Expert Tip: Is it worth it to try and highlight your hair, yourself?


We recently recieved this email from Lauren, asking a hair question:

I usually get my hair done at a salon but I’m trying to pinch pennies in order to take a trip to Cali. So in the mean time I’m wondering if I should do my own highlights. Do you recommend this? If so, any tips or specific brands you recommend? Thanks.

This was one area I know nothing about, I don’t ever dye or highlight my own hair.  (Too many bad experiences!)  For years, I have trusted my hair with the enormously talented Marsi from Bella Salon, in Beaverton, Oregon.  She is a genius when it comes to hair color – so Lauren, I forwarded your question on to Marsi.  Here’s what she had to say:

Hi Jocelyn, I’m so happy to help.

As far as the highlights at home, I would tell her not to try it unless she’s willing to spend twice as much as she would have initially spent getting it done, getting it fixed.

Highlights are just too complicated and require specific technique, if it didn’t then we couldn’t charge what we do for it.

I would however recommend doing all over color at home. I would recommend going to a local beauty supply store, like Sally’s, and ask for help. I would ONLY recommend doing a semi-permanent gloss and stick with more golden colors and not too far off from your natural color or what you currently have. You can really mess up your hair with permanent color or by trying to do something too dramatic.

Your hair is something you wear everyday, it’s not like make-up that you can just wipe off, so if you screw it up- you’re screwed!
Sorry for such a long answer! Hopefully that helps.


So Lauren, I hope this helps!  Keep us posted!


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March 3rd, 2008 at 1:26 pm

I’ve highlighted my hair at home several times using the drugstore kits and my medium brown hair turns out great! Think Jennifer Aniston highlights. The kits with a cap work best. It is time consuming and you may need help for the back–but mine always turns out looking as good or better than when my stylist does it.

March 6th, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I’ve also hightlighted my hair at home multiple times with drugstore kits (less than $15) and never had to fix any problems. I go for a natural look though- I have dark brown hair and like subtle caramel highlights. I once paid almost $100 to have highlights done at the salon and didn’t like the results (way too blonde). If you want something dramatic or lots of tones though, I think you should go to the salon.

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