How To Do Your Own Highlights at Home
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One thing I love most about being a licensed beautician and having my knowledge is that I can confidently color, lighten, and even cut my own hair at home. I use to do my own balayage from home and now I do my own highlights at home!
Keep in mind this tutorial is not a full weave or a full head of highlights because I can’t reach all the way behind my head! However, if you have a friend that can help you this tutorial will show you the right techniques to do that.
This tutorial is a partial weave or partial highlights I do all by myself to keep my hair looking fresh and makes it so I only have to go to the salon about once or twice a year for my full head of highlights! So this tutorial is perfect if you just want to add some blonde or if you want to save money and spread out your salon appointments!
Let’s dive on in!
Product and Supplies List:
1. Matrix VLight Lightener – (bleach)
If you’ve already read my post “What I Use to Balayage My Own Hair” then you know how much I hate box color. As a licensed hair stylist, the worst thing you can hear from a client is that they use box color or bleach on their hair. It is so damaging and so hard to correct. Plus it never turns out looking like the lady on the front of the box.
Just don’t do it! If you’re going to do your hair at home USE PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTS! You’re hair and stylist will thank you!
2. 30 Volume Creme Developer (Developer for the bleach)
To activate the bleach you have to mix it with developer! Normally I use a 20 Volume developer, but I use a protective product that keeps my hair from damage and breakage called Olaplaex which requires you to go up one level in developer, so I will be using 30 Volume Creme Developer. If your hair is more resistant, ethnic, dark, coarse, curly hair, a 40 Volume Creme Developer may be better for you.
I’ve said it once and I will say it again! Olaplex is the fountain of youth for your hair! If you ever plan on lightening your hair, Olaplex is a necessity!
Olaplex is a professional hair 3 step treatment to limit the amount of damage done to the hair when coloring and lightening. It strengthens, multiplies, and protects disulfide bonds, which means lighter and longer hair! This stuff is gold my friends. However, the only place to find it if you aren’t licensed is online! It can get pretty pricey, but it’s worth every penny. Amazon has the single-use treatment kit for $60. Get it here!
I highly suggest Olaplex to keep your hair healthy while you bleach, but you don’t NEED it to do your highlights so no biggy if you can’t afford it just be careful while bleaching!
If you’re touching the bleach often, it will eventually start to burn your fingers and it hurts! So make sure you are wearing some gloves or even just sandwich bags over your hands!
5. Color Brush and Bowl
Make sure to use a color brush and bowl. I don’t know how you would do your highlights without them. Just make sure your bowl is plastic! (Most color brushes and bowls are).
You just need a few clips to keep sections of your hair separate.
7. A Weaving Comb
This is a comb with a pointed metal tail. This is what you’ll use to weave out the hair to be bleached, creating the highlights. It’s very important to get one of these combs! You can get one here or you can find one at Sally Beauty Supply for cheap.
8. Aluminum Foil
You can use any aluminum foil for this. They have pre-cut sheets for highlights at beauty supply stores but I just use the cheap stuff you find at the grocery store and cut myself 6 inch wide sheets. By the way, they don’t have all be the exact same size so just get a roll and rip yourself a bunch.
9. Toner – Redken Shades EQ 9V Platinum Ice 2 oz
When you tone your hair, you are adding or removing pigment from your hair. For my hair, I like a very light ashy blonde. To do this I use a purple based toner to remove all the gold or yellow tones from my blonde. For this I use Redken Shades EQ 9V Platinum Ice 2 oz color toner. For this toner to work I have to lighten my hair very light, almost white. If you try this toner and nothing happens, it means your hair was too dark.
If you want the same ashy blonde tones without going as light try the same toner in 8V or 7V. These toners work the same way to remove gold and yellow pigments on darker blondes.
10. Toner Developer – Redken Shades EQ Gloss Processing Solution
The toner I use needs its own special developer, it doesn’t work without it. That developer is Redken Shades EQ Gloss Processing Solution. The nice thing is you can buy a big thing of it and when your hair needs to be toned again, you are ready!
11. Purple Shampoo
Purple shampoo is a heavily pigmented purple colored shampoo that works the same way as my toner. (The purple removes the gold and yellow pigments from my hair to make it more ashy looking. ) After I’ve toned my hair I wash it with purple shampoo once a week to keep it ashy.
You can also use purple shampoo to tone your hair if you already like the way your hair pulled but you just want to keep it more ashy. Just use it like a regular toner (instructions below) and then use it throughout the month for up keep. I use this one Shimmer Lights Purple Shampoo.
Before You Start, mix your bleach!
Mix Bleach, Olaplex, and Developer.
When making your bleach mix, work with 1 or 2 oz of powder lighter at a time, and remix as needed. This helps your bleach to not overdevelop in the bowl and get puffy.
Mix: If using Olaplex: Add 1/8 oz of Olaplex No.1 to 1 oz of lightening powder (bleach), mix, then add your developer. If you aren’t using Olaplex, just add developer. I never measure my developer just keep adding little by little till your lightener is about the consistency of Yoplait yogurt.
Section off your hair!
One last thing before you watch the video, section your hair into 4 sections. The top of your hair (from about the middle of your eyebrows up and as far back as the apex), the two sides from the ear forward, and the back.
Now, Watch the video! (Toning Instructions Below video!)
1. Mix Your Toner
After your hair has processed to the color you want, you’ve either just pulled out the foils or are just about to it’s time to mix your toner. You want to mix it right before you are going to tone your hair so it doesn’t over develop in the bowl.
So clean out your bleach brush and bowl or pull out another one and mix the same 1:1 ratio of toner (Shades EQ 9V) and Processing solution together in your bowl. I have a lot of hair so I use the whole 2 oz bottle of toner with 2 oz of the processing solution. If you don’t have very much hair or didn’t bleach much hair then only mix 1 oz each.
2. Tone Time!
Now that your toner is mixed, it’s time to throw out the foils if you haven’t already, jump in the shower and rinse out the bleach.
Once the bleach is rinsed, squeeze out as much water from your hair and use your hands to apply the toning mixture to the bleached areas. Get in really good to those areas like you would your shampoo then let the toner sit for 5 minutes or less. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t go completely purple. Once you can see your hair start to turn colors, it’s time to rinse!
3. Olaplex No.2
If you are using Olaplex, after you’ve rinsed your toner out, add a generous amount of Olaplex No. 2 from roots to ends and comb through. Leave this on for a minimum of 10-20min you can let that baby soak in longer if you have previously damaged hair. Then rinse.
Now you can wash your hair like normal. If you have Olaplex no 3, keep it in your shower and use it like a deep conditioner once a week until it’s gone. Put it on damp hair for 10 minutes then rinse.
I hope you liked this tutorial and if you have any questions don’t be afraid to contact me or leave a comment below!
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I like your good stuff and it is a good article to read. So thank you for sharing this amazing article.
Hey Cassie, I was curious if you had any insights on how to restore pH levels in hair after color processing?
Hi! Thank you so much for the DIY highlight Tutorial! This will save me gotta and dollars. My question to you is, will the platinum color work with grays? I have light highlights but dark roots. My roots are a salt & pepper blend. The platinum will blend so well with the grays! What do you no advise?
Excuse my typos!
Working with grays is really hard! It needs to be filled to accept a color and the bleach won’t add any color to them as it is only a lightener!
Love this technique, one suggestion Is make is to lightly brush some bleach onto your foil BEFORE you place your hair on it, and then again on your hair after you place it on the foil. This will keep it from sliding off while you apply your bleach.
Hello! Do you have new sources for the olaplex products and toner? I can’t find on Amazon and the links aren’t working. Thank you!!
So I was told to put my toner on after washing out the bleach and blow dry it. I still have a brassy color so i toned it for a second time this week and still brassy using volume 20, does the olaplex help the brassy come out my hair is long and my hair took half way down to my desired color, or would you put more bleach on?