How to paint lowlights on hair at home

Updated April 17, 2017

Add lowlights to your hair at home in the same way you add highlights. Lowlights are dyed a step or two darker than your natural colour to add depth to your overall colour. Add lowlights in late summer to naturally darken sun bleached hair, or add them any time you want to add dimension to your current shade. If you have light hair use a highlighting kit darker than your hair colour to add lowlights. Otherwise use a regular hair dye kit one to two steps darker than your current colour.

Wear a smock or wrap a towel around your shoulders to prevent dye stains on your shoulders and clothes.

Style your clean, dry hair as you usually wear it. This will help you apply your lowlights in a way that looks natural with your hairstyle. Don't use any styling products on your hair.

Prepare the dye in your highlighting kit per directions. If you're using a regular dye kit pour about half the contents into a glass bowl and save the other half for another application. You can mix up the entire contents of a regular dye kit, but you'll probably use less than half.

Place the highlighting cap over your scalp, if applicable. Pull small strands of hair through the holes if you use this method. For lowlights it's often easier to paint hair with a dye brush without using a cap -- but use the method you're more comfortable with.

Wear the gloves that came with your dye kit and apply the dye with a hair dye brush or your fingers. If you apply dye to large sections of hair, larger than 1 inch wide, you'll have more noticeable or "chunky" lowlights. For a more subtle look apply dye to strands smaller than a 1/2 inch.

Leave the dye on for the amount of time recommended in your kit. Rinse and condition according to package directions and enjoy your new lowlights.

Things You'll Need

  • Highlighting kit or regular hair dye
  • Smock or towel
  • Small glass bowl (optional)
  • Highlighting cap (optional)
  • Hair dye brush (optional)
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About the Author

Aubrey Kerr is a writer and photographer. With a B.A. in media arts and public relations, she has helped small business owners design and implement online marketing campaigns since 2004. Her work appears on several websites including and the Houston Chronicle.