Everything You Need to Know About Hair Highlights

Highlights are something you probably see everyday without even realizing it. They can be subtle to give a sun kissed effect or wild and extreme with bright contrast and fun colours. At Element WE LOVE doing highlights!

So lets tell you exactly what you need to know. That way you can decide on the highlights that are right for you.

Cap Highlights

This technique is less common nowadays but is still done occasionally. This technique is usually better on shorter hair (it can be slightly painful if you have longer hair) to get an all over brighter effect. Hairstylists don’t usually like this technique because we have minimal control over where the highlights are being put, and therefore can’t be that creative. Plus, we can only use one colour. We do however have creative freedom over how many highlights you want. Whether you want a lot, a little, more on top and less underneath, or vice versa it’s all possible with a cap. The shortcomings begin when you come back in to have your roots touched up. It’s very difficult for a stylist to pick up the same pieces in order to touch up the roots. That being said, this classic technique is ideal for shorter croppy styles to add brightness to your locks.


Foil Highlights

Foil highlights hair fashion

The foil highlight technique is what is most commonly done in salons. This is a much better option for people with longer hair because there’s less tugging and pulling on the hair like you would get with the cap. It is a little more difficult to do on shorter hair but is not impossible. We stylists have a lot more creative freedom using foil highlights. We can choose how many, exactly where to place them, and we can use more then one colour to create a multi-tonal effect. We can take fine weaves to create a softer more natural look or chunky weaves or slices to create more contrast. With foil highlights your root touch ups are a breeze! We can easily pick out the previously coloured pieces and to get to those roots.

I find that I most commonly do this technique for clients that want that platinum blonde look. It creates a much more natural look then just colouring their whole head blonde and it is also healthier for your hair. Personally, this is one of my favourite techniques. I even find it relaxing. It does usually takes me a bit longer then other stylists but it’s important to me that I get your hair exactly the way you want it, and that can take time. I also think blonde highlights are absolutely gorgeous! (says the girl with jet black hair!)



The latest trend when it comes to highlights is ombre. If you haven’t heard of it I’m sure you’ve at least seen it. Ombre creates the look of having “grown out highlights” except it’s a lot more work then simply growing out your highlights. This look is usually better on longer hair styles and looks particularly good on hair that’s wavy or curly. When the trend started there was usually an extreme contrast between the roots to the ends – going from very dark to very light. Lately, however, the trend has grown to be a much softer look, with a more subtle contrast from the roots to ends. We hairstylists like to call this “Sombre”.

Ombre_01The Ombre look was originally achieved by backcombing the hair to create a diffused line and then applying the colour to the ends in foils. This technique works well and creates a beautiful result but can be a pain for both you and me when it comes to to combing out the hair. Thankfully, stylists have come up with many different ways to create the same look. Plastic wrap is a commonly used technique in our studio. We put it in the same way we would a foil but we create a diffused line by-hand, bringing the colour up higher in different areas thus eliminating the need to backcomb the hair. We can even use 2 colours to create a beautiful transition from light to dark. An ombre look can take a bit longer to complete so if it’s something you’re interested in, make sure you have the time to do so. Taking the time and care will create a beautiful result that everyone will love!



Balayage Technique_01The balayage technique is great for creating beautiful highlights. It is actually a French technique developed in the 1970’s, but it’s still totally in style though so don’t worry. A simple way to describe it is hair painting. Basically we are freehand painting the colour onto the hair rather then putting it in a foil. This creates a more natural look since some of the un-coloured hair could be touching the hair with colour on it. This technique is perfect for the person that doesn’t want to have to come in all that often to get their roots touched up. Or if you just don’t have the time or funds to be able to do that sort of thing. There are no harsh lines with balayage so it grows out very naturally. It’s great for all hair lengths and can be used to create a more natural or fun and chunky look. This is a great technique because it’s so versatile, and can be used to create a variety of different looks.

Now that you know more about your highlight options, think about what’s best for your hair and what will suit the style you are going for. If you have any questions we’re always here to help!

Call us at 519-746-1212 or book online here for your hair highlights appointment.