How Do I Choose the Best Highlight Colors?

Patti Kate

When choosing the most flattering highlight colors, it's best speak to your hair designer for advice before you decide to highlight your hair. You may want to consider your original hair color, your skin tone, and the maintenance required for the different type of highlights. If you want to add definition to fine hair, choose a highlight color in a shade or two lighter than your natural hair color. You may also wish to consider a process known as caramelization, which adds a glossy finish to your highlights. In addition, consider a highlighting technique that will not subject your hair to stress, as traditional bleaching may do.

Redheads often prefer using warm colors to highlight their hair.
Redheads often prefer using warm colors to highlight their hair.

Several factors should be considered when choosing highlight colors, including maintenance and care. Some highlight colors require more maintenance than others. For instance, if you choose a red shade of highlights, you'll need to re-touch the color more frequently. Even permanent red hair dye tends to fade much faster than other colors. For highlighting in any shade of red, it's best not to do it at home. Enlist a professional hairstylist for your highlighting needs, as she can offer the best solutions and professional results.

Those with medium brown hair often choose blonde highlights.
Those with medium brown hair often choose blonde highlights.

Some redheads prefer a warm color of fuchsia for hair highlights. Those with fuchsia highlights should use a shampoo and conditioner designed for chemically treated hair, to avoid damage and fading. In addition, choose a formula that protects against damage from the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Brunette hair often works well with auburn or red highlights. Remember not to overdo, or you may defeat the purpose. Ask your hair stylist to show you photographs of models with these types of highlights so you can get ideas. Consider your skin tone when choosing red highlight colors. If you have olive skin, choose a warm highlight shade such as copper, rather than one of the cooler tones.

If your hair is a medium brown shade, you might consider adding blond highlights. Your stylist might suggest alternating shades of blond, such as ash and sandy blond. This can be a good look for spring and summer, if you want to freshen your hair color without making a drastic change.

Natural blondes may want to try auburn or strawberry blond highlights, then add a few well placed lowlights in a darker shade of blond or brunette. When choosing blonde highlight colors, be cautious about chemicals that are often used. Peroxide may cause damage to the hair shaft, especially when overused.

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Discussion Comments


@MikeMason-- I think blonde highlights go well with red hair. Getting highlights with multiple tones makes the overall look more natural, I personally think that would be better. You can get strawberry-blonde and dirty blonde highlights.

I think ombre hair with highlights would also be great. Ombre is a style where hair becomes lighter and lighter from the roots to the tips. You could get an ombre style where your hair slowly goes from red roots to blonde or strawberry-blonde ends with blonde highlights in between. I think it would look nice.


What are the best highlight colors for red hair? Should I go for one tone or multiple tones?

I don't think there should be a dramatic difference between someone's natural hair color and highlight color. Some people might go for that sort of thing, but I don't like it.

I actually got a highlight like that once. I have dark brown hair and I asked for blonde highlights. The hair stylist didn't even say anything and proceeded with my highlights.

It looked so bad! It was very unnatural and my hair actually got damaged because the color was just too light for me. Now when I get highlights, I pick colors that are a few tones lighter than mine at most.

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