lee Cook Dark Ash Brunette Half Up Hairstyle with Blonde Highlights

When coloring your hair, the one golden rule is to make sure that you stay within two levels of your natural or base color. In other words, if you have dark hair and you want to add lighter highlights, make sure that the highlights are no more than 2 levels lighter than your natural hair color.

This rule is going to help ensure that your hair does not go weird with colors that you do not want. Keep in mind that it is possible to go as light or as dark as you want. If you do not want to take this step gradually by using the 2 level rule, then you can bleach your hair so that the new color will stick better and ensure that you get the desired results. This is a quicker way but can damage your hair in the process if you do not do it correctly.

Your base color also helps to break the highlights. This means that once you have a solid base color, your highlights are going to show up more. Make sure that you do not just add a head of highlights and do not have a solid base color. Your new hair color is not going to flow nicely and it will not look professional.

Rule 3: Know your skin tone

Natalie Hall Medium Wavy Blonde Casual Hairstyle

It is very important that you keep in mind your natural skin tone. You want your highlights to look as natural as possible. They need to blend well with your skin tone as well as your eye color. Lighter skin tones tend to suit light or brown hair better. Darker skin tones look gorgeous with black or even a nice deep red or purple color.

Keep in mind that if you do want to go for a more 'out there' highlight, you also need to make sure that the pinks, blues and even purples that you choose match your skin tone. If it is too light or too dark, it will not suit your skin tone at all.

Rule 4: Don't go color crazy

Long Wavy Hairstyle with colored highlights

Unless you are specifically going for a multi-tone look, stick to one color tone for your highlights. Multiple hair colors can easily turn your look clownish. If you want more depth you can choose one highlight color and one lowlight color but make sure they are in same hair hue family for the best results.

With that being said; vibrant colors are trending at the moment. Some people like to make a statement with their hair. You can do this byusing funky hair colors such as a bright pink, blue, purple or even green. The trick is to make sure that you place the colors in the right places as well as make sure that you do not have every color under the sun on your head. Try max 3 colors from the same side of the color wheel.

For example, pink, blue and purple go well together. You can have these as separate highlights or you can even ombre your hair using these 3 colors. Make sure that each color blends in nicely with the next.

Rule 5: Switch it up every season

Short Straight Asymmetrical Blonde Hairstyle with highlights

Just as your hair color naturally lightens in the summertime, so should your highlights. Give them a summery feel when the warmer weather hits, and a darker makeover during the cooler months. This is going to give your highlights a more natural feel to them and also will help you match your hair to the color of the season.

Rule 6: Avoid the stripy Look

Long Wavy Red Hairstyle with stripy highlights

If the dreaded stripy look has stopped you from taking the highlight plunge, or you've noticed your finish is starting to look more tiger than terrific, make sure your highlight color is no more than three shades lighter than your base hair color. If your highlights are too light, they will stand out too much and give you a dated, stripy finish.

Two tone color hair is in fashion but it is not ideal to have that if it is not the look that you were going for in the first place.

Rule 7: When in doubt, trust a hair color professional

Halle Berry Long Wavy Dark Brunette Hairstyle with Dark Blonde Highlights

Trying to color your hair at home might seem like a good idea in the beginning. If you are coloring your whole head one color, then it is ok but if you want to add highlights to the look, it might become a bit tricky. You need to make sure that the color is right for your natural hair and sometimes, it does not turn out the same color that is shown on the box.

It is strongly advised that if you want to make sure that your highlights come out perfectly every time, trust the hair color professional and go and have it done at your local salon. It is going to save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Rule 8: Do not touch up to the scalp

Juliana Harkavy Long Wavy Dark Brunette Bob Haircut with Blonde Highlights

This is a neat little trick that I have learnt over the years. When you are getting highlights, the trick is to try and keep them as natural as possible whilst still ensuring that they look great when they start to grow out.

When you are applying the tint to the hair, you want to make sure that you cover the hair and avoid the scalp area. This will make the highlights cover everything but leave a small portion of the roots natural. When it begins to grow out and you do not have the time to go get them touched up right away, the re-growth will not look as bad than if you had them to your scalp.

Rule 9: Look after your highlights

Medium Wavy Hairstyle with red highlights

As with any hair color job, if you want your look to last and to always look its best, you need to look after your locks. Try these tips...

  • Use a shampoo and conditioner that is designed for colored hair.
  • You would also want to use sulphate free shampoo and conditioner. This is going to help preserve your color.
  • Use a toner to keep your highlights bright.
  • Start a hair washing regime that will keep your locks healthy but won't strip out the color.
  • Use hair treatments regularly.
  • It's also important to protect your highlights from damage by using heat protection hair styling products.
  • Become a hat person and use a hat when out in the sun and a swimming cap when in the pool. Avoiding chlorine is the best option for you when it comes to having colored hair. Your blonde hair can turn green from chlorine because blonde is susceptible to turning green.
  • Once you have had your highlights done, do not wash your hair for the first week. This is going to help your hair absorb the color better and will make your color last longer.
  • You are going to need to touch up your highlights once every 6 weeks or so. This is going to keep your highlights looking fresh and bright.
  • Turn down your water temperature when shampooing. Hot water might feel amazing to shower in but it is not great for your hair color. The hot water opens up hair cuticles and makes your color run more.
  • Wash your hair less often. This is going to help keep your color in for longer. You can wash your hair 2-3 times a week instead of every day or even second day.
  • Dry shampoo is great to have handy on those days that your hair needs to look a bit cleaner, However, they do tend to strip your color. Make sure that if you do want to use one, you use a color save dry shampoo or a shampoo that is sulphate free.
  • Prepare your hair for your next color. The day before you go and get your color touched up, use a product that is going to strip your hair of any oils that could block your color from penetrating your hair cuticles.
  • Keep up with your trims. Dead ends do not hold color in well at all. There is no point in you having this amazing highlight job done and your ends look dull and washed out after 3 weeks.

Medium Wavy Light Blonde Bob Haircut with highlights

To see how you'd look with the salon hairstyles pictured in this hair article, click on the above images to try the virtual hairstyles with your own photo! This will give you a great idea of what colors and style will suit your face shape as well as your skin tone.

Keep in mind that the images are just to give you an idea of what is going to suit you and give you some ideas to play around with. Speak to your hairdresser and ask about what colors they have available. You want to find highlight colors that are going to help express yourself, look natural and dazzle the streets!

You want highlights to be noticeable but at the same time, you want them to seem like you were born with those colors. Make them flow and blend with your hair. Once you start with highlights, the sky is your limit! You can do whatever you want. Try something new and exciting. It is a decision that you are not going to regret! You will turn heads wherever you go and that will give you a huge confidence boost.

As you can see, highlights can really transform your look. They give you a new sense of power and enhance your natural beauty. Highlights look awesome in a casual hairstyle, formal or even in a ponytail when you need to tie your hair up for a long days work.

If you do not like any of the highlights in the pictures above, do not worry! We have thousands more ideas for you to choose from. All you need to do is go onto our website, upload your photo and find a color palette that you are looking for and wanting to try.