Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Color & Highlighting in a Single Process

Q: My sister and I are gray-haired senior citizens. She has her hair dyed medium-dark brown and then, in a second process, gets golden blonde highlights. She gets regular touchups of the brown and doesn't need to redo the highlights for about 9 months. The look is beautiful and I tried to have my hairdresser do the same. She insisted that she could do the highlights with foil at the same time that she dyed the rest of the hair brown. Can you tell me if one method is more effective and preferable to the other? I sincerely appreciate your courtesy.
A: I can't really say one method is more effective than the other, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both. I am assuming that your sister has her highlights done with foils as well, only as a second process after the initial base coloring. The color/highlighting application can easily be done in a single process. There may be a difference in cost depending on the practice of the salon.
Some salons will charge based on the length of time required to perform a service, or will consider the color and highlighting as separate color services and charge full for each. You will also find salons that charge a base fee plus additional monies per foil for foil highlighting. Depending on the methodology your salon/stylist uses to price their services, you may find that having the color/highlighting done in the same procedure is economically favorable.
Having the services done separately also mean that the hair that is highlighted is actually colored twice. This can be hard on the hair, and can lead to damage.
The combined steps would definitely be a faster service. Since most color services need at least 20 minutes of processing time, having the two services performed separately would require color application, rinsing and conditioning, drying the hair, and then repeating the process to add in the highlights. This would require between one-and-a-half and two hours of services. Being able to have both color and highlights applied at once would mean that you could have the service completed in half the time.
The financial and time considerations are really all that are reasonably assessable in an objective forum. All things being equal, a skilled hairdresser could give you the same results doing the service either way and would be aware of any precautions needed to ensure that your hair did not get damaged in the process.
However, when it comes to stylists, all things are not equal, and some stylists prefer to perform the color and highlighting in separate stages because they prefer to have more control over the color processing and the timing of the same. Ask to see examples of services done for other clients, if you are unsure of your hairdresser's skill.
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