Are you looking for something new to do with your hair? Maybe you’ve gotten different haircuts, but nothing is bringing the change you’re looking for.

Highlighting your hair can give it a whole new dimension, and you won’t need to keep chopping it off. Yet, when you hear the term “highlights,” you may become intimidated by the many different techniques and styles.

Use the guide below to learn about all the different types of hair highlights, and you can be confident walking into the hair salon.

Hair Highlight Techniques 

There are four main techniques for hair highlights: foil highlighting, hair painting, frosting, and chunking. Foil highlighting is the process of separating strands of hair to be lightened, placing them in foil pieces, and applying lightener to them.

Hair painting is a freehand method to achieve a highlighted effect. Generally, a brush is used, but a comb may also be used to highlight thin strands of hair.

Frosting is the technique of highlighting only the tips of the hair, usually using a lightning cap. The stylist will place the hair through holes in the cap, in which only those pieces are lightened, to create a “salt and pepper” look.

Chunking is a technique in which you highlight large sections of hair, and often, non-traditional colors are used. The desired effect is to create a bolder contrast instead of a subtle texture, as with traditional hair highlights.

Types of Hair Highlights

Highlights are used to create more dimension in your hairstyle, which means you can use them in whatever way that works best for you. Below are types of hair highlights that you can use as inspiration.

Full Highlights

With full highlights, all of the different sections of your hair will have highlighted pieces. Having highlights all over your head ensures consistency in color and is perfect for those that enjoy wearing their hair up or half up often.

Full highlights allow you to change the dimension of your entire hair, which can also give it the brightest look. If you’re trying to switch up your style completely, full highlights could do that for you.

Partial Highlights

Partial highlights are exactly what they sound like: only part of your hair gets lightened. Generally, partial highlights include the top of your hair at the front of your head and the area above your ears.

The underneath sections generally do not get highlighted with partial highlights, which means the hair would remain the same color. If you wear your hair up or half-up often, you will be able to see the two different color tones.

Yet, this is a great, less expensive option and can give the hair depth as the solid color comes through.


While you don’t need traditional hair dye for most hair highlights, this is especially true for babylights. This highlight style is meant to be more of a sunkissed look and may be harder to detect as a traditional highlight.

This style involves micro weaves by weaving tiny, fine pieces of hair. This method will enhance the hair color while giving it a blended look, allowing you to brighten your look without having to go blonde completely.


While balayage actually refers to a technique, many refer to it as a style of highlight. This is the method of placing the highlight all the way at the root of the hair, creating a look of grown-out roots with blonde hair at the ends.

A balayage style requires more maintenance but is excellent for a natural look. If you’d rather brighten your hair, a different highlight style is recommended.

Ombre Highlights

What’s the best color for your hair? Perhaps it’s bold, ombre highlights!

This is the look of one color gradually turning into another color, generally in a gradient or shadow tone. With highlights, you’ll often see this with blonde turning into brunette or vice versa.

You may also find “sombre,” which is a more subtle ombre highlight, generally darker or lighter shades blending together.

Non-Traditional Colored Highlights

You will find that you can use whatever color you want when highlighting your hair, though the most common is to go natural.

However, red highlights are also popular, especially for those with lighter or blonder hair. Blue highlights are also common, in a variety of shades, usually for darker hair.

If you decide on a more bold highlight color, remember that you’ll usually need to lighten your hair before applying the color, and it requires a bit more maintenance than traditional colors.

Highlights vs. Lowlights

If you’re wondering how to color your hair or how to highlight your hair, you may also be wondering what the difference is between highlights and lowlights.

Or, you may be thinking they’re the same thing.

Highlights are lighter than your existing base color, and lowlights are darker than your current base color. So, if you were a brunette getting a dark brown color, those would be considered lowlights.

A blonde getting a more bleach color would be considered highlights. If you’re considering transitioning either lighter or darker, highlights and lowlights are a great way to do so.

Have You Found Something New to Try? 

Are you ready to take the highlight plunge? As you can see, there are many different things you can do with highlights, and it all depends on what style and look you’re going for.

Some types of hair highlights work better for different hair types, which is something you can talk about with your hairstylist.

Whatever you decide, have fun with your new look!

Did you find this article helpful? If so, browse through more of our website today for extra lifestyle articles!