While we’re blessed with good hair days most of the time, there are definitely some mornings we’d like to see a more radical version of our hair looking back at us in the mirror like caramel highlights on black hair or a fun pixie cut that you have been wanting for weeks. Sometimes it involves a chop here and styling there but for a sure-fire hair makeover, highlights and hair colouring just add more pizzazz.

Gorgeous ways to highlight your hair

Gorgeous ways to highlight your hair: the basics

But have you ever wondered what highlights are? It is definitely not those patchy streaks that were trending in the 2000s that Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne sported. Nowadays, highlights use lighter or darker shades of your natural colour to add dimension and volume like dark caramel highlights on black hair. You can also go punk if you like with blue or pink highlights, but the aim is that it is so seamless you won’t be able to pinpoint where exactly your hair has been dyed.

Gorgeous ways to highlight your hair

Shailesh Moolya, the National Creative Director at Lakme Salon believes in working with colours that are close to your natural hair colour. When it comes to selecting the right hair colour for your highlights, fair skin tones look best when paired with warm shades like champagnes, honey and caramels. For wheatish tones, hazel and auburn tones complement well. And when it comes to dusky skin tones, cooler shades like plums and violets can look great!

1. Brown highlights

1. Brown highlights

[Image credit: @shreyajain26]  

We do not exaggerate when we say this is a safe option for ALL Indian skin tones and for those who are not too sure about experimenting. What is important is to understand your skin undertones and then choose a particular shade of brown. Cooler skin undertones like those with a pink or blue tinge can pick brown highlights with ashy tones. If you have a warmer undertone (an orange or yellow tint), go with brown highlights with golden tones.

2. Burgundy highlights

2. Burgundy highlights 

[Image credit: @badgalriri] 

Purple-red highlights aka burgundy look good on girls with olive and neutral undertones. A personal favourite of R&B icon Rihanna back in the 2010s, this hair colour will always be in vogue. Why? It is the right kind of deeply pigmented shade that creates a signature look. 

3. Red highlights

3. Red highlights 

[Image credit: @adah_ki_adah] 

Red is trickier to work with but what are we here for if not to spill all the secrets? Go for coppery red highlights if you have light complexion. Meanwhile, a blue-based red works well with deeper skin tones. But if you are the kind of girl who burns easily in the sun, or if you are prone to redness, stay away from getting red hair highlights as they will add to the overall ‘redness’ and not in a fun Rudolph-the-red-nose kind of way. 

4. Light brown highlights

4. Light brown highlights 

[Image credit: @malvikasitlaniofficial] 

Let’s be honest, there are way too many light brown shades to differentiate between all of them. Call them honey, caramel or maple, but all you need to do is remember one important rule: your hair highlights cannot be more than three shades lighter than your natural hair colour so even if you want something like caramel highlights on black hair, make sure that they are not too light. Also, keep in mind your undertone while choosing the shade and that’s about it.

5. Black and silver highlights

5. Black and silver highlights

[Image credit: @michellevisage] 

Whether you want to hop on the silver hair trend without going all out or want a way to cover any greys, this option works for both. A good colour for adding lowlights to your hair and covering grey in the meanwhile – just add black highlights to ace that George Clooney salt-and-pepper look. But if you want to try out just a dash of silver, you can do that too just like Michelle Visage over here.

Create the look

Create the look

1. Balayage

All the rage at the moment, balayage is French for ‘to sweep’. True to its name, this hair-highlighting technique involves sweeping a highlight colour along the surface of your hair, freehand. The technician will not saturate entire sections of hair but instead will give you a natural-looking gradient that is easy to grow out.

2. Foil technique

The most common of all methods, over here the highlight colour is applied to entire sections of hair which are then folded in foils. This technique gives better control over the placement and multiple colours can be applied at the same time.

3. Dip-dye

A blast from the past, the dip-dye highlighting technique takes not one but two colours to get the desired look. There is a darker root shade that is closer to your natural colour and a lighter tone for the tips. If done right, your hair will look like it has actually been dipped in dye and fished out!

4. Colour melting

The colour melting technique uses multiple shades to acquire the smooth, blended highlights that are so distinctive to look at. The technique focuses on blending highlights with the base colour of your hair to get rid of any harsh lines or clear distinctions between the different colours.

5. Ecaille

This new hair colouring technique looks stunning on darker Indian skin tones. Creating a soft blend of gold and chocolate tones through the hair, this technique adds a slight gradient of darker colour at the roots which warm up to honey tones at the ends.

Post-colouring care

Post-colouring care

Okay, so now you've got hair highlights. What next? Post-colour care is very important to maintain the colour and hair texture. If you do not take care, your hair will become dry and look dull while the colour just may end up fading much sooner than expected.

1. Wait two to three days before you wash your hair. Light highlights like caramel highlights on black hair can be risky as you may end up washing off the dye if you wash within 48-72 hours of colouring. 

2. And while everyone knows this by now, it's worth repeating - use shampoos and conditioners meant for colour-treated hair. We’d suggest the Tresemme ProProtect Sulphate Free Shampoo and Conditioner. It is free of harsh chemicals that would otherwise dry your hair. Instead, this combo uses Morocco’s liquid gold aka argan oil to protect your coloured hair. While keeping your hair soft it also maintains the colour and shine of your highlights for a long while.

3. Colour gradually washes off with frequent washing, so limit your hair washes to about two to three times a week


4. Air-dry your hair as much as possible. The hair colourant would have dried your hair considerably and using a blow dryer or heat styling equipment will only make things worse. But if you do need to blow dry, use a moisturising serum as well like the Tresemme Pro Pure Moisture Boost Hair Serum. Specially formulated for coloured hair, it adds that extra moisture boost like the name suggests with the help of coconut oil and aloe vera minus their greasiness. Just take a few drops and evenly apply them from mid-lengths to the end of your hair.

5. Get frequent trims – any hair colouring process will dry your hair, leading to split ends so get regular trims to minimise breakage.

FAQs about gorgeous ways to highlight hair

What is the difference between streaks and highlights?

Streaks are bold colours that are designed to stand apart from your natural hue, whereas highlights are meant to seamlessly blend with your own hair. 

Can highlights cover grey hair?

Light highlights are not recommended to cover grey hair as they can turn brassy and yellow. Instead, go for lowlights of dark colours, as they look more natural and can be customised to match your natural colour.

How can you remove highlights from hair? 

You can either let them grow out, which can take several months, or apply another colour on top.

Is it possible to tone down highlights?

Yes, it is possible to tone down your highlights. Your stylist can use a toner treatment, or you can apply a purple shampoo to counterbalance gold or brassy highlights.

Whether you want caramel highlights on black hair or a way to make your greys look stylish, we’ve got you. With these trendy five highlight choices, pick one today to get ready for the festive season.