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Highlights vs Lowlights vs Babylights: Which One to Choose

If you’re looking to refresh your hairstyle, various hair coloring techniques can give your hair dimension and depth. Those include highlights, lowlights, and babylights. 

Today, we will talk about the three hair coloring techniques, their pros and cons, and how to choose which one will suit your hair the best. 

Highlights vs. Lowlights vs. Babylights: Which One To Choose?

If you’re looking to refresh your hairstyle, various hair coloring techniques can give your hair dimension and depth. Those include highlights, lowlights, and babylights. 

Today, we will talk about the three hair coloring techniques, their pros and cons, and how to choose which one will suit your hair the best. 



Highlighting your hair is one of the popular coloring techniques in which sections of hair are dyed a lighter color than the surrounding hair. The primary purpose of the highlighting process is to add dimension and provide depth and texture to your locks.

Various colors can be used for highlights, although blonde, copper, and caramel are some of the most popular choices. 

You can apply highlights to any hair color, but those with dark hair may need to use bleach before applying the highlight color. Highlights are typically applied every four to six weeks to maintain the desired look. 

How to Make Highlights

Hair highlights are usually done with the foiling technique – you use foil to separate sections of hair that will be dyed. You can go for either thick or thin sections depending on your preference. 

Before wrapping the hair strands in foil to process, these strands are colored or lightened. The foil protects the lightener from getting on the surrounding hair, making foiling a more controlled technique.

The wrapped foil traps heat, allowing the lightener to work more effectively and efficiently, lightening the hair. Generally, you position the foil close to the scalp, lifting your hair from roots to tips.

Foiling also allows for exact color placement and can be used to create a variety of looks, from natural light hair to dramatic streaks. The foil also helps prevent hair color from bleeding or staining skin.

Doing foil highlighting at home with a kit or a professional colorist in a salon is possible. The precise process usually takes about an hour, depending on the number of foils used and your hair’s length.


  • Use shampoo and conditioner for colored hair: Avoid hair products with sulfates, detergents, alcohol, and salt, as they can strip the color away from your hair. Choose products designed specifically for colored hair because they help resist fading while providing a protective barrier on the colored mane. Plus, these products for color-treated often contain unique ingredients that help hydrate and protect your newly colored hair.
  • Put on a hair mask at least once a week: A good hair mask can help replenish moisture, repair damage, and add shine and softness. It also helps maintain the intense color and glossiness of your hair. Use hair masks for your hair with highlights to help prevent brassiness and keep your color looking fresh. Plus, hair masks usually come with UV filters for that extra protection your highlighted tresses need.
  • Trim your hair: When your hair is color-treated, there will always be an unwanted band of natural hair regrowth and split ends. One way to avoid this is to do a baby trim. A baby trim removes the bottom layer of your hair, just enough to eliminate any damaged or split ends, but not so much that it alters your overall look. Trimming your hair also prevents pesky regrowth lines from forming in the first place. 


  • Less damaging than having the whole hair colored: There is minor damage because when you highlight your hair, the bleach only comes into contact with small sections of hair rather than the entire strands. As a result, your hair experiences less overall damage.
  • Versatile: Highlights add a touch of dimension to your look and come in various colors so you can match them with your natural skin tone and hair color. Some prefer subtle highlights, while others want thicker, more visible streaks. You can try face-framing highlights, partial highlights, and total highlights.
  • It makes your style modern: Hair highlights are a great way to add a touch of modernity to your style. You can achieve a bright and refreshed look by adding lighter colors to your face. Highlights can make your hairstyle look more powerful, even if you have a Pixie cut or inverse bob. Highlights create dimension and depth, which can help to give your hair more volume and body. 


  • Highlights require regular touch-ups: Highlights are applied in small sections. The roots of your hair grow just like the rest of your hair so that the highlights will become less noticeable over time. Touch-ups are needed to keep your highlights looking fresh and vibrant, usually every 4-6 weeks. If you wait too long, you’ll see those dark roots peeking. 
  • It can be expensive: This treatment’s average cost can range from $75 to $200. The price depends on the length and thickness of your hair. You must also consider the cost of maintenance products and regular touch-ups. 



Lowlights are either one or two shades of darker tones blended into your base color or bright strands against a lighter hue (e.g., blue streaks in blonde hair).

Just like traditional highlights, the primary purpose of this freehand painting method is to create dimension and natural-looking volume to your hair by producing almost imperceptible shadows that, nevertheless, significantly impact your hair. 

This versatile highlighting technique is customizable to achieve various looks. Some do lowlights to correct color imbalances, such as when the roots have darker colors than the ends.

Lowlights can give the hair a healthy and natural-looking glow when done correctly.

How to Make Lowlights

You can do low lighting at home. Like traditional highlights, creating lowlights is a straightforward and similar technique that anyone can use with the right supplies and a little know-how. Here’s what you need:

  1. Get a bowl and brush for mixing the dye, gloves, an old shirt or cape to protect your clothing, foils, and the lowlights kit. 
  2. Start the process by shampooing your hair and then towel dry it until it’s just damp.
  3. Mix up the dye according to the instructions on the kit. Once it’s ready, apply it to your hair in sections, using foils to keep it in place. Work the dye evenly through each section before moving on to the next. 
  4. Once your hair is covered, let the dye sit for the time specified in the instructions.
  5. Rinse the dye thoroughly with cool water until the water runs clear. Finish up by shampooing and conditioning your hair as usual. 


  • Less frequent washing of hair: When washing your hair, use a gentle shampoo and avoid scrubbing too vigorously to keep your lowlights looking their best for longer. Washing your hair too frequently can cause the color to fade, so do it no more than thrice per week. If you’re worried about your hair feeling greasy, consider using a dry shampoo in between washes.
  • Avoid too much sun and heat exposure: Just like your skin, your hair is susceptible to damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Overexposure to UV rays can cause your lowlights to fade and make your hair dry and brittle. If you are spending time outdoors, wear a hat or scarf to cover your hair. And when you’re styling your hair, use the lowest setting possible on your curling iron, straightener, or blow dryer.
  • Use leave-in treatments and hair masks: It’s important to use leave-in treatments and hair masks to maintain your lowlights. Leave-in treatments help to add shine and moisture, while hair masks can help repair damage and extend the life of your color. 


  • It gives hair contrast and dimension: Hair lowlights create contrast and dimension, making your hair look fuller and more vibrant. Plus, lowlights are a great way to experiment with multiple tones and colors without making a significant commitment.
  • Improves hair texture: Whether you have a structured haircut or wish to make a subtle change to your regular style, adding a few strategically-placed lowlights can create the appearance of depth for that stunning finished look.


  • It can be costly: Like highlights, hair lowlights require extra care and maintenance, hence the additional spending for retouching services and products. You must also visit the salon regularly, maintain the color, and retouch the natural roots every few months. Also, you need to invest in special shampoo and conditioner formulated for color-treated hair. 



Babylights, also known as finely woven highlights, are dispersed throughout the hair to affect the color’s overall vibrancy. These micro-strands tend to have a higher shine at the crown and extremities that perfectly blend with your natural hair color.

Babylights can be applied to all hair types and textures, but they work best on those with fine to medium-sized hair.

Babylights, like balayage and highlighting, follow a similar technique to blend more naturally with your base color. The micro highlights usually focus on your hairline, natural color, and toward the tips for a natural-looking finish.

How to Make Babylights

Babylights are surprisingly easy to do, even at home. All you need is a bottle of lightener, a bowl, a brush, and some aluminum foil. 

First, mix the lightener according to the instructions on the bottle. Then, section your hair into small subsections, and apply the lightener evenly to each section.

Once all of your hair is covered, wrap it in foil and let it sit for the recommended amount of time. When time is up, remove the foil and rinse out the lightener. 


  • Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner: Sulfates are harsh chemicals that strip away natural oils and color molecules, causing your hair to fade faster. Switching to a sulfate-free formula can help keep your babylights looking bright and fresh for longer. Look for products that are friendly for color-treated hair.
  • Avoid hot showers and heat styling: Heat can damage your hair and cause your color to fade. Too much heat exposure can also make your hair brittle and dry. To make your babylights last longer, take lukewarm showers instead of hot ones. And if you must use heat styling, be sure to use a protecting spray first. 
  • Get regular trims: Trims keep your hair healthy by getting rid of split ends. In addition, they help keep your babylights looking fresh and vibrant. When getting a trim, ask your stylist to dust the ends, which will help avoid visible regrowth. 


  • It gives a natural sun-kissed vibe: Babylights are more subtle highlights placed around the face and through the hair to mimic how the sun lightens the hair. Unlike traditional highlights, which can sometimes look artificial or harsh, babylights blend seamlessly with your natural hair color. As a result, they can help you achieve a beautiful, natural-looking style that is perfect for summertime. 
  • Best for dye-virgin tresses: Babylights are a form of highlighting that uses thin hair strands, so the overall effect is much more subtle than traditional foil highlights. These babylights are an excellent option for first-time color-seekers who want a new look without making a dramatic change. And because babylights are customizable to any color and length, they’re also a great way to experiment and introduce beautiful shades to your hair.


  • It can be pricey: Like the other coloring techniques, babylights can be pricey since they require frequent touch-ups and different hair care products to maintain their fresh, vibrant look. In addition, babylights can also be tricky to DIY, so it’s often best to leave them to the professionals. 

Which One Will Look Best On Me?

Which One Will Look Best On Me?

Deciding on exactly which technique is best depends on different factors and considerations. 

First, you must think about your complexion and style. Think of what you want to achieve with the new hairdo. If you’re looking for a fresh, youthful look, babylights may be the best option.

If you want to add some dimension to your hair, lowlights can help you achieve that. And if you’re looking for a new look that’s similar to your current hair coloring, highlights may be the way to go. 

Keep in mind that none of the three are low maintenance so before you decide, make sure you have time to care for your tresses. If you are having a hard time, it is best to consult a professional colorist to ensure that the new color of your mane will suit you.

See also: 8 Work Appropriate Hair Colors To Wear In Your Office


Highlights, lowlights, and babylights each have their unique benefits and drawbacks. Highlights are a great option if you want to add some subtle depth and dimension to your hair or cover up any grays.

Lowlights can give your hair a more natural look by adding warmer tones, but they can also be high-maintenance if not done correctly. And babylights are perfect for those who want a soft and natural-looking ombré effect without committing to one solid color for months.

Whichever style it is, be sure to carry it with confidence. You are going to look amazing!

Color-treated Hair FAQs

Below we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about highlighting your hair.

Can I color my hair after another treatment?

Yes, you can color your hair after a treatment. However, you may need to use a different dye or coloring method and give your hair a few months to recover. 

How long should I wait to recolor my already highlighted hair?

How long should I wait to recolor my already highlighted hair?

The condition of your hair will determine it. If you have damaged hair, it’s probably not worth it until your hair grows out or the color fades. It’s usually a good idea to get advice from your hairstylist on a color-corrective service if you don’t like the hue of your locks.

Can I go swimming after my hair coloring treatment?

Your hair is brittle and prone to break after treatments, particularly bleaching, highlighting, and dyeing. It’s best to wait at least a week before swimming.

Swimming in chlorinated water can cause chemical reactions that can damage the healthy look of your hair. It can cause your color to fade, turn green, or damage your hair follicles/dry out.



I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!

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