How to do peekaboo highlights

Updated February 21, 2017

Peekaboo highlights are slices of lightened hair that are positioned so they become obvious as the hair moves or depending on how the hair is parted. A slice is a very thin section of hair about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long. This type of highlighting allows for a subtle look that has drama and interest and can be created at home.

Cover your work area with towels. You will be working with a bleaching product, and any spills could leave permanent stains. Put on an old shirt or plastic cape to protect your clothes.

Section your hair with the tail comb, starting at the hairline on one corner of the forehead. Pull the tail comb around to create a horseshoe-shaped part that continues around to the other corner of the forehead. Clip this hair securely out of the way with a plastic clip.

Plot out where you are going to place your slices. You will be making vertical slices 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) apart, extending down from the horseshoe-shaped part. For peekaboo highlights, you will not want to have any slices right next to the face. The first slice on either side of your head should be above the ear. You should plan to have six to 12 slices.

Fold your foils in half width-wise so they will be ready when you need them. Put on the gloves. Prepare the powder bleach and the developer in your plastic or glass bowl according to the manufacturer's directions.

Make your first vertical slice by taking a section of hair with the tail comb. The slice should be very thin, less than 3 mm (1/8 inch), and it should about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.

Position the folded edge of the foil behind the slice and hold it there with one hand. Load a small amount of the bleach onto the tint brush. Apply the bleach to the slice of hair starting just past the scalp, pressing the hair against the foil. Continue painting the slice of hair down the foil until all of the hair in the slice is well coated. If your hair is long, you may need to fold it up onto the foil to get the bleach applied to all of it. Fold the sides of the foil inward so the bleach-covered hair is completely covered by the foil. Repeat this process for each slice, going all the way around your head.

Allow the bleach to process for the amount of time recommended on the manufacturer's directions for the powder bleach. Check a foil every 10 minutes to see how the lightening is progressing.

Remove all of the foils once your hair has achieved the desired lightness. Shampoo the hair to remove the bleach. When you condition, leave the conditioner in an extra five to 10 minutes before rinsing.


If you are concerned about having the dexterity needed to create the foils, do a practice run using shaving cream. Experiment with different foil placements to personalise your peekaboo highlights.


Some types of metal can cause a reaction in hair-lightening products. Always use plastic clips and plastic or glass bowls to mix your bleach.

Things You'll Need

  • Towels
  • Old shirt or plastic cape
  • Mirror
  • Plastic gloves
  • Plastic hair clip
  • Tail comb
  • Plastic or glass bowl
  • Off scalp powder bleach
  • Volume 20 or 30 developer
  • Tint brush
  • Hair foils
  • Timer
  • Shampoo
  • Moisturising conditioner
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About the Author

A writer from Chicago, K.C. Winslow has been publishing articles relating to health, beauty, travel, crafts, education, Macintosh computers and technology since 2000. She holds a Master of Arts degree in writing from the University of Melbourne, Australia, where she lived for several years.