We've handpicked our favorite home highlight kits to color your precious manebe it blonde, brunette, or a hybrid of the two. If you're in a pinch and cannot get to the salon, consider yourself covered.
While most of us are possessed with an innate sense of loyalty to our hair colorists, lack of time, energy, or motivation to leave the house can make it increasingly tempting to try home highlight kits. Of course, we've likely dabbled with plastering on a semi-permanent dye and crossing our fingers for the best at least once in our lives, but trying our hand at highlighting is a completely different ballpark so it's important to know exactly what you're doing. Not only are there different types of highlights to consider when it comes to enhancing your colorwith highlights, balayage, and ombr the most popular but you also need to make sure you've got a good product and the right kit on hand before nailing the method you're going to use. Otherwise, it could have a serious impact on the health of your hair. Because let's face it, if there's one thing we all want from our locks, it's a healthy reflective shine. And while we can be as mindful as we want about heat tool use, even the best hair dryers and strongest protective serums won't save your tresses from color damage if you mess up the highlighting process. So we've picked out some brilliant home highlight kits for blonde, brunette, and dark hair, as well as explaining exactly what you need in your kit and the range of methods to use during application so that you can enjoy a seamless process from start to finish. And you might not even have to cross any fingers.
1. L'Oreal Excellence Age Perfect 9.31 Light Beige Blonde Hair Dye
RRP: 7.99/$8 | No. of shades available: 8 | Permanent? Yes | Grey coverage? Yes
This nifty little number, designed with greying hair in mind, takes the trickiness out of home highlighting by blending grey and natural hair to create multi-tonal hair color with high and low tones as if the hair?s been highlighted. And it's also super easy to apply, so you won't find yourself in a tangle in the bathroom!
- L'Oreal Excellence Age Perfect 9.31 Light Beige Blonde Hair Dye at Amazon for 7.99
2. L'Oreal Paris Colorista Permanent Gel Hair Dye
RRP: 5.99/$8 | No. of shades available: 10 | Permanent? Yes | Grey coverage? Unknown
If you're stuck on what color you should dye your hair, then we'd opt for L'Oral Paris' latest hair dye innovation Colourista Permanent Gel, as it comes in a variety of bright shades that you can play around with. Personalize your look with an ombr or balayage effect by painting this onto your locks in a blended streaky style. These shades are bright and bold if you want to try something different and daring or enhance your existing shade.
- L'Oreal Paris Colorista Permanent Gel Hair Dye at Amazon for 5.99
3. Josh Wood Colour 9.0 Lightest Blonde Permanent Hair Colour
RRP: 14/$10 | No. of shades available: 11 | Permanent? Yes | Grey coverage? Yes
Ideal for adding a subtle but striking highlight to blonde hair, this light blonde shade will lift roots and darker areas of the hair for a bright and sunkissed finish. It contains a unique complex of shine-boosting ingredients to leave locks looking healthy and will even cover up pesky grey hairs.
- Josh Wood Colour 9.0 Lightest Blonde Permanent Hair Colour at Amazon for 28.37
1. Jerome Russell Bblonde Maximum Highlighting Kit No.1
RRP: 6.49/From $10 | No. of shades available: 1 | Permanent? Yes | Grey coverage? Unknown
Working particularly well on light to dark brown hair, expect an ?unrivaled lift of up to 8-9 shades? from this highlighting kit. It also promises professional results and ?enhanced hydration and shine? thanks to the addition of avocado oil, and we love the sweet honey and caramel tones that it delivers.
- Jerome Russell Bblonde Maximum Highlighting Kit No.1 at Amazon for 4
2. L'Oreal Paris Preference Intense Ombr
RRP: 7.99/From $8 | No. of shades available: 2 | Permanent? Yes | Grey coverage? Yes
A clever kit to make that tricky ombre technique easier to pull off at home. This contains a special applicator brush to assist with blending the lightened ends and root sections, plus a super conditioning mask to keep your hair shiny and soft after dyeing. Christophe Robin, an expert colorist for L'Oral Paris, advises, 'Intense Ombr is ideal to affirm your look, and your roots stay untouched. For best results, start your Intense Ombr between ear and chin level.'
3. L'Oreal Paris Preference Glam Bronde 03 Brown Permanent Hair Dye
RRP: 18.99/From $9 | No. of shades available: 4 | Permanent? No| Grey coverage? Yes
To get the on-trend bronde look, which gives subtle but luminous blonde highlights and a salon shine to brown hair, opt for a L?Oreal home balayage kit ? it comes with a clever bush to separate the hair for natural-looking highlights that last for up to eight weeks. The only downside is that it's often sold out, so you may have a challenge getting hold of it - but once you do, it's worth the wait!
- L'Oreal Paris Preference Glam Bronde 03 Brown Permanent Hair Dye at LOOKFANTASTIC UK for 7.99
4. Laid Back Balayage with Total Bleach London
RRP: 17/$18| No. of shades available: 3 | Permanent? Yes | Grey coverage? Yes
Hip hair color specialists Bleach London launched this kit to help their loyal fans create pro-style balayage without a salon visit. The kit contains bleach to lift the hair, a tint brush to apply the bleach, the Champagne Super Toner Kit to add creamy tones, and a balayage Board to help with neat highlighting. Ideal for those with naturally dark brown hair for which only bleach will do the job! Just be sure to use heat protection for your hair if using this alongside heat tools, as even the best hair straighteners can leave your locks on the parched side when you combine them with bleach.
- Total Bleach Kit at Bleach London for 8
- Champagne Super Toner Kit at Bleach London for 9
Home highlight kits for dark hair
While lighter hair tones can get away with highlighting their locks using home hair dye kits or color-brightening products, those with very dark or black hair will know that nothing does the job except bleach. Because of that, we would always recommend that darker hair types get the job done by a professional rather than trying it themselves at home. However, if you're trying to be a bit kinder on the purse strings and don't fancy forking out circa-100 on a color refresh every couple of months, it's a good idea to opt for balayage at your salon instead of full-head highlights and then stock up on some color maintenance products. This way, you can keep your color looking fresh and let it grow with your locks, rather than being left with a harsh line from where your roots are coming back in. And luckily, there are some fabulous products on the market to stop your balayage from going stale and to keep your hair color looking bright and healthy from the comfort of your home.
1. John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Spray
RRP: 6.99/$11.99| No. of shades available: 1 | Permanent? No | Grey coverage? No
This gentle hair lightening spray is ideal for giving your highlights a healthy refresh when your color is starting to fade a little bit. Or, if you're not ready to take the plunge with coloring your own hair just yet, this can also prolong existing highlights that you may have had done at the salon. Alternatively, it can be sprayed onto blonde hair to create subtle and easy highlights. Simply isolate the strands you want to color for a gentle spray once a week. The results are gradual, so you won't get any nasty surprises with the color.
- John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Spray at Amazon for 5.40
2. Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask - Baby Blonde
RRP: 39/$37| No. of shades available: 5 | Permanent? No | Grey coverage? No
We've all had the dreaded brassy tones hit after a few weeks or months of getting our hair color done, so this clever mask works instantly to tone down brassy tones in highlighted hair. If your issue is that your lightened streaks have taken on a new, less flattering tinge, this could well be the solution to your hair problems and help your hard work last just that little bit longer.
- Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask - Baby Blonde at Amazon for 36.99
3. Josh Wood Shade Shot Gloss
RRP: 19/From $19| No. of shades available: 9 | Permanent? No | Grey coverage? No
If you've already got bleached hair and are looking to play with your color a little between salon visits, then Josh Wood's Shade Shots will let you try out a few different looks without inflicting any damage on your hair or shelling out a fortune on treatments. Chestnut and Smokey Brunette options are available if you like to stick to a darker look, but if you want to brighten things up a bit, the Champagne or Icy Blonde Gloss will lift your bleached sections for a professional-looking finish. Or you could even try out more fun options like Caramel, Copper, Cherry, Berry, or Rose!
- Josh Wood Shade Shot Gloss at Amazon for 24.99
What should a home highlight kit contain?
There are a few basics that it's best to have in-home highlight kits. However these can vary depending on what color technique you're going for - so it's best to know beforehand which look you want to try and achieve and what method you'll be using. But generally, great home highlight kits will contain:
- Lightening formula (or even a darker dye if you're going for a reverse ombr)
- Tint brush with foil, tint brush with balayage board, comb applicator or cap and hook
- Gloves (and sometimes a mixing bowl, depending on your chosen application method)
- Conditioning after-treatment
- Instructions (read these thoroughly and always carry out a skin test!)
There are few different methods you could try out to apply your highlights, so we've explained each one and provided a video to get you going with your color application. How you decide on which method to use is completely up to you - however, we have instructed which color techniques work well with each different method, so it could all be dependent on what you want your final look to be.