Do Highlights Damage Hair?

Do Highlights Damage Hair

Highlights can damage hair if not done or maintained properly. Regular highlights can dry out hair and make it brittle, which can lead to breakage and split ends.

Highlights have been around for a while, adding a certain je ne sais quoi to hairstyles and providing an easy way to change up your look. But, do highlights damage hair? The answer is yes, they can. Highlights involve stripping natural pigments from your hair, which can damage the hair shaft and lead to frizz, dryness, and breakage.

The extent of the damage depends on various factors, such as the quality of the highlighting products used, the condition of your hair, and how frequently you get them done. We’ll explore the different types of highlights, their effects on hair, and tips to prevent and repair damage caused by highlights.

What Are Highlights And How Are They Achieved

Definition Of Hair Highlights

Hair highlights are sections of hair that are lighter than the rest of the hair. This style has been around for decades and is one of the most popular hair trends. Professional hairdressers use either a cap or foils to isolate sections of hair that they want to lighten.

This process naturally creates various shades of hair color, allowing for a more natural, subtle look or a more dramatic one.

Methods Of Achieving Hair Highlights

There are several methods of achieving hair highlights, including:

  • Cap highlighting: With this method, the hairdresser places a cap over the head, pulling strands of hair through tiny holes with a hook. They then apply the dye to the hair strands.
  • Foil highlighting: This method involves sectioning off portions of hair and applying the dye to the selected sections. The dye is then covered with foil to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the hair.
  • Balayage: This is a highlighting technique where the hairdresser hand-paints the dye onto strands, allowing for a more natural and less uniform look.

When choosing a hair highlighting method, it’s essential to consider the type of color and style you want. A professional hairdresser can help you choose the best technique to achieve the desired effect.

Highlights can damage hair if they are over-processed, and the chemicals used in the process can cause hair breakage. When done correctly, highlights can make your hair look stunning, adding a whole new level of dimension to your hairdo.

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The Science Behind Hair Damage

The Science Behind Hair Damage

Many people dream of blonde highlights, but some are worried about the potential damage they cause to their hair. It’s an understandable concern, especially if you don’t know how highlights work or why they could be harmful. We’re going to take an in-depth look at the science behind hair damage, particularly focusing on highlights.

How Chemical Treatments Work

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of the effects of highlights on hair health, let’s first understand how chemical treatments work. When you apply hair dye, for instance, you’re essentially coating each hair strand in color molecules. The dye then penetrates the hair shaft and changes the hair’s natural color.

Chemical treatments like hair dye and bleach rely on a chemical reaction to achieve the desired effect.

The Effects Of Peroxide On Hair

Peroxide is a common ingredient in hair dyes and highlight kits. It’s what lightens your hair by breaking down the hair’s melanin, which gives your hair its color. Peroxide can be harmful to your hair, especially if it’s used incorrectly.

Some of the negative effects of peroxide on hair include:

  • Dryness and brittleness
  • Breakage
  • Split ends
  • Thinning

The concentration of peroxide in the product can also determine its effect on your hair, so it’s important to read the instructions carefully and follow them precisely.

The Ph Scale And Its Relation

The ph scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The scale ranges from zero to 14, with seven being the middle ground or neutral. Human hair typically has a ph of 4. 5 to 5. 5, which makes it slightly acidic.

When the hair’s ph level is too high or too low, it can lead to hair damage.

Chemical treatments like hair dyes and highlights can alter the hair’s ph level, making it more alkaline. An alkaline environment can cause the following damage to your hair:

  • Cuticle damage
  • Frizziness
  • Tangling
  • Dullness

It’s important to use ph-balancing hair products after chemical treatment to restore the hair’s natural ph level.

Highlights can be damaging to hair, depending on how they’re applied and the condition of the hair before treatment. Use at-home highlight kits with caution, and be sure to visit a professional stylist for more complicated treatments. With proper hair care and maintenance, you can enjoy your beautiful highlights without compromising the health of your hair.

The Risks Involved With Highlighting Hair

Before you get highlights, know that there are some risks involved with this hair treatment. Below are some of the risks of highlights:

  • Hair damage: Highlighting often involves hair bleaching that can weaken hair, causing breakage, loss of shine, split ends, and frizz.
  • Scalp irritation: The chemicals used in highlighting can irritate the scalp, which can lead to redness, itching, and sensitivity.
  • Allergic reactions: Sometimes, people can develop allergies to hair dye or highlight, leading to swelling, blisters, and breathing problems.
  • Uneven results: Getting highlights from an inexperienced hairdresser can lead to uneven results that can be difficult to fix.

Common Side Effects Of Highlights

Highlighting can have some temporary side effects that might cause some discomfort. Here are some of the most common side effects:

  • Hair dryness: Highlighting can make hair drier than usual, leading to frizz and brittle strands.
  • Hair breakage: Highlighting causes the hair to become weaker, which increases the risk of breakage and split ends.
  • Scalp sensitivity: Highlighting the hair can cause some sensitivity, which can lead to an itchy or painful scalp.
  • Color fading: Highlighted hair can lose its color over time, which can make the highlights appear uneven.

The Long-Term Effects Of Highlights

Over time, highlighting can have some long-term impacts on hair health that everyone should know. Here are some of the long-term effects of highlighting:

  • Thinning hair: Over-highlighting can weaken hair and cause hair thinning, making the hair appear less voluminous.
  • Permanent damage: Bleaching the hair can damage the hair permanently, making future highlighting difficult or impossible.
  • Slow hair growth: Highlighting can cause hair growth to slow down, leading to slower hair regrowth after cutting.
  • Hair loss: Severe damage caused by over-highlighting can lead to hair loss or breakage.

While highlights are an excellent way to experiment with hair and enhance your appearance, there are risks involved that everyone should know. It is best to consult an experienced hairstylist to ensure that the right products are used to minimize the risks.

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Preparing For A Highlight Treatment

If you’re thinking about getting your hair highlighted, it’s important to know how to prepare. Highlighting hair can add dimension and depth to your locks, but improper preparation can lead to damage. Here are some essential tips for preparing for your highlight treatment.

At-Home Haircare Routine

Before you head to the salon for your highlight treatment, there are a few things you need to do at home to ensure your hair is healthy and strong. Here are some tips for taking care of your hair at home:

  • Use a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week to nourish and strengthen your hair.
  • Avoid using any heat-styling tools in the days leading up to your appointment. Excessive heat can damage your hair and make it more vulnerable to damage from the highlight treatment.
  • Don’t wash your hair on the day of your appointment. Clean hair is harder to work with during a highlight treatment since the natural oils help to protect your hair from damage.
  • Trim any split ends a week or two before your appointment. This will help to prevent further damage to your hair.

Tips For Choosing A Reputable Salon

Choosing the right salon for your highlight treatment is crucial. You want to make sure that the salon you choose has experienced stylists who know how to perform the treatment safely and effectively. Here are some tips for choosing a reputable salon:

  • Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients. This can give you an idea of the salon’s reputation and the quality of their work.
  • Check if the stylists are licensed and experienced in performing highlight treatments.
  • Ask to see a portfolio of the salon’s previous work. This can give you an idea of their skill level and the type of results you can expect.
  • Make sure that the salon uses high-quality products that are gentle on your hair.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you’re fully prepared for your highlight treatment. With proper preparation, you can achieve beautiful highlights without damaging your hair.

Minimizing Damage During The Highlight Process

Minimizing Damage During The Highlight Process

Highlighting hair is a popular way to add dimension and brightness to your locks. With every chemical process, there is a risk of damage. While highlights can cause some damage to hair, there are several steps you can take to minimize the damage.

We’ll explore some of the ways you can minimize damage during the highlight process.

Choosing Suitable Highlighting Methods

One of the best ways to minimize damage during the highlight process is to choose suitable highlighting methods. Foil highlighting is the most popular and widely used method, but there are other options to consider, such as balayage, which can be a gentler alternative.

Balayage is a French word that means “to sweep,” and it involves painting the hair for a more natural look instead of using foils or caps. This method creates a softer, more subtle effect that grows out more naturally, and it is suitable for all hair types.

Monitoring Peroxide Levels

Another crucial aspect of minimizing damage during the highlight process is monitoring the peroxide levels in the hair color. Peroxide is a necessary ingredient in hair color because it facilitates the chemical reaction that lightens the hair, but it can also damage the hair if the level is too high.

Therefore, it is essential to consult with your colorist to determine the appropriate peroxide level for your hair type and the desired level of lightness.

Importance Of A Thorough Consultation With A Colorist

Your colorist plays a critical role in minimizing damage during the highlight process. A thorough consultation before the highlighting appointment can ensure that your colorist understands your hair type, texture, and color history. This information will help your colorist determine the right highlighting method, color formula, and appropriate peroxide level to minimize damage.

During the consultation, your colorist will also give you advice on how to care for your hair before and after the highlighting process, ensuring that you maintain healthy hair.

While highlights can cause some damage to hair, the damage can be minimized by choosing suitable highlighting methods, monitoring peroxide levels, and having a thorough consultation with a colorist. By following the tips discussed you can enjoy beautiful, healthy, and highlighted hair.

Related: How Long Does Hair Dye Last?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Highlights Damage Your Hair Forever?

Highlights can cause damage to your hair, but it’s not always permanent. Proper hair care can help prevent ongoing damage.

Can Highlights Cause Hair Breakage?

Yes, highlights can cause hair breakage. Bleaching your hair can weaken its structure, leading to breakage.

Is Color-Treating Hair Better Than Highlights?

Color-treating hair is less damaging than highlights as it involves depositing color molecules onto the hair strand.

Can You Avoid Hair Damage From Highlights?

Yes, you can minimize hair damage from highlights by using a deep-conditioning treatment and avoiding excessive heat styling.

Can Highlights Cause Hair Loss?

Highlights alone may not cause hair loss, but they can weaken your hair, leading to breakage and thinning over time.


After going through the above details, we can say that highlights may cause some minor damage to your hair, but only if you don’t take proper care. To minimize the damage, it’s essential to pick the right salon and hairstylist who use high-quality products and have experience in highlighting hair.

Regular deep conditioning treatments can also help you recover from any damage caused by highlights and will keep your hair healthy and shiny. Highlights can be a great way to add some dimension and depth to your hair, but it’s vital to understand the process and potential risks involved.

Informed decisions are key to keeping your hair healthy and looking its best. With proper care, highlights can be a fantastic and safe way to switch up your look!