Highlights vs Color: Difference and Comparison

Highlighting and colouring are used by a hair specialist or commonly heard at saloons. The whole purpose of it is to make a difference outer look to someone who comes asking for it.

And hair details are not restricted to males or females as both equally come in for such hair pampering occasionally.

Key Takeaways

  1. Highlights involve lightening specific sections of hair for a multi-dimensional look, whereas coloring involves changing the overall hue of the hair.
  2. Highlights require less maintenance than coloring, as they blend seamlessly with natural hair growth.
  3. Coloring offers more versatility, allowing for a complete change in hair color or simply covering gray hairs.

Highlights vs Color

Highlights are the process of adding lighter strands of colour to the hair, creating dimension and contrast. They can be done with foils or balayage, which involves painting the colour freehand. Colour is changing the overall shade of hair, used to cover grey hairs or completely change the look.

Highlights vs Color 1

Highlights are a recent hair pampering technique brought about by hair stylists worldwide to bring about a revolutionary change in how people tend to treat their hair.

Highlights are created so that their significance can only be identified if they are not covering the whole head instead of just over a few strands.

Colour is just another term to show colouring the hair. Here the entire head is targeted and coloured, changing the original and natural hair colour of the client who comes in with such requests.

For some people, giving their hair a new definition is, at times, equivalent to giving themselves a new meaning in life.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHighlightsColor
Recommended for First TimeNoYes
ExpensiveNot alwaysYes
Needs Consecutive AppointmentsNoYes
Henna Was Used in Ancient TimesNoYes
Only Strands are ColoredYesNo

What are the Highlights?

Even though hair highlights started gaining momentum recently, since the time of the ancient Greeks, hair highlighting has been present.

During the ancient Greeks, highlighting the hair was a sign of beauty and bravery.

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Back then, natural elements were used as a colour to highlight; therefore, they lasted for a brief period.

But now, long-lasting chemicals that don’t affect hair quality have been introduced. This helps in lesser visits to the salons and therefore is low cost as there are no continuous visits.

If any person walks into a salon requesting to give their hair a new look without changing the entire hair colour, they want highlights.

Every strand of the hair is taken out individually and sometimes as a bunch. These hair strand bunches are separated from the rest of the hair not to spread the colour being added.

After separating the required strands, the actual process of highlighting the hair might take time. The colours chosen for highlighting are lighter than the hair colour of the person willing to do highlights.

On the other hand, some lowlights fall under the same category of strand colouring alone. In lowlights, the colours used are in the same shade type or even darker shades than the original hair colour.


What is Color?

Colouring the hair has been seen since the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Back then, the most commonly used hair colouring material was plant products such as the leaf and coloured root.

The leaves of the henna plant, once crushed, give out a bright red colour or even a dark red to black shade. Some plants’ roots have pigments that provide varying colours, such as red, yellow, or even purple.

After drying the roots in the sun and crushing them, the pigments alone remain, and after mixing them in water, the colour starts coming out.

For people who come in for first-time hair sessions, the stylists recommend them colouring instead of highlighting.

The entire head is treated and cleared before the process takes place. The hair is untangled and rinsed after rounds of shampooing and using conditioners.

After a thorough cleansing, the hair is spaced into a few strand bunches, a material used by salons separates.

Once that is done, the required colour is applied carefully along the separated portions not to mess it up. After the colours have been used, it’s left on for a certain time to set in.

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The colours are then washed off entirely and rinsed with keratin-friendly products to reveal the final view of the hair.

People do hair colouring to give themselves an acceptable new definition they want to create. And it’s not restricted to any gender as all go forth with it.


Main Differences Between Highlights and Color

  1. Highlights are restricted to a few strand bunches, whereas hair colouring is done as a whole, covering all parts of the head.
  2. Hair colouring is always expensive as it includes more area to colour, and it has to be done uniformly but highlighting, on the other hand, is less pricey as it doesn’t cover the whole head.
  3. Once a person gets their hair coloured, they have to come in again and again for consecutive appointments to maintain the look, whereas highlights don’t require such frequent appointments.
  4. When a person decides to get their hair coloured completely, they need to be careful about the colours they choose as they would be accentuated, whereas highlights can be experimented on as it is just for a few strands.
  5. Highlights involve only low shades compared to the hair colour, but hair colouring isn’t limited to any specific shade.
Difference Between Highlights and Color
  1. https://academic.oup.com/jbcr/article-abstract/28/2/361/4605536
  2. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.1201/9780203719565-7/hair-coloring-keith-brown

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Highlights vs Color: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I disagree with the statement that hair coloring is ‘always expensive’. There are affordable options available for those who want to color their hair.

  2. I find it interesting how the article mentions the historical background of hair coloring and hair highlighting. It gives the reader an insight into the origins of these practices.

  3. The article provides a thorough analysis of the differences between highlights and hair coloring. It’s an excellent resource for those interested in the subject.

  4. The article delves into the scientific and historical aspects of hair coloring and highlighting, providing a well-rounded view of the subject.

    • The comparison between highlights and coloring adds valuable insights into the decision-making process for individuals who are considering changing their hair color.

    • It’s fascinating to learn about the ancient practices of hair coloring. The article provides a comprehensive overview of the topic.

  5. The comparison table is very helpful. It breaks down the advantages of highlights and coloring in a clear and concise way.


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