Perhaps getting a full hair colour treatment is a little frightening for you. It’s understandable, you’ll have that colour for months on end and you might end up not liking. Maybe it would be better for you to get highlights and not a full hair colour.

Highlights are strands of lighter colours in your hair and/or lowlights are strands of darker colours in your hair. These can be done in several different ways but the two main methods are using done using foil to separate the hair being coloured from the rest of the hair or using a plastic cap or bag to separate the hair. Both methods have their pros and cons but what really is the difference between them?

Foil highlights. The pros are painless, can use many different colours, gets the lights closer to the scalp and the hairline, can get the pieces of colour exactly where you want them, can create differing sizes of light more easily e.g. thick swooshes of colour or fine strands and does not stress the hair as there is no pulling of strands through tiny holes.

The cons of foil highlights are they take longer to do, more expensive, the skill of the hairdresser is very important, as they can look shocking if they are not done well and isn’t available in all salons.

There is a variation on the foil method using a type of plastic packet that either sticks or clips to the hair. In good hands, these do work quite well, although the foil method when used by an expert can produce a more personalized look for you.

Cap highlights. The pros are that it’s cheaper than the foil method, done in all but the most exclusive salons and it’s super quick.

The cons of cap highlights are they’re only suitable for short hair as the process can put unnecessary stress on mid to longer hair, can be painful as a hook is used to pull strands of hair through the cap, only one colour at a time can be used, not suitable for curly hair as it tangles as it is pulled through the cap, not good at getting close to the scalp when the hair is very thick, hard to place lights in nape area close to the scalp and hard to control highlight placement to get them exactly where you want.

When getting highlights, ask your hairdresser about the colour, highlighting and methods to suit you as well as how to choose the colours to suit you — no matter you do, the professional will get you that perfect look.

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