DIY: Hair Highlights at Home

by Colleen Welsch on June 24th, 2020
hair highlights at home

It’s finally summer, which means we are craving the sun-kissed look of hair highlights. Whether you’re avoiding leaving the house and just want to save a little extra money, here’s our guide to hair highlights at home.

How to Highlight Hair at Home

Hair Highlights at Home Method #1: Lemon Juice

Traditional salon highlights are accomplished with the help of hair bleach. But when you’re highlighting your hair at home, bleach can be a bit scary.

Instead, you can opt for a more natural method and highlight your hair with lemon juice.
Just mix two parts freshly squeezed lemon juice with one part water in a spray bottle.
Spritz hair, and then sit in the sun for one to two hours to let the lemon juice work its magic. Be careful not to get the mixture into your eyes!

Tip: if you’ve previously colored your hair, do not try this method at home. While virgin hair (meaning never colored) will lighten with lemon juice in the sun, it’s impossible to predict how synthetic pigments from hair dye will react to the combination of citrus and UV rays.

how to highlight hair at home

Hair Highlights at Home Method #2: Comb-On

Looking for how to balayage your hair at home? This is the answer. A word of warning though: balayage highlights are an advanced coloring technique that many professional hairstylists haven’t even mastered. Translation? Your results might not exactly be Insta-worthy, and the worst case scenario is that you’ll end up spending a hefty chunk of change for a color correction by a professional colorist.

But if your mind is already made up to DIY balayage, we recommend purchasing a color kit that uses a brush applicator. This will allow you to “paint” on the highlights, creating that oh-so-covetable balayage look. You can also use a comb-on highlight kit to DIY traditional highlights at home.

Hint: if it’s your first time attempting DIY highlights, just paint the highlights around your face. Start small! You can always add more highlights later, though we recommend waiting at least two weeks before processing your hair again to avoid breakage.

Hair Highlights at Home Method #3: Cap

The cap method is a more old school way to highlight your hair at home. These highlighting kits come with a plastic cap with small holes in it. The instructions for using this type of kit are pretty simple, and you’ll want to follow them exactly. Wondering what to expect? Most likely, you’ll first place the cap over your head, then use a hook to draw pieces of hair through the cap. Next, you’ll apply highlighting bleach to the sectioned hair, wait for twenty minutes or so, and wash off the solution.

The advantage of the cap method is that it keeps your highlighted hair separate from the rest of your hair to prevent the bleach from bleeding onto sections of hair that you don’t want highlighted. The downside is that you can’t really control where the highlights are placed. Plus, some people say that it’s painful to pull hair through the cap!

diy highlights for dark hair

3 Tips for Taking Care of Your DIY Highlights

1. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

No matter which way you go about hair highlights at home, there is one thing you can’t escape: hair damage. To lighten the shade of your hair, you need to open up the protective cuticle layer of the hair. Compromising this cuticle layer can leave your hair dry and prone to breakage.

Keep your hair moisturized by using a high-quality conditioner like Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Conditioner, which lightly conditions and nourishes hair with a unique Ana:TelTM plus key vitamins and minerals.

2. Tone It Up

Another risk of hair highlights at home? Brassiness. Keep those orange tones at bay by using a purple toning shampoo every week or so.

3. Avoid Chlorine

Natural blondes already know this, but you need to be careful when exposing your newly lightened locks to chlorine. Why? Because blonde hair has a tendency to turn green in pool water.

To avoid the dreaded green hair look, wet hair with fresh water before jumping into the pool. Then make sure to thoroughly wash and condition hair after swimming. If that sounds like too much work, just avoid getting your hair wet when you go swimming!


Have you ever highlighted your hair at home? What were your results? Let us know in the comment section below!