Lowlights, the opposite of highlights, give the hair a slightly darker overall shade while adding texture and variety. Lowlights also help dyed blonde hair look more natural. With a few steps, you can apply lowlights at home.
At a local beauty supply store, purchase hair dye that's slightly darker than your current shade. Ask a worker to help you find the complementary toner. You can also purchase a hair dye kit from your local drugstore.
To prevent stains, change into old clothes and put rags or newspaper over the surfaces surrounding the area where you will be dying your hair. Put on the rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Measure the dye and toner, following the instructions on the bottle. Pour both into a bowl. Mix well for about 2 minutes. If you have a kit, follow the mixing directions on the accompanying instruction sheet.
Section off the area of the hair you will be applying the lowlights to first. Typically, you'll want to start with the bottom layers and clip the top 3/4 of your hair out of the way.
Apply the lowlights in sections of any size you choose. Take the first section of hair in one hand and, using the paint brush, apply the coloring mix evenly from the roots to the tips of your hair. For more control, use your fingers to apply the dye.
Place the dyed strands on top of a strip of tinfoil. Fold the tinfoil up and on top of the hair, covering it completely. This will prevent the dye from spreading to unwanted sections.
Grasp the next section of hair in your hand and repeat Steps 2 and 3. Continue working your way, section by section, to the upper layers of your hair, letting hair down from the clip as needed. Keep in mind that the more sections you dye and the thicker they are, the darker the result will be.
Allow Color to Set
Let the dye sit on your hair for as long as the package suggests. The average setting time is between 20 and 45 minutes.
After 15 or 20 minutes, rinse a small section of died hair to see if it is the desired shade. Keep in mind that, while wet, hair will appear darker than it actually is. If you'd like the lowlights to be darker, keep the dye in longer. Perform this test every 5 to 10 minutes.
When you have reached your desired shade, remove the foil and rinse the dye out. Rinse with cool water to keep the dark dye from bleeding into the lighter strands. Shampoo your hair as you usually do.
Apply a deep conditioner to your hair to help repair the damage caused by the dye.
Towel dry your hair. Avoid blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons for the first week after adding lowlights to avoid further damaging your hair.
To stop the color from bleeding and fading, use cool water when washing your hair for the first couple weeks. Wrap a towel around your neck while you wait for your the lowlights to set so the color doesn't stain your skin.
Do not dye your hair in a closed room because of the risk of chemical inhalation.
Abigail Wise is a journalist, author and marketing specialist. Her work has been published in "Reader's Digest," NBCNews.com and PopSci.com. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.