Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hair Highlights Cover Gray With Class

For most women, the creeping advance of gray hair is a turning point. The conventional wisdom is that she has only two choices: either cover it up with a single color, usually one that recreates her natural color, or give in and let the gray have its way.

There's a third alternative that's gaining popularity, though, and that's highlighting. Hair highlights imitate the sun streaks that emerge in your hair after you've spent lots of healthy time in the outdoors. This coloring technique camouflages your gray by blending it with one or more applied colors. The effect is far more subtle than your could ever hope to achieve with a single-process color.

If you're thinking of using this option to cover up your grays, it's important to understand some terminology. Highlights are any color that's lighter than your current color, while lowlights are any color that's darker than your current shade. Common highlight colors are blonde, golden, and light auburn. Typical lowlight colors include deep auburn, chestnut, and red. You can use your natural color as your lowlight if you like.

When you ask your stylist to give you a highlight with the intention of covering up your grays, typically she (or he) will work with you to select one highlight color and one lowlight color. Then she'll carefully separate your hair into small sections at a time. Each section will get either an application of highlight, an application of lowlight, or no color at all. The section then gets sandwiched inside a folded square of foil to keep the different colors from running together. The process uses a lot of foil. If you have long or thick hair, a highlight will make you feel like a spaceship lady by the time all the color is applied!

Then it's time to sit in the processing area of your salon and thumb through a magazine while the color sets. This usually takes about 45 minutes, so come prepared to spend some time. Sip some filtered water or herbal tea and relax.

Finally you'll move over to the shampoo area and your colorist will remove all the foils, then shampoo your hair. If you have some spare time, this is a great opportunity to get a deep moisturizing hair treatment to protect the hair cuticle from dryness and damage. These treatments will leave your newly highlighted hair with a wonderful shine.

When your hair is dried and styled, you'll be amazed at the results of your highlight. You'll have a subtle hint of gray, but it will blend in with your highlight color so that it almost looks blonde. And you'll have streaks of your lowlight color that work together nicely with your gray and highlight. You'll love the shimmery effect of the three colors flowing together in harmony.

Although a highlight takes longer and costs more than single-process color, the blended effect means you won't get a pronounced line where your gray roots begin. This means far fewer trips to the salon for touching up. Most colorists recommend getting your hair re-highlighted every three months or so, depending on how long your style is, how fast your hair grows, and the colors you've chosen.

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