Where To Place Highlights: 8 Great Ideas!

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Are you one of the brave souls who take on the challenge of doing things on your own? We’ve all had a chance to experiment with our hair at least one point in our lives! 

Some of those moments, we dreadfully regretted (well at least I have!) while others we simply loved. If you want a subtle change in your hair, adding highlights is a good option.

Many salons can easily do this for you. However, doing this at home on your own can be confusing because you might not know where to place highlights on your hair. 

There are different ways to create highlights on your hair. How you do them will affect the outcome and how it looks. 

For today, we’ll discuss some of the highlight placements depending on how you want your hair to look. Although you can do these at home, it would be best to try the simpler techniques and leave the more complicated ones to the salon.


What Are Hair Highlights?

Hair highlights are obtained when you treat the hair with a combination of dye and bleach  or toner and bleach. Since you usually want to achieve lighter colors on your locks, bleaching or lightening of some sort is necessary. 

However, since bleaching can damage the hair, it’s important to keep in mind that adding too much can cause breakage and dryness.

Hair highlights are a great way to change up your look without making a big commitment. They add interest and dimension to your hair and can brighten up your face. 

Highlights come in many different colors and methods, so you can find the perfect shade to match your skin tone and style.

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Where To Place Highlights

There are different places where highlights could be placed. These will create different looks for the hair. Nevertheless, they give more dimension and improve the style of your hair. Here are a few suggestions on where to place highlights on your hair.

1. Traditional Highlights

This is the classic hair highlight. This would entail dividing your hair into chunks and applying highlights on these parts.

The lightener is applied in some of the thin sections from root to tip. There are various ways to section the hair to produce the desired effect.

Careful sectioning should be done to prevent your hair highlights from looking streaky (unless that is what you are aiming for). The lightened sections of the hair are usually wrapped in foil so that the rest of the hair isn’t exposed to bleach or lightener.

2. Babylights

This is a good option for people with darker hair colors since the highlights are placed closer to your roots. This gives you full coverage of lighter colors on your locks without looking too harsh.

Babylights are also known as “fairy lights” because they create a natural gradient effect that looks like fairies have touched your hair. The hair is sectioned into thin horizontal sections to make sure that the coloring is more subtle. 

This look becomes more prominent if you have curly or wavy locks.

As compared to traditional highlights, these are done in smaller sections. Although they aren’t as concentrated as traditional highlights, they still give a subtle but beautiful result.

3. Ombre Hair Color

When you have both natural and artificial colors in your hair, you can use this technique.

You can create an ombré effect by sectioning off the colored portion of your hair before bleaching it. This will give the highlighted portions a gradient effect that shows both colors in your mane.

For people who want to experiment with colors but don’t want to commit, this is a good way to try out new colors.

A great tip is to get your hair done professionally since coloring and bleaching should be handled with care so it does not damage your mane. Make sure that you find someone reputable and experienced because highlighting improperly can cause serious damage.

4. Reverse Ombre Hair

The reverse ombre style has become popular in recent times because it complements many face shapes and works on straight, curly, long, and short hair.

This style involves coloring your roots dark so it starts at the roots and fades into a lighter shade as you go down. You can use a contrasting color, or one that’s close to the top of your head, depending on what look you want to achieve.

In such cases, the lightener is applied towards the roots and blended upwards.

5. Sombre

This is ideal for women with darker hair colors because it has a similar effect to babylights. This also uses the ombre style of highlighting the hair.

However, it is done in smaller sections to give a more subtle effect in the same way babylights do.

The somber look is created by lightening some areas of your locks while leaving others darker for contrast.

6. Chunky Highlights

This style is done by sectioning the hair into different chunks and applying highlights on each of these portions. Usually, you get about an inch of hair to create the chunky look.

It’s best to create this look using foil , so you can control where your highlights are placed instead of having it applied all over. This style is great for medium-length hair since it shows off the face and hair shape.

It can look great with natural colors, but this technique really excels with semi-permanent dyes and adventurous colors.

7. Balayage

This type of highlight is done by painting the lightener on your hair with a paintbrush. It makes it look like it’s been in the sun for a while, giving that natural bleached effect.

The balayage technique is used to make sure that your ombré looks perfect, no harsh lines or coloring at all.

This is a great alternative to chunky highlights because they’re softer and more subtle. Using balayage can help you achieve that sun-kissed look without making it too obvious.

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8. Peek-a-boo Highlights

This is a great style for anyone who wants to add a bit of fun to their look. With this, you’ll have different colored hair underneath a layer of your natural colored hair.

If you were to wear your hair down, the peekaboo highlights may not be easily noticeable. However, if you tie your hair up or have curls, the highlights become more noticeable.

If you want to look more fun and edgy, you might want to use colors that really pop out against your natural hair such as pastel colors  or a shocking pink one.

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How To Section Hair For Highlights

You need to divide the hair into four primary sections first. After that, section the smaller areas depending on the style of your highlights. 

Before you start sectioning the hair, make sure that it is clean and dry. Comb through it so that it is easier to separate the hair into sections. 

1. Main Sections

To create the four main sections, start by parting the hair in the middle. Use a rattail comb to make it easier to divide your hair.

Once that is done, you then divide the two large sections perpendicularly from the ear to the other ear. You’ve now created the two sections for the front side of your hair. 

Use the clips to separate the two front sections from the rest of the hair at the back and each other. 

The back of the hair needs to be sectioned as well. To do this, just continue by parting the hair in the middle from the top of the head until the nape. 

2. Secondary Sections

Smaller sections can be made from the four main sections of your hair. This will depend on what highlights you are aiming for. The type of secondary sectioning can affect how the highlights will look like. 

If you section vertically, then you’ll create clean and well-defined highlights. Sectioning them horizontally will create much less defined highlights as compared to the vertically-sectioned ones. 

You can also section it diagonally for more blended highlights. 

Sectioning Hair For Peekaboo Highlights

Peekaboo highlights are made when the colored part of the hair is only the sections underneath. This enables you to cover the colored parts when you let your hair down. 

To section for this, you need to clip the top layer of the hair so that the middle or bottom hair is exposed. Take small sections here where you are going to apply bleach or another color. 

Make sure that the top layer fully covers this highlighted area. You should have a thick top layer that will fully cover the highlighted layer underneath. 

When sectioning hair for peekaboo highlights, you can also use the sectioning technique mentioned above. The only difference is that you should make sure that the top layer that covers your highlighted hair sections when your hair is down is thick enough. 

You can create peekaboo sections on the back part of your hair only, or you can also create peekaboo highlights on the front sections as well to help frame your face. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).