Can you do a base color and highlights at the same time? How long does it take?

the same day

I was asked this the other day:

Can you do base color and highlights at the same time?


Yes, you can do both things at the same time, and it should take more or less three hours. The amount of time that it will take mostly depends on the stylist’s experience and the look you’re trying to achieve


Now, if your hair is very weak or damaged because of past color treatments, don’t even think about coming into the salon because if that’s the case, any dye or color job could end up damaging your hair even more.


 Another thing. You can do a base color and highlights at the same time, if and when it is a trained and experienced professional doing it. 

Do you have experience dyeing hair?

Do you know what base color and what highlight color your hair needs?


If the answer is yes, then go ahead. Do the colorwork on your own. But, if you don’t have the experience, then the results might be disastrous. So, it’s better to leave it to professionals that know what they’re doing.

Yes, it definitely will be more expensive to go to a professional than to do it on your own. But, I can assure you that the results will be worth it.


That said, if your hair is in perfect health, then you can do the base color and highlights all on the same day. 


  • And today I want to explain to you step-by-step how to do it
  • I also want to tell you about how to ask for it in a hair salon and which colors to choose according to what your hair’s needs


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Base Color and Highlights: How to ask for it in a salon, so you don’t end up with a look that you don’t like

Now, let’s say that you decide to do your base color and highlights in a professional salon.

You have in mind what you want for your hair, but we stylists aren’t minded readers.


So, you must explain to your stylist what you want. If you want to change your base color, you should be very specific about that.

  • What base color do you want?
  • What color highlights do you want?


 Remember that if you aren’t specific, you could end up with a look that doesn’t look anything like what you were looking for.  

If you have a picture for reference, show it to your stylist. If you don’t have one, you can ask for ideas about what color to change your hair’s base color.


In whichever case, don’t sit down in the chair in the salon until you are totally sure about the base color you’re trying to achieve with your new look. Yes, it might sound a little extreme. But many women go to the salon and get into the chair so the stylist can start working before they even know what results they’re going to get.


Ideally, there won’t be more than two shades of difference between your base color and highlights.

  • For example, light brown hair (6) with medium blonde (7) or blonde (8) highlights looks great.
  • Or a base shade of dark brown (4) with light brown highlights (6).


Now, do you want to cover white hair with a new base color?

Nobody likes white hairs. It makes us look messy and older than we are. And if we have bad luck or bad genes to make us have white hairs young, it’s even worse.

But don’t worry. There’s a solution for everything in a salon.


  • To hide your white hairs, you can ask for a base color of blonde (8) with extra blonde highlights (10). That will hide the white hairs well.


 In all of the cases that we talked about, you can do both the base color and the highlights all in one salon visit. 


How to do base color and highlights at the same time

shoulder length hair

We’ve said that you can do these two things at the same time. Base and highlights.

Now I want to tell you generally how a stylist will do the color job step-by-step so that when you get to the salon, you have a better idea of what they’ll do to your hair.

Sound good?


You can basically divide the process into three steps.

  • First, the stylist will separate thin pieces, about 1/10 of an inch each, and apply the bleach mix and wrap them in aluminum foil.
  • One of the highlights is wrapped in foil, the stylist will apply the base color to the rest of your hair.
  • After the necessary time has passed, the stylist will remove the foil and rinse your hair.

That’s the whole process summed up.


The entire process of applying the highlights and base color can take up to three hours. But of course, we’re rounding up. It all depends on your professional’s hands and experience.

The more experience they have, the shorter the amount of time it will take.


How often should you go back to the salon to touch up your base and highlights

But, of course, the most logical thing to do would be to touch up everything all together, every two months.


Of course, these are estimates. The exact amount of time that you need depends on how fast your hair grows and if you have white hair or not. If you have white hair and don’t want them to be visible, you might have to go to the salon more often.



And that’s how you can get a complete style change in less than half a day. Base color and highlights.

It’s a simple and classic technique; it’s no big secret.

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