Tips to highlight hair at home:

1. Whatever you do, DON’T apply color on the roots right next to your face.

This results in harsh, unnatural looking color.  Take just a small, tiny thin section of hair right next to your face and pull it out before you do your first foil.

2. Do not put color all the way onto the scalp.

Bleach expands as it heats up and processes.  Applying color directly on the scalp makes it impossible to prevent the color from spreading where you don’t want it.

3.  Wear gloves.

Your nails and hands will thank you.

4. If you are just updating the roots of previously highlighted hair, weave out the sections that weren’t highlighted last time.

This way,  you are only lightening the roots of the strands that were highlighted last time.  It doesn’t have to be perfect because that’s impossible, just try to be somewhat close.

After I finish foiling, I set a 35 minute timer.  When it goes off, I check to make sure that the hair is white with  very little yellow.  If it still has yellow/orange throughout most of the foils, I wait longer (most brown hair takes  longer).  Once it looks near white,  I wash my hair immediately.

The Product I use to highlight my hair at home:

The color I foil with is Clairol 7th Stage Creme High Lightener from Sally’s.  It’s $4.89.  I mix it with two-threeactivators  that are $1.59 each and 20 volume developer that is $1.89.  If you have naturally light hair, you may only need two activators instead of three.  All of the links go to exactly what I use. The exact ratios are:   2 oz. of Clairol 7th stage with 4 oz of volume 20 developer, and3 packets of lightening activator.  

**If you like the highlight color after using the 7th stage, stop here.  You can use some purple shampoo to keep the brassiness away.  If you feel like it is a little yellow or orange, move on to the toner.**

What Toner Does

Toner gets rid of any brassy or red tones and leaves you with beautiful white-blond hair.

How to use Wella T18:

1. Mix  Wella Color Charm in T18  with two parts of  20 volume.

Note:  20 volume will lift your hair some more, only use 20 volume if your hair still has a lot of golden to it, if it’s just a little yellow or brassy, use a 10 volume or less.  A 10 volume or less will only deposit the toner and not lift the hair any more.  For more information on what other people have done check out makeupalley reviews.  Please keep in mind that 20 volume toner will damage your hair a little more.  I only apply it to the regrowth when I use it.

2.  Apply to damp, towel-dried hair.

3.  Leave on for 3-30 minutes.

I leave it on for 5 minutes, or until I see that there are no more orange or yellow tones.  Do not leave it on too long!  I left it in for 15 minutes once and it left my hair slightly bluish-purple.  Luckily, the bluish tint will quickly wash away after a few washes.

4.  Wash immediately.

I usually rinse it out and the deep condition my hair.  I tone immediately after I have rinsed out the bleach.

Between touchups, I use this purple shampoo to keep the brass away.

I have done this countless times now all with success. You can use 1/8th a cup of 7th stage, 1/4 cup of 20 developer, and 1.5 packets of activator if you don’t want to make the whole thing at once.  This will save you money, and  as long as you keep the ratios the same, the results will be the same.

UPDATE!!! Sally’s finally put everything you need for the highlighting portion in a kit!  Woot-woot!  (If you have darker hair, you may want to purchase an additional 3rd package of activator.)  Get it here. 


I know this is a lot of information.  Please ask questions if you have any.


I have since used this formula on several friends and have had great results!



How to Highlight Hair at Home, a tutorial featured by top US lifestyle blogger, Kara Metta

How to Highlight Hair at Home, a tutorial featured by top US lifestyle blogger, Kara MettaHow to Highlight Hair at Home, a tutorial featured by top US lifestyle blogger, Kara Metta  How to Highlight Hair at Home, a tutorial featured by top US lifestyle blogger, Kara Metta

Final Shopping list:

Remember that you’ll want 2 rattail combs to highlight hair at home.  Most of you will only need 10 volume developer for the toner, but some may want 20 (read reviews online to decide).  The kit comes with 2 activators, if your hair is darker, you may want to buy a third, so I included one below.  I also recommend buying a deep conditioner for afterwards.


Update: I have also used this to do balayage.  More about that here.
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