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Lowlights vs Highlights: Which is best for you?

Wonder what the difference between highlights and lowlights are? Read this article and use our virtual try on to find the best look for yourself.

Lowlights vs highlights: Which is best for you?

If you want to change up your hair a little, but without going for something entirely different, lowlights or highlights – or even both – could be just right for you.

Both offer a more subtle effect rather than a drastic change, and while they’re similar, there are differences between the two. In simple terms, lowlights deepen the shade of your hair while highlights lighten it, but that’s just the start of the story.

If you’re wondering which is best for you, you might want to speak with your stylist, but in the meantime, you can find out the difference between highlights and lowlights, right here.

Lowlights explained

Do you want it to look as if your hair has more volume? That’s where lowlights, a couple of shades deeper than your hair colour, come in. They add depth, shadow and richness to your hair, and liven it up if it’s looking a little flat.

If you want a change of colour, but something that still looks natural, lowlights are ideal, while they can work well if you’ve got slightly older highlights too. Should your highlights be looking a little dull, lowlights can liven them up. Indeed, some stylists use both together to create a natural look.

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Highlights explained

In contrast, highlights are usually two or three shades lighter than your hair colour and can add brightness to your hair, in turn brightening your face around the hairline in particular.

Quite a few different processes, from balayage to foils to ombre, fall under the bracket of highlights, and with highlights, you can expect a more solid look. However, they can be applied either in large panels if you prefer them to be more chunky, or by each strand for a more subtle, summery look – it’s up to you.

For a more natural, textured look, highlights and lowlights can be used together too. For example, you might decide to get highlights on the top, but accompany them with lowlights on the bottom. However, if you have particularly light or dark hair, you might struggle with finding the right shade for highlights or lowlights respectively, in which case just one or the other may be advisable.

How to apply

Applying lowlights is broadly similar to applying highlights. Beforehand, make sure your hair is dry before coming it to get rid of tangles, and then divide it into four sections.

However, you should keep lowlights a little more thin – use less than you would for highlights. Don’t stack them on top of each other either or put them on the top of your head as you would highlights. Instead, put more through the bottom sections.

These are the only real differences to bear in mind. Altogether, applying highlights and applying lowlights are both very similar processes, starting at the top and painting the hair down to the ends – without using too much and overdoing it of course!

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What shade is best for me

Perhaps the main difference between highlights and lowlights is the shade you end up going for. Lowlights should be at most a couple of shades darker than your hair colour, so for light brown hair, you might decide to apply a dark brown shade, like the Dark Golden Brown, or a medium shade like our Frosted Chestnut dye.If you’re blonde, something like a Light Brown could be worth a try, but for light blonde hair, you’ll probably want to go even lighter.

In contrast, if you’re after highlights, the Dark Blonde dye could be well-suited to medium brown hair, while if you’re blonde but want lighter highlights you could try our Natural Light Honey colour. For red hair, why not try something strawberry blonde?

Of course, if you’re not quite sure which colour to choose, you can always check out our virtual try-on page to see what our shades look like on you – and you can even ask your friends and family for their thoughts!

When looking at lowlights vs highlights, you might have either one or the other in mind, or be open to different suggestions. Either way, you can check out our range of hair colours across both our brands, right here. Which shade will you choose?

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