Deciding you want to get highlights in your hair is one thing but figuring out exactly what kind you want is a completely different kettle of fish, or foils! Even when you have a good idea of what sort of highlights work with your hair color, it's always a good idea to head to the salon armed with some inspirational photos... which is where we come in!
Below, you'll find no less than fifteen hairstyles with flawless highlights to take your cue from. Happy highlighting!
1. Dark blonde with sunkissed ends
To give medium or dark blonde hair added dimension, opt for some slightly lighter ends. Balayage is perfect for this as the freehand technique distributes the color with some deceptively natural looking results.
When blow-drying, curling, straightening or using any kind of heat on your hair, make sure you protect your strands with a thermal protectant like Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Blowout Heatspray. Not only will this help to prevent heat damage, it'll also slow down the inevitable fading process.
2. Karlie Kloss's beachy highlights
To master the perfect surfer girl look, sunny highlights like Karlie Kloss's are essential. They add depth to tousled waves, making them look completely real, regardless of how much time you actually spend in the ocean!
To get textured, beachy waves, apply a mattifying product like Advanced Hairstyle TXT IT Tousle Waves Spray, then blow-dry your hair in loosely twisted sections. When you're done, you can use a 1" curling iron to add more waves if necessary, otherwise all you need to do is respray your hair, scrunch it, and you're good to go!
3. Dark brown lowlights
Brunettes can offset any natural highlights by adding a few lowlights. This will give the color added depth for a sunnier, multidimensional look. For a really rich overall color, try combining both highlights and lowlights that are all similar to your base color.
Going longer between washes can help to prevent colored hair from fading, so try sprucing up your second day mane with dry shampoo! To absorb excess oil at the root, apply Advanced Hairstyle BLOW DRY IT Longwear Spray, leave it for a few minutes, then brush it out before styling.
4. Freida Pinto's beachy brunette highlights
Textured hair like Freida Pinto's can handle more marked color contrasts as all the movement tends to hide the demarcation points, which means that beachy brunettes can go a little lighter with their highlights... but not too light! Those stripey looks that defined the nineties and noughties will not be coming back any time soon (at least we hope not).
To get a piecey finish, scrunch some flexible hold product like Advanced Hairstyle TXT IT Deconstructing Gum through the ends of your hair after curling it.
5. Eva Longoria's sleek ombre hair
Ombre hair is essentially unapologetic highlighting, whether you opt for a contrasting dip dye approach or go a little gentler with balayage. As Eva Longoria proves, a sleek, straight hairstyle is the perfect showcase for any ombre look.
Give your hair a glossy sheen by spritzing it all over with a high shine finishing spray like Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Strand Smoother Serum Spray after straightening.
6. Blonde on blonde
Light to medium blonde base colors work beautifully with really light highlights, as does a worn-in ombre look. Brightening the strands this way creates dimension and refreshes the overall color. It's also a really good way to try out a lighter shade with minimal commitment as you only need to test the lighter shade on a very small amount of your hair!
Before swimming in a pool, saturate your colored hair with water, then apply a thick conditioner. This will significantly reduce the amount of chlorinated water your hair absorbs, which will help reduce the risk of fading and dryness.
7. Blake Lively's summery overtones
Blake Lively has a warm, glowy blonde with carefully placed highlights and lowlights that flatter pretty much everybody. That said, if you're thinking of getting a similar look, check in with your colorist beforehand to make sure it'll work with your skin tone - Blake's chosen hues can make pinker complexions appear flushed.
For summery waves, ditch your regular blowout and embrace tousled, air dried texture. All you need to do is spritz damp hair with a texturizing spray like Advanced Hairstyle TXT IT Tousle Waves Spray and pin it up in a loose, low bun to dry.
8. Tousled bronde hair
As cool girl hairstyles go, long, tousled, bronde locks are unbeatable. They're effortless, they're understated and they just look so sunny! Also, this particular 'do gets major props for those killer bangs, too!
After allowing your hair to air dry naturally, add texture through the lengths and ends with a mattifying product like Advanced Hairstyle TXT IT Deconstructing Gum. Warm a dime-sized amount in your hands, then scrunch it throughout.
9. Chunky, beachy highlights
With darker blondes and light browns, some chunky highlights create a naturally sunkissed, beachy feel. Starting a few inches down from the scalp and avoiding any awkward stripiness, this look has a little more contrast than some of the other highlighted hairstyles on this list, but remains understated.
When blow-drying your hair, arm yourself with the right products to reduce the amount of styling time required. A heat protectant like Advanced Hairstyle BLOW DRY IT Quick Dry Primer Spray works with the heat from your blow dryer to speed up drying time! Apply it to damp hair and rough dry your hair until it's only slightly damp, then start the brushwork.
10. Jennifer Lopez's sunny balayage
With golden blonde and platinum highlights layered over a warm brown base, Jennifer Lopez's balayage is about as good as it gets. With multiple tones, her color has tons of dimension but remains perfectly balanced.
If you're not that comfortable using a round brush when blowdrying your hair, there is another way! Get your hair as smooth as you can with a paddle brush or even your hands, then create those loose, airy waves with a large barrel curling iron when your hair is completely dry.
11. Warm honey highlights
When you think of highlights, this kind of glowy, honeyed look is generally what springs to mind, and for good reason! The deep blonde tones compliment each other beautifully, creating a natural end-of-summer look... even if you decide to try highlights like these in March!
To showcase your highlights properly, you want to create a glossy, frizz-free finish, which is actually really easy when you're equipped with the right products! A calming product like Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Frizz Vanisher Cream smooths the cuticle as the hair dries, whether you're using your blow dryer or leaving your mane to air dry.
12. Barbara Palvin's ombre blowout
Unlike the contrasting dual toned color that kickstarted the ombre hair trend, these days it's all about subtle, more gradual lightening towards the ends, as demonstrated by Barbara Palvin's blowout. No demarcation lines, no problem!
A few loose waves through the ends of your hair will not only add glamor to your look, they'll also help those highlights catch the light in all the right places!
13. Light blonde balayage
If you love having blonde hair and want to make it even blonder, without going platinum, try some light blonde balayage through the lengths and ends of your hair. This highlighting tactic also creates the perfect canvas for trying pastel highlights!
When adding waves to straight hair with a curling iron, don't curl the last couple of inches to make sure you get the most natural looking texture.
14. Subtle blonde highlights for curly hair
Curly hair generally has more dimension than straight strands. So, adding a few subtle blonde highlights creates a really rich, luxurious look! Opt for hues that are just a shade or two brighter than the base color to keep your highlights understated.
Get defined, bouncy curls by applying a smoothing product like Advanced Hairstyle CURVE IT Curl Taming Cream to damp hair. It helps the curls to hold their shape as they dry, whether you plop your hair or use a diffuser.
15. Long ombre hair
With bright blonde overtones and some deeper bronde undertones, this long ombre hairstyle is dreamy! The middle part and loose waves keep it right on trend, too.
Keep long hair strong and healthy with deep conditioners and leave-in products between washes. Well hydrated strands are much less likely to snap off or split than dry, damaged ones!