hair color application How To Fix Bad Highlights

No worries, there are solutions!

Highlighting at home has become even more common over the last year and a half, and while it’s certainly convenient to change up your hairstyle right from the comfort of home, sometimes the results can be sub-par. If your attempt to highlight your hair at home left you with an underwhelming ‘do, we’ve got help on the way. Below, we’re sharing tips for fixing bad highlights as well as what techniques to keep in mind for future at-home highlighting attempts.


If Your Highlights Are Brassy

If your highlights look brassy it could be due to frequent hair washing, using styling tools, and even the sun. There are few things you can do to not only fix brassiness, but to prevent it in the future. Use a purple shampoo and conditioner like the L’Oréal Paris Color Vibrancy Purple Shampoo for Color Treated Hair and the L’Oréal Paris Color Vibrancy Purple Conditioner for Color Treated Hair to counteract the yellow and orange tones. Once a week, use a clarifying shampoo like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Scalp Care + Detox Shampoo to help address brass-causing pollutants and prevent more brassiness from occurring. It’s also a great idea to use a gloss treatment like the L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss which is formulated not only to boost shine and condition the hair, but also to tone hair color and keep it in prime condition. 


If Your Highlights Look Sloppy

If your highlights look sloppy or streaky, pull strands away from your head before coloring next time. When you’ve separated the section you want to highlight, then you can apply the dye. Remember to coat the entire strand evenly, and be delicate when you’re applying color close to your scalp. Alternate creating highlights on each side of your head, so one side doesn’t become saturated with more highlighted strands than the other. 

If you’ve already attempted highlights and you’re not thrilled with the results, you can go over your hair with one color to cover the highlights. Grab a dark enough shade in the L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color to coat the highlights as well as your base color.


If Your Highlights Are Too Subtle

If your highlights aren’t as prominent as you would like them to be, you may not have used large enough sections of hair. It can be tricky to find the balance between going too bold where the highlights look streaky and unnatural, and going too subtle where you don’t achieve your desired effect. Another possibility: you may not have left the dye on long enough. Next time, keep the color on your hair for the entirety of the recommended time. If you’re still not seeing your highlights, try bringing them closer to the front and top of your hair (face-framing highlights) so they’re more noticeable.


If Your Highlights Are Too Bold

If you’ve ended up with bold, stripey highlights, be more cautious about how large the sections of hair you're highlighting are with your next attempt. Grab fewer strands, and make sure each one is uniformly saturated with dye so that your highlights are even. You should also pay attention to how long you leave the color on your hair—if it’s on for longer than the recommended time, your highlights may turn out way too light, creating a stark contrast with the rest of your hair. It’s also possible that your highlights are simply too light in color compared to the rest of your hair. A great way to achieve dimensional hair that still appears natural, is to opt for balayage highlights where the color is painted onto your strands starting lower than your roots to give you a lived-in look. 

If you’re in need of a fix and can't get to a salon, you can take our suggestion above and go over your highlights by coloring all of your hair a few shades darker with an all-over hair dye. Or, you can grab a fun shade of the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup Temporary 1-Day Hair Color Spray to hide your highlights until you can get them fixed while also experimenting with color. 

Editor’s Note: Remember that while blonde highlights are the most common, they’re not the only option. Check out the L’Oréal Paris Haircolor Concierge where you can consult with a color specialist who can give you personalized recommendations for colors and styles that will suit you and the hairstyle you’re looking to achieve. 

Next: 7 Fun Ways to Change Up Your Brunette Hair Color


Photo: iStock