Are Highlights Bad for Your Hair?

Sexy, sassy highlights, like balayage and ombre, are dominating every style-savvy Instagram feed. But what does it take to maintain these highlights, and are they damaging your hair?

hair highlight
Balayage Vs. Ombre

Hair painting, or balayage, is no longer considered a specialty technique, and is easy to find at most salons. Unlike foils, balayage can give you a more natural, long-lasting look.

Ombre, on the other hand, is a dramatic “two-toned” look that is heavy on the ends and roots, giving this style a more in-your-face color. Dark-haired girls can rock these highlights with ease. What’s the Damage?

You’ll know it when you see it. Your hair has three layers, and when its outermost layer is damaged from over-styling, it exposes the inner coil. When it’s extensively damaged, your hair will look dull, and feel brittle and dry to boot. Over-processing and bleaching your hair won’t help for sure, but there are ways to minimize the damage. The easiest rule of thumb is to always have these styles done by a hair professional.

How to Keep Your Hair Fabulous

Foils require more upkeep, and you’ll have to return to the salon after just six weeks. Balayage and ombre don’t show that glaring grow out! With these highlights, you won’t have to return to the salon for about 8 weeks, though your stylist can probably give you a more accurate timeline.

If you can’t live without some stellar highlights (and who could blame you), here are a few ways you can lessen the damage:

1. After getting some bold, stand-out highlights, wait 72 hours before you wash your hair. Running water through it, or even conditioning your hair is fine, but that outermost layer will need some time to close.

2. Whether you curl or straighten your hair, always use a heat protectant before styling.

3. Avoid ponytails and tight braids. Your hair is pretty tough, but all that pulling, in addition to the highlights, can lead to serious breakage.

4. Use shampoos and conditioners that are specifically for chemically-treated hair, and reach for those sulfate-free shampoos to keep your hair healthy and strong.

The Verdict

Whichever style you choose, PLEASE be sure to avoid at-home coloring kits. It’s best to get the color you want the first time and have a beauty professional do what they do best. Consultations are usually free, so book one with a colourist in your area to get the highlights you’ve always wanted!


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