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Highlights are an easy way to brighten up your look. They add color subtly without going overboard, giving you a fresh look that's still understated and professional. Adding subtle highlights to lighten the hair around your face is a style sported by stars like Sarah Jessica Parker and Leighton Meester. Face-framing highlights can lend a youthful look to your complexion, brightening your skin and features. Because you only need to dye a few select locks of hair, this summery hairstyling technique is simple to create at home.

Wash your hair one or two days before adding the highlights. Don't wash your hair on the same day you add color to give your scalp time to replenish its natural oils. This will protect your hair from damage during the highlighting process.

Apply a cream or petroleum jelly to your forehead along your hairline. This will help prevent the dye from staining your skin.

Create the dye mixture according to the instructions on the hair dye kit.

Place one 2- to 3-inch wide strip of foil under the hair you want to color. Work with strands 1/4-inch thick at a time. Wear latex gloves to protect your hands. Once the strip is in place, apply the hair dye from the roots toward the ends for a full-length highlight. For the face-framing look, you may want to lighten some strands only midway down. This will make your highlights look sun bleached and more natural.

Fold the foil strip in half once or twice and proceed to the next segment of hair. Continue applying highlights around your face in layers. Stagger the strands of hair you highlight, and don't dye too many strands at once or the highlights will not be distinctive.

Leave the hair dye in as recommended on the package instructions. When the dye has sat long enough, remove the foil strips and wash your hair and scalp thoroughly. Moisturize your hair to counteract the drying effect of the hair dye.


Choose a hair dye color that is one or two shades lighter than your natural color. This will keep you from looking too washed out.

About the Author

Michelle Labbe

Michelle Labbe has been writing online and for print since 2004. Her work has appeared in the online journals Reflection's Edge and Cabinet des Fées as well as in Harvard Book Store's anthology, "Michrochondria." She is pursuing a Master of Arts in publishing and writing at Emerson College.