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Do Highlights Damage Hair? Here’s What You Don’t Know

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Hello ladies, in this post, I am going to answer the age-old question-Do highlights damage hair? And also share with you the necessary information you need to know.

One of the biggest problems and fear of most ladies in the quest for hair beauty is “DAMAGE.”

I bet you; nobody wants to encounter and experience such a tragedy. So in the hair coloring sphere, you must be two steps ahead.

So do highlights damage hair? Beyond doubt, highlights do damage hair, especially when the whole process is done wrongly or in excess. That’s to say; an experienced colorist can bypass damages during highlighting by using the right technique.

Caring for hair can be complicated and tricky sometimes.

Most YouTube DIY/tutorial videos are cool, but when it comes to practices that involve technical changes, like hair bleaching and highlighting -If you are just starting; Don’t DIY at home.

That pro hair colorist within your neighborhood didn’t spend months as an apprentice for jokes. Allow them to do a technical job for you.

And aside from coloring, a trained professional colorist applies coloring techniques that will help maintain your hair health and strength.

But if you insist and want to highlight your hair by yourself at home.

Here’s a video on how to do it yourself.

Things To Note Before Highlighting Hair Strands

In the hair color sphere, anything can happen. You just need to watch your steps before you ruin your world.

Just like a school examination, before you pass, you must get ready **studying hard**

It is always vital you get everything set, available, and under control.


Here are things you should do and also have in mind before highlighting your hair.

1. Keep Healthy Hair Before Highlights

The main reason many hair highlights fail and hair gets damaged to/almost beyond repair; is because the hair strands are not healthy and strong enough to undergo the process.

Just like handicap and sick people don’t go for military training.

Your hair texture changes after highlights, now imagine what it will look like if unhealthy hair undergoes the highlighting process.

You and I know that the result is going to be brutal, and in some cases, hair strands go damaged beyond repair.

So it is good you avoid or cut down the use of heat styling tools and give your time to regain its lost strength and integrity (if not damaged beyond repair).

And when I say give it time, It should not be less than a week. Just make sure you do anything possible to make your hair healthy.

But in a case where the hair is partly damaged, I recommend you go for trimming or a haircut to chop off the split and damaged ends.

You can as well try out mask treatments. Check out our article on how often you should mask treatment and how to make your moisturizing hair mask at home.

2. Understand the Hair

This should be the first thing to take note of, else every other thing you are doing or about to do is going to be like guesswork.

Understanding your hair type, porosity, what it likes and hates guides you toward the right path of beauty.

From the time being, we all expect a well-trained and professional colorist to know everything about hair type, what kind of care, and products; they all need to be healthy.

That’s true.

But these professionals are not all in all. The little they know and the experience they had is what they use to work.

A colorist won’t know which part of your body is itching until you tell him or her.

So it is necessary you know more about your hair, so you share the right information your stylist needs.

And to get this information; you must first build a tight bond with your hair.

Building this bond helps you understand: when your hair isn’t healthy, what it needs, and every other thing worth knowing.

3. Choosing the Damage-Free Color of Highlights

The chemicals in the content used for hair highlighting give the highlighting process a 50% chance to damage the hair strands. Some colors even increase the chances percentage.

But, you can reduce the possibility to less or no, by choosing one of the damage-free types of highlights and color in addition to the products and technique that suits your hair type.

In our humble opinion, I recommend you always opt for a short highlight to reduce hair damage risk.

Also, see the reason why your scalp itch after applying hair dye.

Best Treatment Tips For Lightened Hair

I believe everyone knows that it is crucial to care for lightened hair afterward.

But in case you aren’t aware, the care or treatment given to hair strands after highlighting (either at home or the salon) isn’t just to keep the new color shiny and bright.

It is also to protect the hair from any coming-soon damage. So the first thing to do is:

1. Go For Special Hair Products

The treatment for highlight and color-treated hair is always special; it requires buying a new set of products. **old hair has passed away**

The shampoo, conditioner, mask, and other products needed to wash, moisturize and hydrate a lightened hair depends on some factors.

There are shampoo, mask, and conditioner conditioners specially designed for color-treated hair. And these are the production you should use.

So an expert colorist is in the best position to recommend the best set of products to use on your hair after processing.

Also, you need to use these products appropriately and when required. For instance:

  • Don’t wash hair often and if hair strands were recently highlighted. An expert will advise waiting for at least 24 hours before wash (this waiting period creates space for the new color to penetrate and balance)
  • Make sure you wash hair thoroughly because buildups aren’t friendly with color-treated hair.
  • Lightened wet hair strands are delicate and prone to breakage. Just make sure you handle everything with care.
  • Don’t wash your hair with warm water if you want the color to last.

2. Be Creative with Styling Tools

The hair is now fragile; any little ignorant-application mistake can lead to damage or breakage.

We understand that it may be difficult for some persons to cope without some styling tools, especially the blow dryer, flat iron, and curling iron.

But to be on the safe side, it’s better to remove it entirely or be more creative when using them.

For people who can’t cope without a blow dryer, we recommend you let your hair air-dry or cut down the number of times you use it.

You can as well adjust the blow dryer to the cold setting while maintaining a good distance between hair and the dryer.

What about the curling and flat iron users?

Well, I think you guys should try out some new hairstyles that don’t require these tools or still be creative when using them.

Trust me; the slight change will always be worth it. Also, make sure to read my post on early signs your hair is bleach damaged.

3. Guide Your Routine

Yes, you heard me right. Routines are to guide on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

But in this situation, you need to guide it first before it starts guiding you.

New arithmetic requires new formula: such is lightened hair.

Firstly, you need need to map out a routine that will keep hair strands healthy, hydrated, moisturized, and protected.

This part can be tricky; this is also the stage most people fail to understand and utilize properly.

You are the only person that understands your hair matters (From A-Z), i.e., you are in the position to know how to manage it properly and effectively daily at home or place of work.

But how do you achieve a perfect routine that will work for your hair when you don’t know where to start?

Worry no more!!

Just buy the recommended hair products for lightened hair (shampoo, conditioner, mask, and oil) and replace the older ones. Do this if this is your first time.

Adjust and your previous routine while keeping these tips in mind;

  • Don’t wash lightened hair with hot water.
  • Trim hair once in a while, that is; when needed.
  • Use a Wide-Toothed Brush, when and where it works for you.
  • Add these tips to your routine.

How to Repair Highlights Damaged Hair

Before you conclude that your hair is damaged.

Do you know what damaged hair looks like?

Well, Katerina, a pro colorist explained it in the simplest form, she said,

“Your hair is damaged if after showering, your hair dries almost instantly. That shows just how porous those color chemicals have made it.”

Did you see that? and Are you in that position?

If yes.

Sorry for the damage ( whether little or big) that happened to your hair during or after the processing.

But who should be held responsible? The colorist or the client?

Well, it’s not the best time to take blames. Instead, we should look for possible ways to fix this shit.

To repair color damaged hair it is either you visit an expert for pro treatment, or you apply some effective home remedies.

Here are some of our remedies plus tips for highlight damaged hair you should try at home.

1. Mix Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera Juice

Get a pure coconut oil and aloe vera juice. Take one small cup of the coconut oil and mix with one-two tablespoon of aloe vera ( just make sure it will be enough to cover all your hair)

Apply it to every corner of the damaged hair then leave it on hair for like 30-50 minutes.

You can use a shower cap to cover it if you have one.

After the recommended time, rinse hair with your usual shampoo for colored hair and apply your leave-in conditioner.

Repeat this process for at least 3-4 times a week, until you see a significant result.

In the absence of aloe vera juice, feel free to replace it with egg, avocado, or banana (They all work to load the hair with protein and vitamins).

2. Use Healing Masks and Butter on the Hair

Just like buttering the bread and beard, you can also use it on your damaged hair. Who knows what might work for you?

Just apply butter or mask to your hair, then work through the damaged strands, cover your hair with shower for half an hour or overnight.

After that, rinse it off. Using shampoo is optional.

Mind you am not talking about bread butter but Shea butter. Unrefined Shea butter from Africa will be good for this work.

4. Use Protective Formula Next Time

This should have been the first thing to do or have in mind before highlighting.

But the did is already done.

But that does not stop you from doing any further coloring work. Yes! You heard me right.

Just give your hair enough time to regain some lost integrity and strength.

After that, you can continue from where you stopped.

So on next appointment with your hair colorist, tell him or her to apply protective products before or doing the coloring process.

Other Helpful Treatment Tips

  1. Some healing hair mask do work fine, but they only try their best, which is not enough.
  2. Trim your hair split and damaged ends regularly.
  3. Use leave-in conditioner for daily conditioning and always hydrate hair as much as you can.
  4. While waiting for repair mode to get completed, avoid combing or brushing your hair while it is dry.
  5. Protect the hair from the sun and other harsh environmental factors with hat, scarf, or any other wears.
  6. Keep your hairstyle or cut simple.
  7. Lastly, take one tablespoon of patience and try out some of the tips mentioned here and see if it works for you.

Notwithstanding all the repair measures and routine you practice or see online, always keep the real truth at hand.

And the truth is: you can never get your hair back healthy, strong and natural it as it used to be.

EXCEPT you go in for a hair chop; which is always the last option or alternative for anybody with damaged hair.

Now I would love to hear from you:

Did you find our article on the question; do highlights damage hair helpful.

Or maybe, you have something in mind, maybe a question or something that worked for you and wants to share with us.

Either way, do let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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I am Stanley. A Unisex Hairstylist, Writer, and book lover. After 12 months of the apprenticeship program as a stylist, I started working with my boss for an extra one year. This time frame made me accumulate knowledge and experience in the hair industry, of which I will love to share with friends all over the world through my blog.

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One Comment

  1. I highlighted my hair using a cap. Beleive it was frost & tip l’oreal for light blonde. Followed directions numerous amount of my hair came out when removing cap etc now the next day my scalp feels like needles poking perhaps small bruises and it’s really hurting I have baby fine hair what’s left of it. Anyway any suggestions or tips pls help

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