Lowlights vs. Highlights: What’s the Difference?


Everyone wants that perfect hair color, ranging from blondes to brunettes. We all want dimension in our hair. Lowlights and highlights are a great way to get this without much fuss. You need to be realistic with yourself on how much upkeep you want to do to maintain it.

Lowlights and Highlights
Lowlights and Highlights

Ever see those perfect creamy blondes on the runway? Those are a mixture of lowlights and highlights that blend naturally blonde hair into something more wondrous to behold. Both sets of processes help your hair become the bombshell part of your outfit; most stick to one or the other.

What are Lowlights and Highlights, and how are they different from one another?

highlights vs lowlights
highlights vs lowlights

There are differences between the two, and both have different processes of being done. While they sound the same, they’re very different in how they’re done.

The process for both lowlights and highlights goes about the same in terms of how it’s applied. Both will either be hand-painted on or done with foils. So while the process of putting them in your hair is the same, the process in which it’s achieved is different.

Lowlights with different hair color
Lowlights with different hair color

Lowlights are there to darken your lighter-colored hair (think of someone with blonde hair who now has darker strands through it to add dimension). Highlights are there to bleach strands of your hair to take a lighter color for that same effect. Some people do both simultaneously, giving their hair a depth of color that can’t be beaten.

Can I get both at the same time?

The answer to this is a resounding yes. You can get lowlights and highlights at the same time, and in fact, you’ve likely seen someone with them and just thought, “They have perfect hair”. That may mean they’re just well-coifed with both of them at the same time to blend the colors.

Getting both lowlights and highlights simultaneously isn’t for the faint of heart though, it takes time, patience, and some maintenance. Be honest with yourself and ask how much you’re willing to go to the salon to maintain these.

Lowlights will be easier to maintain as they aren’t as bright as highlights. Also, they don’t require bleaching, so you can let them grow out if you find the maintenance just isn’t what you want to do. Highlights require more maintenance and being in the salon more frequently.

How much do lowlights and highlights cost?

This depends wholly upon your stylist, but it can range anywhere from $100-$300 per session. Depending on how much needs to go into .” where you want your hair to be will depend on how much it costs. Make sure you consider how long the process will take, as this can also affect the cost.

Don’t go as cheap as possible, though, as doing these are something you want a professional who’s experienced to handle. Make sure you do your research into the stylist’s experience, cost, and then weigh your decision from there.

How do I care for my hair after having this done?

There are so many realms of advice for this. Generally, you’ll want to wash your hair sparingly. If you’re going to clean it often, get a shampoo and conditioner to keep it bouncy and healthy.

These treatments can fade over time, so the more you wash your hair, the faster it will fade. Also, make sure to use a heat protectant on your hair when using hot styling tools. Your hair has already gone through a chemical change, no need to stress it further.

What can I expect with these treatments?

There will be some upkeep when it comes to lowlights and highlights. What you can expect is a long-lasting dimension and some lift to your roots. Should you have fine hair, this is excellent for gaining volume. Expect you will have to care for your hair a bit differently than when it was virgin hair. You don’t want to over-process it.

Over-processing your hair will lengthen the amount of time between treatments. You’ll need to get it back to a healthy state of being before doing any other treatments. Keeping your hair healthy is of utmost importance if you’re a regular at dying your hair in any manner.

What colors are suitable for treatment?

The great thing about lowlights and highlights is that it’s great for any color hair. Usually, you’ll want to go for highlights with darker hair and lowlights with lighter hair. They can both be effective in any color. For the most part, you’ll want to stick to whatever gives you more dimension and dramatic difference.

Your stylist will usually help you with this process in deciding as they know the integrity of your hair. There are different styles and techniques to do your hair. Your stylist can tell by examining your hair whether you should wait or not on getting it done.

How often can I get highlights or lowlights?

Highlights are often harsher on the hair as they need lightning. Lowlights don’t require as much care. Usually, you’ll want to get this done about every six to eight weeks to keep it up. Depending on your hair care routine, that could be sooner if your hair is healthy enough to do so.

Highlights and lowlights are lower maintenance in that you don’t need to get it done as often when it grows out. These will grow out gracefully and still blend into your hair. There are no harsh, hard lines with these treatments. This means they will still blend even if you go over the usual time frame for getting them done.

The Takeaway

When getting highlights or lowlights, you’ll want to talk to your stylist about your options. Usually, they are the best resource you have when it comes to your hair. Ensure you have a stylist that knows what they’re doing. Lightning of your hair will require some skill, so you don’t damage it.

What do you think about getting highlights and lowlights done? What’s your favorite? Comment below and let us know. Subscribe to our blog and get articles in your inbox with information regarding all things beauty! 

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