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If our favorite celebrities have proven anything, it’s that highlights and lowlights can help create a serious hair color transformation. With just a touch of color variation, manes become full of depth and dimension for a look that sways with movement. Does it get any more goddess-like than that? We think not! And that’s exactly why we’ve rounded up the very best highlight and lowlight colors for 2019. Below, you’ll find all the most gorgeous highlighting and lowlighting hair color trends that can help you take your look to the next level this year. Keep reading to get inspired!
First and foremost, it’s important to know the difference between highlights and lowlights. It’s pretty simple: Whereas highlights are lighter than your base strands, lowlights are darker. And of course, keep in mind that highlights require bleaching—and the darker your starting color, the more work may be required to reach your desired level of color. What’s more, since applying both highlights and lowlights requires a certain skill, it’s often best left to the professionals (although in some cases you can definitely highlight your hair at home). Now that you know the basics, here are nine of our favorite types of highlights and lowlights.
Think back to when you were a little girl and rocked natural highlights just from sitting in the sun all summer. Those tiny, natural-looking blonde streaks are emulated with the babylights technique by brushing on super-fine highlights for a baby blonde look.
Also known as hair painting, balayage is a dyeing technique that involves hand painting the highlight or lowlight color of your choice directly onto your strands. Most commonly, this technique is used to paint blonde shades onto darker hair for a truly natural-looking, sun-kissed mane.
This newer highlighting technique literally means a flamboyant balayage, so it’s slightly less subtle than a standard balayage.
Ombré highlights are one of the trendiest hair coloring techniques for a reason—they’re simply stunning! This technique involves a gradual transitioning of color from root to tip, with dark roots and lighter ends.
The sombré highlighting technique is literally just a softer, subtler ombré. If you’re hesitant about highlights but still tempted to switch up your hair color, this could be the perfect option.
As the name suggests, chunky highlights (or lowlights) are, well, chunky. While they can look seriously stunning if done right, they can go seriously south if done incorrectly. Think: a skunk-like appearance due to too much contrast. Yikes! Be sure to bring photos with you to the salon to ensure your highlights come out looking the way you envision.
Made by bleaching the tips of your hair to create a multi-dimensional blonde effect, frosting is typically performed on men and women with short hairstyles—just think back to your favorite ‘90s boy bands and you’ll have the right idea in mind.
If you have naturally wavy or curly hair, you’ll want to consider ribbon highlights for your highlighting method of choice. Designed to follow the coil of your curls, these highlights create gorgeous dimension that looks completely natural—unless, of course, you go the pastel route.
Ever seen a slightly lived-in ‘do that looks perfectly highlighted or lowlighted with choppy, care-free color? That’s slicing. Created to add loads of depth, this non-uniform highlighting and lowlighting technique can allow you to make a serious hair statement.
Think you want to go with one of the highlighting techniques we mentioned above? Once you’ve made your pick, it’s time to review the season’s hottest color trends. Below you’ll find the five trending shades we’re recommending for your lightened strands.
If you’re all about this season’s peach trend but not ready to embrace a whole head of slightly fluorescent hair, these highlights will be just enough to satisfy your craving. Pair them with a blonde or light brown base to instantly transform your look.
Want to add a touch of whimsy and fun to your next beauty statement? Pastel highlights may be the answer. Whether you go with baby blue, soft pink, turquoise, or lilac, you’ll be able to get in on the season’s pretty pastel beauty trend for a hair look unlike any other. To try the look at home, first bleach any areas you’d like to highlight with the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach Highlights, then follow up with the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color in whichever pastel hue you’re drawn to.
Spring may have just begun, but there’s no shame in wanting to rock a summery, sun-kissed head of hair. With warm honey highlights, you can add golden dimension to your hair to help instantly brighten your complexion and overall look. If you want to get the look the DIY way, try the L’Oréal Paris Frost & Design in Caramel and be sure to follow the instructions to a T!
Strawberry blonde highlights look good on almost any skin tone—although they look particularly stunning on pale skin. Interested in strawberry blonde highlights but not ready to commit? Try it out at home with the L'Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Spray in Rosegold. While it’s not exactly like getting true strawberry blonde highlights, it can help give you a better sense of what this trend might look like on you.
Not to be confused with its counterpart, mushroom brown, the mushroom blonde hair color is a multi-dimensional take on smokey, blonde-gray hues. This gorgeous ashy blonde hue is all over our social media feeds these days, and getting mushroom blonde highlights is one of the best ways to try the shade for yourself.
Perhaps the most on-trend hair color this year is silver blonde, which is an updated version of the classic platinum blonde hue. Since there’s no rule saying you need to rock silver blonde as an all-over shade, why not try silvery highlights on for size?
Prefer to add a bit of darkened dimension to your mane? After settling on your favorite type of lowlights, we can help you choose the right color. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with the following four lowlight trends.
To turn up the dimension on light blonde hair, a series of ash blonde lowlights should do the trick. Just make sure that your colorist applies them using a balayage technique to help ensure it looks super natural.
Think outside the box: Lowlights don’t have to be either blonde or brown! Mauve lowlights are one unexpected option that's nothing short of stunning.
Try out the coffee brown hair color trend in a subtler way with gorgeous lowlights. Just as there are different shades of brown for different coffee drinks, lowlight tones are the same. In other words: you have plenty of options depending on how dark you want to go. You can add streaks of dark espresso brown to your mane or—if your hair is lighter—mimic the look of coffee that’s full of cream and sugar.
Brightly-colored, rainbow hair is bigger and better than ever, and it’s also easy to try for yourself. If you’re curious about rainbow hair but don’t want to go all out, lowlights are the perfect option. Better yet, you can play around with different colors at home using semi-permanent hair color. For something even less permanent, try the L'Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Spray, which rinses out with just one shampoo.
Ready for more in the way of hair color trends? Here are The Best Hair Color Trends for 2019.