Home hair-highlighting kits are not for the faint of heart. Highlighting your hair is a more difficult and time-consuming process than single-process color, even for professionals. But as long as you're not looking for anything drastic and simply want to brighten up your look, there's no reason why you can't do your own highlights at home.
The simplest way to get a multi-tonal look is to purchase a hair color with built-in highlights, such as Clairol Nice 'n Easy (Est. $12) or L'Oréal Paris Féria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Color . Both products blend three tones to give hair a multidimensional look. Consumers at TotalBeauty.com, for the most part, really like the results. Hundreds of users give both products above average ratings (7.6 and 7.5 out of 10 stars, respectively). If you want this type of subtle effect, experts at Prevention magazine say to look for colors that include "shimmering," "blended" or "tone-on-tone" in the name.
If you're looking for something slightly more dramatic, a highlighting kit is the way to go. For a simple, affordable home-highlighting option, experts and users recommend L'Oréal Paris Touch-On Highlights (Est. $13) . This hair-coloring kit comes with a rubber fingertip applicator. It's a top pick at Allure, where editors have listed it as the best highlighting kit of the year for three consecutive years. Testers say that the kit is foolproof and easy to use.
Editors at Good Housekeeping say that although Touch-On Highlights creates beautiful at-home highlights, the rubber applicator often slips off during use. Some users at MakeupAlley.com say they decided to forgo the rubber applicator altogether and paint the highlights on with a toothbrush instead. Many say, however, that the color is amazing. L'Oréal's highlighting kit is available in four shades: creamy caramel, toasted almond, golden honey and iced champagne.
If you're looking to color your whole head plus add highlights, L'Oréal Paris Couleur Experte combines a permanent base color with a coordinating shade of highlights for a two-step process. The process is more complicated than the Touch-On highlight kit, but users are impressed with the results. When picking out your color, it's important to choose a base color that is not too far away from your current shade.
Some users at MakeupAlley.com, where more than 450 users give the highlighting kit an average score of 2.8 out of 5, say the color is not as expected, which is often a result of choosing the wrong hue. Several users at TotalBeauty.com (where it earns 8.2 out of 10 stars overall from about 100 reviewers), however, are satisfied with the highlights. Couleur Experte is available in 15 shade combinations.