Highlighted styles for hair

Updated February 21, 2017

Sun naturally imparts a light sheen to strands of hair but if you want to give nature a helping hand, you can go to the hairdressers and ask for a set of highlights. Highlights involve bleach which takes your natural colour and any artificial colour out of the hair shafts for a lighter colour. The hairdresser generally uses foil strips to separate the targeted strands from the darker hair but home highlighting kits may instead provide you with a highlighting cap with holes, which covers your hair apart from those strands you pull out and bleach.

Basic styles

Generally, a hair salon offers three different basic types of highlights. These are the full head, the half head and the T-bar. The full head option means that the stylist picks out strands of hair from all over your head and bleaches them but does this for only half your head in the half-head method. A T-bar covers the least hair and runs from the front fringe area of the head back through the parting to give a highlighted appearance when the hair is down.


Chunky highlights are an option for someone who doesn't want her hair to appear naturally sunkissed. These are highlights that contrast sharply with the surrounding colour, which for example could be a white-blonde next to a rich brown. You can place these anywhere, such as around your face or in a cluster for a more dramatic appearance. A single floodlight streak may also add a bit of decorative interest to an otherwise uncomplicated hair colour.


Slices are thin highlights but a hairdresser can also play around with these and apply them in different places if you desire. She can also control the final colour of the slices to match with your base colour, as is also the case with other, more prominent, highlights. She can mix one shade of highlight, such as a caramel, with another shade of blonde or even a completely different colour to give you a multidimensional colour effect.


Perfect hair is not always necessary for an attractive highlighted hairstyle. For example, Alexa Chung's grown-out highlights give the ends of her hair a golden appearance, which contrast with the natural brown colour nearer the roots -- a style in itself. This effect is achievable with highlight foils that cover only the tips of the hair. A stylist may also be able to give you highlights that are darker at one end than the other through careful timing of the bleachings.

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About the Author

Jillian O'Keeffe has been a freelance writer since 2009. Her work appears in regional Irish newspapers including "The Connacht Tribune" and the "Sentinel." O'Keeffe has a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from University College Cork.