lightening hair...with or without highlights?

badapplebadapple Posts: 9Registered Users
Hi guys! I'm a 3b girl with medium-brown hair that I'm pretty good about only treating with the safest of concoctions (no silicones, sulfates, etc.). I used henna to color my hair about 2 years ago, but it's mostly gone now. However, you can still see a bit of red at the ends of my hair in the sun, and it's a bit darker than the roots.

Since I've been relatively good to my hair lately, and I'm getting bored with it, I feel like it wouldn't be an awful thing to use some chemicals lighten it a bit. When I was a kid my hair was light brown, and I'd kind of like it to be that color again. I didn't really want highlights because I hate the way they look on anyone with darker tones of hair, super streaky and fake. But apparently that's the most common way of lightening hair. Do you think it wouldn't look unnatural if it was only a shade or two lighter than my natural hair? Would that even be worth it?

Also, I haven't seen highlights on curly-haired people that often, and I'm nervous about how it would look...

Anyway, I would really like someone who is more experienced with salon coloring to give me their opinion on the best way to get my hair a bit lighter for summer. This is what my hair looks like...I am conveniently faced away in this picture:

Also, do you think the leftover henna would interfere with the coloring? It's high quality, body-art henna. And like I said, you can hardly see it.

Thank you so much for your help, guys!
3a/3b fine, thin hair. Henna'd.

Shampoo (occasional): Giovanni Tea Tree

Cowash: Suave Naturals; L'Oreal Ever Pure Sulfate-Free Moisture Conditioner

Products: ABBA leave-in conditioner, Herbal Essence Totally Twisted; Alagio Crazy Curl Curl Enhancer Balm


  • SalamanderSalamander Posts: 328Registered Users
    I color my hair myself, but for highlights I would go to a professional. It's pretty easy to fry your hair if you don't know what you are doing.

    As far as color, I would be VERY specific that you DO NOT want pale blond highlights on your dark hair. Try to find a picture to show exactly what you want -- honey or caramel would probably look nice with darker hair. A good colorist will be able to do a very natural looking job.

    Regarding leftover henna, if it was BAQ henna it won't do anything scary like turn green or fry your hair -- but it may come out more orange/brassy than you want. Henna is remarkably impervious to peroxide and bleach; so basically what happens when you try to lighten it is that your natural color is removed leaving the red/orange henna tint. You can tone it so it isn't so brassy, but once again, you want a good colorist working on this so you don't end up with weirdly brassy ends.

    If you don't want to go the highlight route, you can go a couple shades lighter with all-over haircolor. You can either do it at home yourself or have a professional do it. It would be cheaper than highlights but grow-out would be more obvious so you'd need to keep up with your roots.

    My caution with lightening it yourself would be to be pretty careful what shade you pick. If you have a lot of red tones in your hair, and you lighten it two shades, it may come out more reddish than you want, depending on what color you use. Definitely do the test strand first.

    A non-chemical option for very subtle lightening would be to try using honey lightening. Honey and distilled water can be used to lighten hair a shade or two, and it is apparently a non-damaging method. It takes several applications to do it, so it is not for the impatient. Here's a link with more information than you will probably ever want:
    2a/b right now; 2c when it's longer
    Fine/iii density/high porosity

    Current favorites:
    Suave Naturals Coconut co-wash
    GVP Protein Restructuring Conditioner
    GVP Conditioning Balm
    Eco-Styler, LALSG, BRHG, Garnier Curl Shaping Spray Gel
    ACV rinse 1x per week
  • badapplebadapple Posts: 9Registered Users
    Thanks so much for your advice!!! I really appreciate it, and now I am really excited about coloring my hair. :blob8:

    I'm definitely going to a stylist for this. :) I think I will just go for caramel-ish highlights like you suggested it so it doesn't look weird growing back in. Do you think I would be able to use honey to lighten my hair afterwards if I decide it's not light enough/it starts to look weird as the darker parts grow in? I don't think I'm going to color my hair regularly so I want something pretty tame.

    Thanks again for all your words of wisdom :P
    3a/3b fine, thin hair. Henna'd.

    Shampoo (occasional): Giovanni Tea Tree

    Cowash: Suave Naturals; L'Oreal Ever Pure Sulfate-Free Moisture Conditioner

    Products: ABBA leave-in conditioner, Herbal Essence Totally Twisted; Alagio Crazy Curl Curl Enhancer Balm
  • jbaybayyjbaybayy Posts: 38Registered Users
    Oh wow, some of those before and after pictures are incredible! I never knew this could be achieved with honey...thanks for the link, salamander!
  • mnekaw3mnekaw3 Posts: 69Registered Users
    I'm wondering if you got your hair lightened BadApple. I'm in the same situation.

    I've had highlights done in the past and I always feel that it really drys my hair out. It changes the texture so much that I'd really like to avoid going that route. there a professional way of getting highlights done or color lifted without using some kind of "bleach"? I don't think I want to lighten my whole head. I like the idea and look of highlights, but I'd like to achieve it as naturally as possible.

    Any pros out there with some ideas?

    Do you think I could use honey and distilled water on small sections of hair...would that even be noticeable?

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file