Avoid These 9 Common Highlight Mistakes

by Sienna Fantozzi

Hair maintenance can be tricky. Most of us are not professionals, and there's so much information out there that deciphering which advice to follow can be overwhelming. Should you wash your hair everyday, or ditch shampoo altogether? Do regular trims really make your hair grow faster? And then there's the most complicated of them all: Am I making hair highlight mistakes?

Highlights seem simple enough. I mean, you just want to go lighter, right? But deciding which shade to go proves a lot more difficult than it looks. Then there's the type of highlights: do you want to go to the root blonde? Or are you after something more ombre? And then you've got the maintenance. Knowing how to care for your colored hair is crucial, but it's so often overlooked because you think once the color is done, it's good to go. And that is definitely not the case.

Here are the 9 most common mistakes people make when highlighting their hair.

1. Going bleach blonde, right away


If you are going light for the first time, consider going ombré, or just trying a darker shade of blonde first. I know, I know, "blondes have more fun," but making the switch from dark to light can be shocking, so ease yourself into it to avoid any regret.

2. Not considering the different types of highlights

Foils aren't your only option anymore. Balayage, or painted highlights, is becoming increasingly popular for its sun-kissed look. If you don't mind some roots poking through, balayage allows for a more natural grow out, but it's less severe than going ombré. Plus, it's actually healthier for your hair. But if you want to be full, all-over blonde, foils are probably your best bet.

Try: Pravana Pure Enlightenment Balayage Color Kit, $95, Amazon

3. Not asking the right questions

You assume you'll love your color and you trust your stylist, but if it's your first time getting highlights, not asking the right questions can get you into trouble. What if you don't like the color? What are your options to correct it? What if you decide to dye it darker — can you do that on top of the highlights? How often will you need to get touch ups? Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into before you let any color touch your hair.

4. Not considering a base color

Ian Gavan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

We'd all love our blonde to end up looking like Blake Lively's, but you have to consider your natural hair color. If you have red undertones in your hair, highlights could end up looking brassy or orange. You may want to do a neutral base color first, and then highlight on top of that to ensure the right shade of blonde results.

Try: Aveda Intense Base Hair Dye , $6, Amazon

5. Picking the wrong shade of blonde


Not all blondes are created equal. If you have fair skin, stick to lighter shades, but go with darker shades of blonde if you have olive, tan, or dark brown skin tones. Also consider your undertones — if you have pink undertones in your skin, avoid warmer blondes. Instead, go for a cooler blonde.

Try: Ugly Duckling Professional Hair Color with Argan Oil , $11, Amazon

6. Using the wrong shampoo

Make sure you use a shampoo specifically for color-treated hair to protect your highlights, and try to use a purple shampoo once a month to neutralize brassiness.

Try: Phyto Phytargent Brightening Shampoo , $22, Amazon

7. Washing with hot water

Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Hot water can turn your highlights yellow or orange, so wash with cold water to protect your color.

8. Not deep conditioning

Highlighting, and therefore lifting pigment from your hair, will dry it out. To prevent breakage, use a deep conditioner once a week, and don't over do it on the hot appliances.

Kératase Masquintense, $30, Amazon

9. Getting color too often

Some people rush to the salon every six weeks like clockwork, or every time a root peeps its dark head out, but going too often can result in your color looking too over-processed — not to mention it's damaging to your hair and expensive! Try waiting a little longer between salon visits, maybe eight weeks, twelve, or longer if you can. If you can embrace a little natural grow out, it'll save money, time, and keep your hair looking more natural.

Images: Getty Images; Piotr Marcinski/Flickr; Kerastase; Giphy; Marie Robinson Salon/Facebook