3 Tips for Getting Your Most Flattering Highlights

Woman at the hair salon

Who doesn’t want hair color that looks effortlessly natural? Let these expert tips guide you toward highlights that brighten and flatter while remaining totally realistic.

1. Consider skintone. Much like choosing the jewelry that best complements your complexion, adding the right highlights is all about differentiating between warm and cool undertones.

  • You’re cool if… silver and platinum brighten your face. Go for cool gold highlight tones.
  • You’re warm if…gold is more your jam. Go for shades of warm gold, honey and caramel accents in your hair.

But there are exceptions to the rule. If your complexion is fair with pinkish undertones, try a copper-hued highlight. Try an ombre look to introduce warmer tones to your hair if your skin is cool—they won’t fight with your skintone since they’re further away from your face.

2. Assess your base shade. Whether you’re working with your real hair color or have already altered it, it’s best to only go about two shades lighter with highlights to create natural-looking dimension.

3. Look at Your Eye Color
Still not sure what’s best? Here’s a surprising and totally effective way to choose appropriate highlight shades: Look into a mirror in bright, natural light and really examine your irises. Notice all those little flecks and marbleized colors? They help reveal nature’s choice for your best highlights.

  • Darker eyes (often accented by hints of caramel and copper) work best with warmer highlights.
  • Very light blue or gray eyes (which tend to have pale beige or white flecks) pair perfectly with cooler highlights.
  • Blue or green eyes against neutral skintones can pull off any highlights.

This is not the time to enlist a friend to slap on some from-a-box goop. When colorists suggest heading to a salon for highlights, they’re really not masterminding a money grab. Professional hand-painted color (known as balayage) allows for more control over placement and helps prevent unrealistic root-to-tip color. A trained expert will also be better able to accentuate your cut, taking into account how you style it every day.

Here’s to gorgeous color!

More From YouBeauty:
Quiz: What’s Your Hair Age?
How to Style the Perfect Messy Bun
10 Signs You Need a Hair Cut