Hair Color & Highlights

Hair coloring with foiling
Q: Can I color my hair and add highlights at the same time? If so what is the best method to do it?
A: If you are planning to do both a base color and highlights together you will almost certainly have to use a foiling method for highlighting and color application.
This means that you will use foils to isolate the locks of hair that you wish to have serve you as highlights and apply the highlight color to that hair with a brush, while applying the base color to the rest of the hair using a separate brush applicator.
The best means of doing this is to use a lifting action color to get the highlighting. This means you will need to select a highlight color that is only a few shades lighter than your natural color so that you can do the lightening and base color processing in the same time frame. The alternative is to do a pre-lightening service on the highlight hair and simply re-select those hairs when the time comes to apply the color(s).
You can achieve a more distinct (more dramatic) color differential in this method by using a "base color" that is darker than your starting color. Therefore, once the highlights and the base colors have processed and the hair is dried and styled, the highlights are significantly lighter than the rest of the hair, and the overall effect is of more dramatic highlighting.
Foils are pretty much the only method of color application that will allow you to do multiple color applications at the same time. Of course, by foils, I mean any of the color service application techniques that use a medium such as foil, plastic film, paper or waxed fabric to isolate segments of hair in order to facilitate multiple color processing in a single service.
Photo: Schankz/Shutterstock
See also:
How to color hair
The foil highlighting procedure
How to choose natural looking highlights
Is it possible to do coloring and highlighting in one single process?