Hair extensions are known for their ability to instantly transform short hair into long, luscious locks, but length isn’t the only way extensions can take your mane to the next level. Even if you’re happy with the length of your hair and aren’t constantly researching “how to grow hair faster,” you may be interested in what else hair extensions can be used for. If you’ve been considering highlighting your hair but aren’t sure if the look is for you (or you don’t want to deal with the constant upkeep), you may want to pick up a set of extensions, because you can use clip-in extensions to fake highlights! That’s right, clip-ins could be your ticket to an instantly dimensional hair color. Did we pique your interest? Below, we’re sharing how to use hair extensions to fake highlights!
What you’ll need:
Rat tail comb
Hair clips or claws
Clip-in hair extensions
Curling iron or wand
Get the look by following these simple steps:
Step #1: Pick your extensions
Normally, you would want your hair extensions to perfectly match your hair color, but of course that isn’t the case for creating faux highlights. To get the look of highlighted hair, your extensions need to be lighter than your base color. For subtle highlights, use hair extensions that are one to two shades lighter than your current hair color. For more contrasted highlights, feel free to go lighter. For an even more dimensional and natural-looking hair color, you can also use extensions that are highlighted themselves.
Editor’s note: Interested in trying out lowlights, too? Follow the same tutorial but use darker extensions instead!
Step #2: Section your hair
Start by splitting your hair into two even layers. Use a comb to create a straight part where you’re sectioning off your hair. Grab the top portion of your hair and clip it up and out of the way, leaving the bottom portion hanging down.
Step #3: Detangle
Brush out the bottom section of hair to ensure there aren’t any knots or tangles that could get in the way of putting in your extensions.
Step #4: Grab your extensions
Take a four-clip hair extension weft (a weft is a bundle or strip of hair sewn together) and clip it along the part you created, making sure to keep the extensions as centered as possible.
Step #5: Let your hair down
Taking your top section of hair, remove the clip and let about half of the section fall down over the extensions you just applied. Clip up the rest of the hair left in your top section.
Step #6: Brush away
Gently gather the bottom section of hair, including your extensions and the section of hair you just added, and brush it working from your ends up toward the root. Just be careful not to go all the way to the root or you’ll tug on your extensions—ouch! Brushing the section as a whole will begin to blend your hair with the extensions while removing any knots and tangles.
Step #7: Clip, clip, clip
Take another four-clip hair extension weft and clip it along the new part you created, above the hair you just let down.
Step #8: Add more hair
Let the rest of your hair down and gently brush through your entire mane to remove any tangles.
Step #9: Finish your highlights
To complete your faux highlights, you’ll want to add some face-framing pieces. On the side of your head, lift a section of hair about an inch above your ear and an inch from your hairline. Clip your hair out of the way, then apply a two-clip hair extension weft along the part. Let your hair down and repeat on the other side of your head.
Step #10: Blend your highlights
Now that you have your “highlights” in place, it’s time to blend your mane for a seamless look! Brush through your hair before spritzing on a heat protectant to prep for curling.
Step #11: Curl away
Use a curling iron or wand to curl your hair. You don’t have to completely curl your hair, but adding some wave to your mane is one of the easiest ways to seamlessly blend your extensions with your natural hair for a flawless fake highlight look.
Step #12: Seal the deal
Finish your hairstyle by spritzing with hairspray to ensure your curls stay in place and your fake highlights look their best all day long.
Now you know how to fake highlights with hair extensions (and realize hair extensions can be used for much more than pretending to have long hair), but you may be wondering how to keep your extensions looking their best use after use. Well, we can help with that, too! Here’s How to Take Care of Hair Extensions.