Blonde highlights in brown hair: what you should know before making them

Mechas rubias en pelo castaño

Hello darlings, you know what I like to my good blonde hair and today we are going to talk about it! One of the most demanded looks in hairdressers, as far as color is concerned, are blonde highlights in brown hair. Among other things it is a way to change the look that does not require much maintenance and usually look good to everyone. However, when dealing with discoloration and color changes, especially if we have a dark brown base, there are certain things to keep in mind. In today’s post I tell you what you should know before making blonde highlights in brown hair.

If you find the type of blonde highlights that best suit you, you will be able to damage your hair less and keep it long and beautiful.

In Spain brown hair is the most common, either lighter and darker, and blonde highlights are a super versatile way to play with the color of your hair. In addition, they are also practical to hide the first gray hairs without having to resort to dyes.

Table of Contents

Types of blonde highlights 2021

Before starting, we must remember that to keep the highlights with a beautiful color over time it is important to take care of them with specific products. For example, I’m using Dalire’s purple sulfate-free shampoo right now. Violet shampoo helps us keep the wick nuanced. But the important thing is that you use quality shampoos and products.

First of all, you are clear that you want to give yourself highlights, but do you know exactly what type?

These are the types of highlights that exist in 2021 and all the options you have at your disposal:

Platinum blonde highlights

Platinum blonde highlights
Platinum blonde highlights

These are my favourites and the ones I wear. I could spend hours on my experience with platinum blonde highlights and how I managed to get to the color I have come to after years and years trying different types of highlights and bleaches.

Platinum blonde highlights are made over almost all of the hair. They are more recommended if you have a medium or clear base. If you have a dark chestnut base you will have to tone the root with dye so that it does not look so different. Believe me, an all-black base with a white wick doesn’t look good, regardless of fashions.

Platinum blonde highlights require a lot of maintenance (but who wants something, something costs him). You will have to touch up the root every 6 or 8 weeks if you have a very dark base. If not, doing them every 3 months (12 weeks) you can endure.

Another option would be to intersperse wick session and root retouching with only root retouching every 6 weeks. In this way, you would only be applying bleaching once every 12 weeks and damage your hair less.

How to make platinum blonde highlights?

This type of highlights is applied in a classic way, that is, the hair is divided into sections and little sticks or rays are removed in each section. The discoloration is applied and they are covered with aluminum foil.

To achieve maximum rinsing, you will need to apply 40-volume water, which is the most powerful.

Maybe one day I will prepare a post explaining how to make platinum blonde highlights at home.

The important thing if you want to make this type of highlights with a chestnut base is that the hair will be more damaged than with other types of techniques, because you are working on the entire length of the hair and with a very high peroxide to be able to clarify enough.

Californian highlights

Californian highlights in brown hair
Californian highlights in brown hair

Californian highlights simulate the gradient of the sun on the hair and have quite a difference in color between the base and the ends of the hair. This type of highlights, which are so called because they were born in the state of California, among surfers in the area, usually reach a white tone at the tips.

The overall finish of these highlights is more golden than ash. Great if you have brown hair because they can be applied on any base.

This type of highlights does not have a uniform finish but it seems rather you have given yourself highlights and you have been letting them grow. If you are looking for a more equal color better make yourself a balayage.

The good thing about Californian highlights is that they do not require much maintenance. In fact, none since what is sought is an effect of natural roots.

Californian highlights for half hair or long hair look great, but if you wear it, I would not recommend it because there is no place to make the color transition.

Balayage highlights in brown hair

Balayage highlights in brown hair
Balayage highlights in brown hair

Balayage highlights have been one of the main color trends in recent years.

The balayage type highlights serve to achieve a gradient of color from dark to light that bring luminosity and movement to the hair. The good thing about this type of highlights is that you can have a brown or even black base, and make the transition to the blonde you want.

As for the length of the hair, we must bear in mind that in short hair it does not give much room to make the balayage, that is, the transition of color, and that is why it works better on medium or long hair.

Unlike Californian highlights, balayage gives a more uniform effect to the hair.

You may also have heard of the ombré, sombré, colormelt and écaille highlights. All of them are variations of balayage that are usually made on brown and dark bases.


Babylights brown hair
highlights babylights

Babylights highlights are the most subtle. It is important to note that they work well if you have natural blonde or light brown hair. Otherwise, if you have dark brown hair you will not get much color. And even less if you have a lot of hair.

The effect of these highlights is to work on very fine highlights and lighten a tone and a half the natural color. In many cases they go unnoticed so they are not recommended unless you are looking for a very discreet look or are very afraid of change.

Babylights are applied over the entire length of the hair. They do not require too much maintenance because the transition between the natural color (the root of your hair) and the wick is very faint.

Since in this case developer of lower volumes is used, the damage caused to the hair is less than in other types of highlights where we have to lighten many more shades. This is important to know depending on the state of your hair. If you have it fragile or thin, this may be your style of highlights. If you also have light brown or medium hair naturally, these would be your most recommended highlights.

Golden highlights

golden highlights
Golden highlights

Golden highlights are a type of wick that actually isn’t. That is, it does not work on specific strands but on layers of hair. The goal is to bring out the natural luminosity of the hair and lighten it in a very subtle way.

The difference between golden highlights and baby lights is that in the reflections you work on a hair curtain and especially on the top or central lane of the head. Of course, it is also true that each salon and each specialist works differently, but in general that is the idea.

I wouldn’t recommend these highlights if you have dark brown hair because they don’t lighten too much. They may be a good idea if, as in the case of babylights, you have medium or light hair and also fine or fragile.

Honey-colored burners or highlights

The honey-colored highlights (or bronde, as they are called lately) are more classic because they have a golden hue, not as gray or ash as they are worn now.

These types of highlights are darker than golden highlights. They are between coppery and light brown, and are made over the entire length of the hair.

They are performed in various shades, all of them warm. Perfect for natural brown hair, since, as it does not really reach blonde, there is a very natural effect. Good option if your hair is rather dark.

Honey-colored burners or highlights
Honey-colored burners or highlights

What you should know before giving yourself blonde highlights in brown hair

Highlights in curly hair

If you have curly hair naturally or you usually make waves with the iron or tongs, keep in mind that your hair will already have relief naturally. What do I mean by this? Well, if you give yourself some Californian highlights or classic highlights with a lot of contrast, curly hair will mark the wick more.

For highlights in curly hair I personally like to go for more uniform looks, such as balayage or if you have light brown hair, highlights or babylights.

Highlights in dark hair

If you have dark hair, keep in mind that you will have or will have to use more aggressive products on your hair to lighten it.

You can still consider some Californian highlights that do not require much maintenance. This way you will be able to look blonde and lighten many tones, but without having to repeat the process very often.

How to avoid yellow hue

This is the million-dollar question! Most people who wear highlights want ash to look, not chicken yellow, but unfortunately brown hair tends to chicken yellow like fish to water.

I made a fairly complete post explaining how to avoid the yellow tone of the hair (in fact if you Google my post is the first one that will come out), so I’m not going to go into that now, because it would be very long.

But, basically you would have to do different things depending on whether you need to just remove a little bit of the too golden or if you really have orange or yellow hair.

Balayage in moray eels

Doing the balayage technique on brunettes seems great as long as you do not seek to rinse excessively, because you will have to damage the hair with bleaching, and being working on the entire length of the hair, all the hair fiber will suffer.

However, if you are looking to go from brunette to blonde with the balayage, go ahead, just try to take care of it a lot later.

How to tone up highlights

In the hairdresser should always nuance the highlights. If not, they haven’t really finished the job. But anything can happen, and you may have to nuance the highlights at home for some reason.

In this case, there are dyes (quiet, it’s just dye, not bleaching) to lower the yellow tone and make the hair look more even.

Again, you have a specific post that explains how to nuance mechas step by step if you want to know more.

Check the price of your balayage highlights first

I refer to balayage because they are the most expensive type of highlights, but I would recommend asking for prices before making any kind of highlights. Keep in mind that these hairdressing jobs are the most expensive and choosing between one salon or another can save you a lot of money.

In Spain balayage highlights are priced from € 100 on average.

Try, yes, to find a trusted site. Giving highlights is not like giving a dye and the specialist has to know well what you are looking for and how to get it.

Blonde highlights in dark brown hair

If you are specifically looking for blonde highlights and you have dark brown hair, you have no choice but to bleach out. What I said before about the highlights in dark hair I reiterate and with more reason. You will have to bleach, it is an aggressive process and from that moment you will have to pamper your hair a lot.

Of course, do not be afraid, everything can be achieved! I have done it and I have been bleaching my hair with a brown base for years.

Highlights with hat for short hair

The highlights with a hat used to be the most popular method to give highlights, and also the easiest, because you only have to take the needle out through the holes in the hat. However, I only recommend this technique if you have short hair. As soon as you have it a little long the hair gets tangled and it is impossible to use with a hat.

This would be all you need to know if you are considering giving blonde highlights in brown hair.

Finally, do not miss this video in which I explain the products I use to take care of my hair with highlights. Shampoos and treatments that really work after years of trying everything:

Finally, do not forget to follow this blog on Facebook to find out about new posts and read the best hair tips (especially for blonde hair that I know we all like).


Deliria Rose