How to Properly Highlight Hair At Home Without Creating Zebra Stripes

A great way to refresh one’s hairstyle is by adding stunning highlights. However, trying to highlight hair alone at home instead of going to a salon seems like a daunting process for many people. The process is actually far less scary than one might think and there are ways to get great highlights at home without accidentally ending up with zebra stripes.

Young woman with well-made lighter hair highlights
How to Properly Highlight Hair At Home Without Creating Zebra Stripes

The Right Highlight Kit

It all starts with the right tools. From your preferred beauty supply store, buy a high-quality hair highlight kit. Regardless of the brand, all kits will include a lightener. Professional hair colorists recommend choosing a kit that is labeled for your starting point color rather than the results you’re looking for. As a rule of thumb, it’s good to go for highlights up to two shades lighter than the natural color to avoid damaging the hair.

A highlight kit
How to Properly Highlight Hair At Home Without Creating Zebra Stripes

It’s also advised to have tin foil handy to separate the strands that are being dyed from the rest of the hair. Always wear gloves when working with dyes and lighteners. It’s best to use a hair-dying brush but, in a pinch, a toothbrush will do just as well for highlighting.

Do a Strand Test

Before committing to using a highlighting product on your entire hair, test it out on one strand. Pay attention to how long it takes that one strand to achieve the lightness you want by checking on it in about ten minutes. If the desired color isn’t reached, re-apply and check on it in 5-minute intervals.

Woman holding a strand of her hair
How to Properly Highlight Hair At Home Without Creating Zebra Stripes

Pro Tips for Proper Streaks

Start by parting your hair normally and see which strands are face-framing. Apply the lightener onto one-inch sections of the hair, starting several inches away from the scalp. As you move towards the back of your head, thin out the sections gradually to about half an inch. For under layers, do only quarter-inch sized locks. Don’t worry about achieving perfect symmetry – it will result in a more natural look! When you’re done highlighting, rinse, shampoo, and condition your hair well!