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Highlighting Dark Hair

Dear Lynne,
My hair is very dark. It isnít black but it is dark brown. I would love to get a highlight. I have tried it before but the highlights always turn out orangey or red. I donít look good in those colors and always end up dyeing it dark again. How can I get a highlight that looks natural? I donít want blonde highlights either - just a lighter shade of brown.
Jessi.

Dark hair will look most natural with soft light brown highlights, however trying to highlight it often ends up with gold or red. This is because dark brown or black hair almost always contains a lot of red, even if you canít see it, so when you lighten it, the red and the gold is revealed. The only way to get rid of the warm color is to bleach it to light blonde. You have stated that you donít want blonde highlights and I agree with you. There would be too much contrast between the highlights and your dark hair to look natural.

Take heart! There is a way for you to have natural looking light brown highlights. This is done best by a hairdresser, using professional products.
    This is how I handle the problem. It is a two-step process.
  1. I use a mild bleach to highlight dark hair bringing it up to a yellow gold color. Then I dry the hair, trying not to look at it because the highlights are bright gold at that time!
  2. I apply a semi-permanent hair color glosser such as Redken Shades EQ all over the hair, choosing a light ash brown. I process it according to the directions. The hair color will tone down the gold in the highlights but wonít affect the rest of the hair.
  3. The toner will usually not fade but if after some shampooing or time in the sun, the gold starts to return, I suggest using a color pigmented shampoo in an ash tone, or reapplying the hair color glosser.
  4. The result is beautiful, shiny dark hair with nice light brown highlights. And no gold or red tones!




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