6 golden rules for highlighting hair at home

Thinking about lightening your hair at home? These are the rules to follow

Curly brunette in a sweater on the coast faces the sea and straightens hair, view from the back

There are lots of reasons why you might want to have a go at home highlighting

Maybe you’re trying to save money, maybe you can’t get out to the salon right now. Maybe you started doing your own DIY facials, gel manicures and home pedicures and want to have a go at highlighting hair at home too.

Whatever the reason, do two things before you begin: Read up about the best home highlight kits and follow our simple prep protocol. Start by enlisting a friend or family member to assist. If you’re concerned about an even application ask someone in the household to do the back of your hair.If your hair is dry or damaged, use an intense nourishing mask likeLee Stafford’s Arganoil from Morocco Deep Nourishing Treatmenta couple of days before highlighting hair at home.


Lee StaffordArganoil from Morocco Deep Nourishing Treatment

Lee Stafford argan oil mask


ViewLee Stafford’ Arganoil from Morocco Deep Nourishing Treatment, £1.79, Boots.com


Prefer natural products? Massage a couple of teaspoons ofBiona Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil linto damp hair and leave for an hour before rinsing.


Biona Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil


Biona coconut oil

ViewBiona Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil, 19.26, amazon.co.uk


Finally, Ensure you have bought enough highlighting kits. If you hair is long and thick you will need two, or even three boxes.

Ready to start highlighting hair at home? These are the golden rules


  • Rule 1: Always perform a patch test to ensure you’re not allergic to the dye


  • Rule 2: Wear a protective towel or gown that you won't mind staining


  • Rule 3: Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly around the hairline, on the forehead and temple area. This helps prevent the dye staining the skin around the hairline. Avoid getting it on the hair as it forms a barrier to colour


  • Rule 4: Make sure your hair is tangle- and knot-free.Use hair clips to hold sections of hair so you can apply the dye more precisely


  • Rule 5: Follow the instructions word for word. All colour brands have slightly different formulas so make sure you read the instructions for application and development times


  • Rule 6: Application is important. The better the application, the better the result, so take your time. Be aware that the sparser and lighter the strokes the more subtle and natural the result. It may be a laborious process but the results will be much better


Fiona McKim

As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more beauty products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)

Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). 

In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a features writer at publications including Junior and Prima Baby, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.

When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park. 

Come to think of it, the hot dinners and beauty products are probably about even.