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How to Create Highlights at Home with Regular Hair Dye? Is It Possible?

As we all know, getting a full head of highlights at the salon can be costly. To avoid those costs, you might wonder if you can get highlights at home with regular hair dye. For some, this is a preferable alternative to at-home highlighting kits that contain bleach.

However, there are some considerations to keep in mind between regular hair dye and highlighting kits that you’ll want to think about before you take the plunge and try this at home.

Can You Use Regular Hair Dye for Highlights?

The short answer is yes, you can create highlights with regular hair dye. However, regular hair dye is not as strong as bleach, so it will not be able to lift your hair as much.

This means that your highlights will not be as light as they would be if you used bleach. So, if you have dark hair, you may need to bleach your hair before applying regular hair dye to create highlights.

Using Regular Hair Dye for Lighter Highlights

Using Regular Hair Dye for Lighter Highlights

If your hair is dark, you will need to lighten your strands with a bleach kit first or attempt to use a super-lightening hair dye with a volume developer or ammonia base.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with using these products, you might inadvertently damage your hair to save money at home. Thoroughly assess if you have the skills to use these products, and if not, go to the salon. It’ll be worth the money.  

Using Regular Hair Dye To Give Dark Highlights

Using Regular Hair Dye To Give Dark Highlights

If your hair is already light, you can use regular hair dye to give your hair dark highlights.

This added dimension can provide complexity to your hair and elevate your style from something plain and simple to a more edgy look.

You might also enjoy adding non-traditional colored highlights in bright shades of pink or blue if you’re interested in creating a trendier hairstyle.

Difference Between Hair Dyes and Highlight Kits

hair dye for highlighting hair

There can be confusion when you’re looking at a regular hair dye kit and see blonde hair on the cover.

It can be easy to think that because the color on the box is light, this will be the result on your hair as well. Let’s discuss some of the differences between hair dye and highlight kits.

Hair Dye

Hair dye is a product that deposits pigment into your hair. It typically works better when adding a darker color to lighter hair, as that’s when you’ll see the most significant shift.

For this reason, you’ll often see people using a product to remove pigment from their hair before dyeing it.

Super-Lightening Hair Dye

Super-lightening hair dye is a bit different from the regular product. This dye can lift some color from your hair while allowing the color to penetrate.

These products differ from traditional hair dye because they have higher concentrations of ammonia or are accompanied by a volume developer.

You can purchase these in a store and do them at home, but there are concerns that it can be very easy to damage your hair with them. If your hair is already dry and brittle, you should avoid using this product.

Highlight Kits

You can also purchase highlight kits at the store. These use bleach as a base to remove pigment from your hair.

Bleach does have the ability to damage your hair, and it could be a reason why you’re looking to use regular hair dye.

How to Create Highlights With Regular Hair Dye

Creating highlights at home using regular hair dye can give your hair a fresh, new look without a trip to the salon. Here’s how to achieve it:

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Regular hair dye (Choose a color that’s one to two shades lighter than your natural hair color for a more natural look)
  2. Clarifying shampoo
  3. Sectioning cream or clips
  4. Hairbrush
  5. Gloves
  6. Deep conditioner
  7. Old towel or shirt

Steps To Create Highlights with Regular Hair Dye

  1. Start by washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo. This will remove any product buildup, dirt, or oil from your hair and help the dye to adhere better. Dry your hair afterward.
  2. Apply a sectioning cream to your hair. This will help to keep your hair in place as you work. Use a comb to divide your hair into small, even sections. You can also use sectioning clips to hold these sections in place.
  3. Put on your gloves to protect your hands. Apply the regular hair dye to each section, making sure not to overlap the dye. Use a random pattern to give a more natural, sun-kissed look.
  4. Let the dye sit in your hair for the amount of time specified on the dye package. This allows the dye to fully process.
  5. Rinse out the dye using cool water. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.
  6. Apply a deep conditioner to your hair. This helps to nourish your hair and protect it after the dyeing process. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it out.
  7. Finally, dry and style your hair as usual. You should now have natural-looking highlights!

Tips for Creating Natural-Looking Highlights with Hair Dye

Here are some tips so that you can create a natural-looking highlights at home with your hair dye

1. Pick the Right Shade

For the most natural-looking highlights, choose a dye that is one to two shades lighter than your natural hair color. Going too light can result in a stark contrast that doesn’t look as natural.

2. Randomize Your Highlights

When you apply the dye, don’t do it in a perfect pattern. Instead, apply it randomly across your hair.

This creates a more natural, sun-kissed look, similar to how your hair might lighten unevenly from the sun.

3. Avoid Overlapping

Be careful not to overlap the dye on sections you’ve already colored. Overlapping can lead to sections of hair that are too dark or overly processed, which doesn’t give the natural look you’re aiming for.

4. Time It Right

Always follow the instructions on the package for how long to leave the dye in your hair. Leaving it in too long can make the color too intense and not very natural looking.

5. Rinse Properly

Rinse the dye out of your hair with cool water until the water runs clear. This ensures you’ve removed all the dye, which can otherwise leave your hair feeling dry and brittle.

Frequently Asked Questions

The different options for lifting color from your hair can be confusing. Let’s cover some additional questions you might have:

Can I use volume developer with regular hair dye for highlights?

Yes. You can use volume developer with regular hair dye (except semi-permanent dye) to get the tone you want.. But make sure to check both products to ensure they are compatible.

Will blonde hair dye kits work on dark hair?

If you’re using a regular hair dye kit on dark hair, it won’t work. Traditional hair dye kits only have color; they won’t remove it.

So, Can You Get Highlights With Regular Hair Dye?

Are you still wondering if you can use regular hair dye to get highlights? If so, the answer is yes. Regular hair dye will only deposit color in your hair. If you wish to get perfect highlights for your hair with dye, you’ll need to use a super-lightening hair dye or bleach.

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W. Anthony

Meet Watson Anthony, a skilled and experienced barber based in Alaska. As the go-to stylist at Northern Lights Barber Shop, Watson has built a loyal following among the local community, thanks to his unique and creative approach to haircuts.