The Differences between Hair Highlights and Lowlights

Both highlights and lowlights basically apply an artificial color to some parts of the hair. The hair dye is applied only to some select strands only, but it can indeed drastically change the overall appearance. You can use them separately or together depending on your preferences.

The biggest differences between the two hair dye processes are listed as follows.

1. Lighten and Darken

The major difference between highlights and lowlights is the type of color. Highlighting means you should apply an artificial color that is lighter than the natural hair color; therefore, the expected result of highlighting is that some parts of the hair are lighter than the rest of it. For example, if you hair is blonde, you can use buttery or caramel highlight.

Your hair will basically have two different colors which will create a noticeable shade and depth. Other popular types of blonde hair highlights are platinum, honey, and gold. Some people consider highlights are only for blonde, but dark hair can actually use the same type of hair dye as well. If you have black hair, dark brown tone will perfectly complement the color.

lowlights vs highlights.

Low-lighting is simply the opposite of highlighting. Instead of using lighter hair dye, lowlights require darker color. Lowlights are less popular compared with highlights, but is can add create equally beautiful shades to the hair. It is recommended that the hair dye should be 2 shades darker than the natural color of the hair for best result.

If you have a dark-colored hair, you can still add lowlights effects by applying dark-brown or black shade hair dye. In short, highlights use bright-colored hair dye, while lowlights apply the dark-colored one.

2. Placement

In most cases, highlights are applied around the face and along the top of the head. Such placement creates a better look as if the highlighted hair is the result of a natural sunburn process. On the other hand, lowlights are generally applied to some lower strands or layers of the hair.

3. Thickness

Highlights and lowlights also differ in terms of thickness. It is not recommended to apply highlights to thick strands of hair; it will commonly result unnatural look. Good natural highlights do not create too much amount of color contrast, yet noticeable. With proper methods, the artificial color may blend nicely with the natural one.

With lowlights, it is fine to apply the artificial color to either thin or thick strands of the hair. It is as well common to low-light the entire length of the hair.

4. Brunette and Blonde

People generally consider highlights are common for blonde, while lowlights are for brunette. The most common colors used for highlights are red, gold, honey, and amber.

Lowlights usually apply plum and copper shades. In some cases, it can be true; however, it actually depends on individual’s preferences. You can even use a combination of lowlights and highlights regardless of your natural hair color.


The biggest difference between highlights and lowlights is only the type of color. Lowlights use dark color, while highlights apply bright color. The techniques and treatment methods are basically the same for both hair dyes. Either hair coloring can be applied individually at home, but it is recommended that you consult professional hairstylist for better and safer results.