Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Get New Highlights

Q: I currently have red & blonde highlights in my hair. My natural hair color is like a medium brown. I want to get new highlights & go a darker red with the red highlights. Would it be better to color it all brown and then get the highlights or get the new highlights over the old ones? Will the new ones cover the old ones? If I need to color it all brown again how long should I wait till I get the highlights? Thanks!
A: Well, if all you want to do is change the color of your highlights, all you really need to do is color the highlights to the new, desired color. How you proceed depends on your level of skill (or the availability of a friend who can help). If you are going to be going to the salon for the service, then your stylist will most likely handle the situation as she/he deems necessary, but will most likely do as I’ve described and simply apply new color to the existing highlights.
This raises the question: “How did you achieve your highlights initially?” Were they done in a salon? Did you do them yourself using a cap, or foils? I ask because if you’ve done them yourself (or with a friend’s help) using the foil method, then simply isolating and recoloring the highlights you want to change should be an easy task, and if you had it done in a salon and intend to make the changes yourself, you’ll need some additional information. If you did them yourself using a cap, then you will need a different approach altogether.
For sake of argument, let’s assume you did your original highlights using a cap or that you had the highlighting done at a salon and want to change the colors yourself. It would be extremely difficult if not impossible to isolate the highlighted hair you want to recolor through a cap. You would need to either have a friend assist you and make the changes using foils to separate the hairs for recoloring, or do as you mentioned and apply all-over color to take you back to a ‘base’ color (your natural color) and redo the highlights from scratch.
The re-foiling is a much faster method of making the changes, but requires some degree of skill to do it properly. The ‘return-to-base and re-highlighting with a cap’ may take longer (it requires doing the color in stages) but it is easier for at-home coloring. Unless you (or a friend) are comfortable and practiced at doing foils, I highly recommend the latter method.
As for the time necessary between coloring stages, there is no required waiting period. If your hair is damaged, you may want to wait a couple of days between coloring steps so that you can use conditioning treatments to restore moisture and protect the hair. Otherwise, as long as your hair is healthy and in good condition, you can simply perform the base color stage, dry your hair completely, and proceed to the highlighting stages. Just remember that you have to have your hair completely dry between coloring steps. Wet hair pulled through a cap can stretch and break the hair. Your hair is much more fragile when wet than it is when dry.
With that in mind, I do suggest you review the articles we have published on this site regarding haircoloring, to make sure you make good color choices and avoid any unfortunate results in your coloring. I wish you luck and hope you'll feel free to ask if you have any more questions.
Related posts:
How to color hair
The foil highlighting technique
I want to cover blonde highlights. What color should I use?