A Reader Question: D.I.Y. Highlights for Dark Hair?

We recently received a question from reader Helen W., after our article in the November issue about coloring your own hair: Dye-It-Yourself Hair Color. Our beauty and health director Didi Gluck, helped out with an answer:


Woman Highlighting Her Hair Q: Hi! I have black hair, but have longed for DIY highlights. I've tried Loreal Haircolor for Dark Hair but are there any other options? Thanks!

    —Helen W. via Twitter

Dear Helen:

Dark hair can be tricky to highlight on your own. Either the streaks don’t show—or they show up orange. To avoid orange tones do not, under any circumstances, simply dump blonde hair color onto dark hair. Instead, turn to a highlighting kit (Revlon, Clairol, and L’Oreal make them specifically for dark hair). It comes with the tools to separate your hair into highlight-width sections—and more importantly, the chemicals it contains (ammonia and peroxide) are the right strength to lift dark pigments from hair.

Another suggestion: Pick an all-over color in a tone two to three shades lighter than your hair that’s labeled “ash,” “smokey,” or “beige,” (example: light ash brown), and weave it carefully through random strands of hair, suggests Marie Robinson, color director for Clairol; hopefully this will break through the darkness.

Yet another approach, suggested by Gina Gilbert, a colorist at the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in New York City, is to see a specialist at a salon who can bleach streaks for you. Bonus: After bleaching, they can seal in your color and soften your hair with a professional glossing treatment.

    —Didi Gluck



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