Highlights vs Streaks: Difference and Comparison

Highlights and streaks are two popular methods of coloring specific portions of a person’s hair. However, due to their similar nature, they are often confused to be the same thing.

There are various differences between them when it comes to technique, application, and even color. Moreover, they accentuate a person’s appearance differently.

Key Takeaways

  1. Highlights involve coloring large sections of hair, while streaks involve coloring thin sections of hair.
  2. Highlights are more noticeable and contrast with the natural hair color, while streaks create a subtler effect.
  3. Highlights are more suitable for people with longer hair, while streaks are more suitable for people with shorter hair.

Highlights vs Streaks

Highlights are a hairstyle where you color thin strands of the hair, which are blonde or match the original hair color. It is done with foils and is expensive to do. Streaks involve coloring thick slices of hair in bright colors like red, blue, green, pink, and more, giving off a bold look.

Highlights vs Streaks

Highlights are done on a relatively thinner volume of hair as compared to the latter. The process involves bleaching the hair to give it a light-colored appearance overall.


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The shade used generally matches the natural hair color. It makes a person look elegant but can get quite costly at times.

Meanwhile, streaks are done on a thicker volume of hair. The colors used can be recreational, for example, red, green, blue, pink, etc.

Its process involves bleaching the hair and then using a pigment of a different color over it. Streaks give off a bold look and are relatively cheaper than highlights.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHighlightsStreaks
MeaningHighlights involve coloring thin strands of the hair.Streaks involve coloring thick slices of hair.
ColorThe color of highlights is generally blonde and matching to the natural hair color.The color of streaks may be red, green, blue, pink, etc.
ProcessIts application is done using foils.No foils are used during its application.
AppearanceIt gives a lighter-colored look to the hair and an elegant appearance to the person.It gives off a bold look.
PriceIt is relatively costlier.It is on the cheaper end.

What is Highlights?

Highlights are a particular way of coloring portions of the hair. It involves choosing thin strands and bleaching them with a color that matches the natural hair.

The purpose of doing so is to give the hair a light-colored and fuller appearance. It makes a person look elegant and well-groomed.

The application process of the color involves using foils to protect the product that has been applied to strands. This product is kept on the hair for some time to absorb it.

When this happens, the foils are removed, and the product is washed. This process can often get long and cumbersome.

Due to this, the price of getting it done is also expensive.

People may get this done for aesthetic purposes or even to cover grey hair.

However, it must be noted that this color is permanent and does not wash off. The only way to get rid of it is to cut it or outgrow it with new hair.

However, a disadvantage of getting this one is that it damages the hair. The products used in the process have a lot of chemicals that make the hair dry and cause them to lose its luster.

It can also cause split ends and excessive hair fall.

highlights hair

What is Streaks?

Streaks are another way of coloring portions of the hair. Unlike highlights, thick slices of hair are chosen. They are bleached and then pigmented with another color.

It is not necessary for it to match the color of natural hair. Colors like red, green, blue, and pink and often used by many. Doing so gives off a bold look to the person.

The application process of streaks is somewhat different from that of highlights. Generally, there is no foil involved. Separate strands of hair are placed far from each other and chosen.

Moreover, the process is not as long and cumbersome as the former. Due to this, it is often cheaper to get streaks done.

Most people have streak colors on their hair for aesthetic purposes. A very convenient thing about this sort of hair coloring is that, generally, the color can be changed as per the will of the person.

Even though the bleached hair is permanent, the pigment on top of it is not. It can be washed off or left to disappear in a couple of days.

However, streaks cause just as much damage as highlights. This is because even in the case of streaks, chemical products are used on the hair, causing it to be dry and weak.

streaks hair

Main Differences Between Highlights and Streaks

  1. Highlights involve coloring thin strands of the hair, whereas streaks involve coloring thick slices of the hair.
  2. The color of highlights is generally blonde and matches the natural hair color, whereas the color of streaks may be red, green, blue, pink, etc.
  3. The application for highlights is made using foils, whereas that of streaks does not involve the use of foils.
  4. Highlights give a lighter-colored look to the hair and an elegant appearance to the person, whereas streaks give off a bold look.
  5. Getting highlights done is expensive, whereas getting streaks done is on the cheaper end.
Difference Between Highlights and Streaks
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1473-2165.2005.40203.x
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-86035-7_14

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