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The Complete Guide to Hair Color Highlights

The Complete Guide To Hair Color Highlights

Hair color highlights are one way to get a natural, beautiful look for your tresses. Once upon a time, it was a pretty cut and dry process of foiling the hair. Now there are many other options to choose from. Clients who want a personalized touch can bring in social media photos, pics of the hottest trends from fashion mags and go lighter, darker, chunkier, or thinner on the color strands. With all these choices, it helps to know just what type of hair color highlights are out there, how to get the look, and what to ask a Phia stylist when you pop into the salon chair for a new ‘do.


Foils have been the highlight standard forever. A colorist takes hair strands, puts them in aluminum foil, and paints each piece. The hair sits inside the foil and starts to take on a new hue within minutes.

From covering gray to get a more natural, sun-kissed look, a Phia stylist can help you look at all the color options and discuss a budget for this process. The client gets more control over how the hair looks in tone and color but requires more consistent upkeep.

Don’t want to hit the salon that often? Ask for ways the salon can cover any outgrowth. Expect to use a special conditioner and hydrating masks to keep hair color looking fresh. A sulfate-free shampoo keeps oil in the hair.

Alternative lighting techniques like balayage don’t use foils which takes more time but lasts a bit longer in-between visits. A Phia stylist can discuss whether highlights with foil will help achieve the desired look.


Balayage is simply ‘painting the hair.’ A French method (ooh la la) of hand-painting highlights sounds European but everyone is digging the trend around the world. Where foils start at the top of the crown, balayage paints strands mid strand to the end. Want easier to maintain color and outgrowth that looks natural? Balayage may be the place to start.

Ombré looks started the trend but now balayage is taking the hair world by storm. The appeal of not using foils or spending hours at a salon every other month brings people in for balayage. Shoulder-length hair or longer is best for this type of hair color. Grab some dimension and tone to the hair without a drastic change. Highlights with foil may be more noticeable to some people but balayage has a natural look some clients love.

Overall maintenance requires some conditioning to keep the hair moisturized and clean. A Phia stylist who specializes in color and highlights can work with a client’s hair to get it the right tone and color for best results.


Don’t want to go with bold, in-your-face color? Babylights might be just the ticket for those tired tresses. Think about brightening up strands to bring some light and dimension without too much effort. This look is perfect for people who want to look like they’re coming from the beach having played all day and want some face-framing light pieces. Curly hair can hold this trend but it isn’t quite the same as straight hair.

When the color fades, it isn’t as obvious as balayage or highlights which require less upkeep. This look brightens without a lot of fuss but may appear like nothing at all was done to the hair for some clients. For bolder looks, it helps to talk to a Phia stylist who can talk through the options to find the right color, tone, and overall goals for a fun, bright new look.


Go high(lights) or go low, but anywhere you go, hair’s the star player. While highlights brighten, lowlights bring in a depth that can be playful with loads of dimension. Soften things up by going piece by piece and adding darker strands in between lighter ones. Color is deposited throughout the hair to balance a look. Shampooing isn’t as frequent with lowlights because it might fade color quicker. Phia stylists can recommend the frequency of color but lowlights generally grow out naturally and don’t require visits more than every 8-12 weeks or so.

Bold Color

Clients are coming into Phia salons every day looking to change things up. Color highlights are low risk and high reward. Lots of fun to play with vivid colors but don’t expect them to last. Try them for a bit of fun but expect regular re-application by a colorist or touch-ups with at-home products.

Phia stylists are well versed in helping clients get a fun, vibrant look they can take home and play with while keeping it fresh until their next visit. Blonde hair keeps bright colors longer but darker hair will need a bit of lightning to hold color for a bit. Cool water keeps streaks looking bright. Speak to a colorist about a refreshing conditioner.

Expensive Brunette Trend

Give those tresses a dressed-up look for less with the expensive brunette trend. Why not change things up for a natural, low-maintenance style that looks like a million bucks without spending that much. An expensive brunette look creates a rich color with tons of shine with less damage or breakage (to hair or your bank account). A Phia colorist can blend highlights and lowlights for a copper or ash blonde look with a dimension that blends seamlessly with your natural hair. Some other colors to try:

  • Cool tones for an ashy, brunette look with highlights
  • Teasylights for a warm blonde transformation
  • Chocolate tresses for warm tones with hints of red
  • Curly highlights for a sun kissed look any time of year
  • Dark brown with thin, blended highlights

Not sure what type of color to try?

Why not speak to a Phia colorist and stylist who can discuss all these options (and more) when you stop by for a consultation. Take time to pamper yourself with a mini facial and learn about all the ways Phia stylists can help your hair look its absolute best.


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