Can you use regular hair dye for highlights? Not always…

woman doesn't know whether to use box dye in highlights

  • To use regular hair dye for highlights, you must coordinate the color of your hair and the color of the hair dye you want to apply.
  • If your hair is very light and you want to apply dark highlights, you can use a regular hair dye. Some brands even offer kits for highlights.
  • But if your hair is dark and you want extra light highlights, you have two options. You can use a super-lightening hair dye which is applied with a 30-volume developer. Alternatively, you can bleach your hair and then, use a regular hair dye.


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I was asked that question a few days ago:   “Can I use regular hair dye for highlights?” 


The answer is YES, but there’s more to it.

You’ll have to check some details to achieve a good result.


Let’s talk a little bit about highlights.
The highlights technique is frequently used in salons because it conceals gray hair and brightens the look.

I love doing highlights in the salon because it allows you to play with different hair tones and offers unlimited color possibilities.


However, to reach perfect highlights, some hair strands need to be bleached.

After the color has been removed, your hair has a bleaching level color. It can be toned by applying a dye or toner to finally achieve fabulous highlights.


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As you may have read,   it’s usually necessary to bleach the hair to do highlights.  



For example, if your hair is very dark and you want very light blonde highlights. In this case, I recommend you go to the salon. Bleaching is a very aggressive process that can irreversibly damage your hair.

If that happens, you’ll probably lose your healthy hair.


But, if you can’t go to the salon, I’ll give you an option for highlights on dark hair with dye and without bleaching.

  It may not be the most commonly used dye.   I’ll tell you about it below.

Let’s start.

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If your hair is light, you can use a regular hair dye for dark highlights

fixing the color

This is an ideal case for using regular hair dye to change your look.

  If your hair is a very light blonde 9 or extra light blonde 10,   you can do highlights with other blonde or brown tones using regular hair dye.


For example, you can apply a dark blonde dye 6 or a light brown dye 5, to lower several levels and give depth to your mane.

Darker colors mixed with lighter colors help you sport a fuller mane and conceal imperfections on the chin and around the eyes.

I recommend you buy a highlighting kit for ombré or balayage highlights. You can easily get it on the web. Alternatively, you can buy the elements separately.


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What do you need?

  • Highlights cap made of silicone, plastic, or latex. I recommend you choose the silicone cap, pbecause it can be reused and doesn’t break easily.
  • A middle-sized highlighting needle.


Now it’s time to choose the dye.   I’d advise you to choose up to four levels lower than your color so that the change is not abrupt.  

What do I mean?


Don’t apply black 1 over extra light blonde 10 because the contrast may be too sharp.


How to apply it:

  • Secure the highlighting cap onto your head and pull the strands through the perforations. You can focus on the front or distribute them throughout your entire mane.
  • Apply the dye to the strands you’ve separated.
  •   Leave the dye on your strands for 45 minutes   as indicated by the manufacturer. Keep the cap on.
  • Rinse your hair to remove as much dye as possible.
  • Slowly remove the cap.
  • Wash your hair with shampoo or apply the post-color treatment included in the kit.


Now, if you want to achieve very light highlights, you can also use hair dye.


If you want light highlights without bleaching your hair, use a super lightening hair dye


  Why did I mention that you could use a not-so-common hair dye? 

Beacuse it’s applied with a 30-volume developer.


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Important information about this dye:

  • In it could color or bleach your hair. In other words, the 30-volume developer has a higher lightening power than the 20-volume one. Therefore, it could lighten your hair up to four levels while it colors it with your chosen shade.
  •   It could seriously damage your hair,   though less than bleaching.


Therefore,   if your hair is dry, damaged, or brittle   I don’t recommend this type of dye because it could damage your hair to the point of breakage..

Also, if you’re determined to do your highlights with a super-lightening hair dye, you should be very careful with the exposure times.   The super-lightening dye should be left on the hair for 20 to 30 minutes according to the instructions.   

What will you achieve with a super-lightening dye?

  • If your hair is brown 4, light brown 5, or dark blonde 6,you can achieve light blonde 8, very light blonde 9, or extra light blonde 10 highlights.


When you rinse out the super-lightening dye, you may notice that your highlights are orange or yellow.

Don’t panic!

All you have to do is tone them with a toning shampoo.

  •    If your highlights are orange,   use blue shampoo.
  •   If your highlights are yellowish,   use violet shampoo.[/su_list]


What should you do?

  • Once you remove the cap, rinse your hair and notice the resulting color.
  • Drain your hair and apply the shampoo according to the color you want to remove.
  • Leave it on for ten minutes and rinse your hair again.

To keep your hair safe from unwanted undertones, use the toning shampoo once a week.



Now you know when you can use a regular hair dye for highlights.

You can also use the L’ORÉAL PARIS PREFERENCE DYE FOR HIGHLIGHTS, which includes a special applicator for highlights.

It’s a special brush to comb your hair. The result will be highlights in a slightly lighter color.

If you’re looking for larger contrast, you should use the cap, which is easier. Remember that these techniques are for highlights without bleaching.

Otherwise, I recommend you visit the salon to get advice from your colorist.

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