Difference Between Highlights and Color

Highlighting and coloring are terms 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.


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

Highlights vs Color

The difference between highlights and color is that highlights involve giving color to parts or even small sections of the hair at a single time whereas coloring involves changing the color of the entire head as a whole. Both tend to give the wearer a completely new look and help them gain a new perspective on life.

Highlights vs Color 1

Highlights are a recent hair pampering technique brought about by hair stylists all over the world to bring about a revolutionary change in the way people tend to treat their hair.

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

Color is just another term to show coloring the hair. Here the entire head is targeted and colored therefore changing the original and natural hair color 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 is Highlights?

Even though hair highlights started gaining momentum in recent times, since the time of ancient Greeks, hair highlighting was present.

During the ancient Greeks’ time, highlighting the hair had been a sign of beauty and bravery.

Back then, natural elements were used as a color to highlight and therefore they lasted for a very short period.

But now, long-lasting chemicals that don’t affect the hair quality completely 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 with a request to give their hair a new look but without changing the entire hair color, highlights are what they want.

Every single 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 to not spread the color being added.

After separating the required strands begins the real process of highlighting the hair which might take time.The colors chosen for highlighting are usually lighter than the actual hair color of the person willing to do highlights.

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

What is Color?

Coloring the hair was seen since the ancient Greeks and Egyptians.The most commonly used hair coloring material back in the day were plant products such as the leaf and colored root.

The leaves of the henna plant that once crushed give out a bright red color or even a dark red to black shade.The roots of some plants have pigments in them that provide varying colors 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 color starts coming out.

For people who come in for first-time hair sessions, the stylists recommend them coloring 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 which are separated by a material used by salons.

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

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

Hair coloring is done by people to give themselves a fine new definition that they want to create themselves.And it’s not restricted to any one gender as all go forth with it.

Main Differences Between Highlights and Color

  1. Highlights are restricted to a few strand bunches whereas hair coloring is done as a whole covering all parts of the head.
  2. Hair coloring is always expensive as it includes more area to color 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 colored, 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 colored completely, they need to be careful on the colors they choose as it would be accentuated whereas highlights can be experimented on as it is just for a few strands.
  5. Highlights involve only low shades when compared to the hair color but hair coloring 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
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