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The Difference Between Lowlights and Highlights

So, if you want to try something new with your hair and are considering dying it but don’t know what to do, the stylists at Therapy Hair Studio are here to help. If you want to add some flair to your hair, you may want to consider either lowlights or highlights.

The main difference between the two options is that highlights are created by dying sections of your hair to a lighter shade than your natural hair color. In contrast, lowlights are created by dying sections of your hair darker than your natural hair color. However, there are also differences between the two more than just the color of the product used, including:

  • The process
  • The results
  • Maintenance
  • The price
  • The long-term effect on hair
  • Care routine

Both highlights and lowlights can be achieved through techniques such as foiling or Balayage. Foils are used to isolate the parts of your hair that you want to be colored and can be done in various shapes and foil and patterns. Balayage is a newer technique where the stylist hand-paints the color onto your hair in smaller sections, more randomly, which may result in a more natural look. Although, a professional will usually be able to use either technique to make you look fantastic.

the difference between highlights and lowlights


Highlights are a great option when you want some of your hair to be lighter than your natural color. For example, if your base color is brown, you can add lighter shades of brown or even get shades of blonde. In contrast, if your natural hair color is blonde, you will need to get lighter shades of blonde.

Process: Creating highlights requires lightening your hair through treatments such as bleaching the hair.

Results: Highlights give people a fresh and youthful look through bright streaks of color.

Maintenance: Highlights generally require more maintenance because the bleach can fade quickly if the bleached hair is not properly maintained.

Cost: Highlights are relatively expensive because they require the hair to be lightened, which can sometimes require several treatments to avoid damaging your hair. The number of treatments may depend on the color of your hair and how willing it is to hold the bleached color.

Long-term effect: Highlights can cause long-term damage to your hair when not done properly because it requires lightening your hair with someone harsh chemicals. An experienced stylist at Therapy Hair Studio will not do anything they know will damage your hair.

Care routine: Your stylist will go over instructions on how to care for your highlighted hair, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Use color-protecting shampoo and conditioner to keep the color as long as possible.
  • Avoid over-processing the hair with too many chemicals, or your hair will end up damaged.
  • Use color-protecting products to help maintain the color.


Lowlights are a great option if you want to tone down your hair or disguise some grays without coloring all of your hair. Generally, lowlights will be a shade or two darker than your natural hair color so that it contrasts against the rest of your hair.

Process: Lowlights are created with darker dyes like semi-permanent or permanent hair colors that are not as harsh on your hair as bleach and chemical treatments required for highlighting.

Result: Lowlights create shadows and add depth and dimensions that can make your hair look thicker. The best results require some contrast but not too much difference between the lightest color of your hair and the darkest color, which the stylists at Therapy Hair Studio understand.

Maintenance: Lowlights require less maintenance than highlights because they are obtained through semi-permanent and permanent hair color dyes. This means they may last longer with less effort.

Cost: Lowlights are generally less expensive because they only need semi-permanent or permanent dyes, not the chemical treatments that highlights require.

Long-term effect: Dying your hair may cause damage, but lowlights cause less damage to your hair than highlights because of the process used to obtain the desired color.

Care routine: While lowlights require less care than highlights, some maintenance is still required to keep your lowlights looking fresh. Things to keep in mind when caring for your lowlights include:

  • Avoid washing your hair too often because that can strip away the color.
  • Use a deep conditioning mask regularly (e.g., once a week) to keep your lowlights healthy.
  • Use shampoos and conditioners that are designed for color-treated hair.

Deciding whether highlights or lowlights are right for you can be difficult. Talking to a professional stylist can simplify the decision-making process. Call us at (713) 355-4247 or contact us online today to schedule an appointment.

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