What can you do with grown out highlights on brown hair? A hairdresser gives you 3 options

pensive woman with grown out highlights in brown hair

  • If your highlights have grown out in brown hair and you don’t know what to do, I’ll tell you what I advise my clients when they come to the salon with grown-out highlights.
  • The first option is to change the technique. If you let your highlights grow out, you’re likely tired of maintaining them. You can opt for a balayage, and I’ll tell you why later.
  • The second option is to renew your highlights. I only recommend this option if you want to keep lightening your hair.
  • And the third option is to use brown hair dye to cover your highlights.


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 As a professional colorist, here’s my first suggestion. If your highlights have grown out on your brown hair, and you don’t know what to do, stop and think about how you feel. What do you like about the highlighting technique? What don’t you like? 

It’s also time to weigh how much more you’re willing to invest to keep your highlights.


Because let’s face it. Highlights are a coloring technique that takes a lot of maintenance, and you have to go to the salon every month, or every month and a half, to maintain them.

And I understand that can wear anyone out. You must invest a lot of time and money to maintain your highlights.

hairdresser combs hair after renewing highlights on brown hair


I know because I see this situation every day in my salon. Many of my clients end up exhausted.

In the beginning, everything is pure enthusiasm. But after two or three months of living with highlight maintenance exhausts their spirits and pockets.

I’ve also seen those who hated their highlights because their brown hair practically turned blonde. This happens because you get highlights by bleaching different strands every month.

So after six or seven months, almost all your hair will be bleached.


But don’t give up in despair. It’s a question of using emotional intelligence. This is something I always advise my clients to do. It usually gets them to a solution.

What does emotional intelligence have to do with the issue of grown-out highlights on brown hair? Read on to find out.


If you’re tired of maintaining highlights on brown hair, get a balayage

balayage over highlights on brown hair


  I find this the best option as a colorist. 



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  • First,  balayage will brighten your hair. That is, you won’t have an even color throughout your hair. 
  • Second,  the balayage will allow you to keep your hair brown, meaning you avoid continuous bleaching of highlights.  Because, in this case, the salon will apply dye to your roots to cover part of your highlights.
  • Third,  if you choose a balayage, you’ll likely just have to visit your colorist every three to four months. 

Do you realize why I was talking about emotional intelligence?


If you choose this option, your hair wins because you won’t be bleaching part of it every month. Your wallet wins because you won’t have to go to the salon as often. And you win because you’ll feel relieved from not having to maintain your highlights. And your hair will still look special.


What if you want to continue lightening your hair? Or use highlights to disguise gray hair? Renew the highlights in your brown hair

In this case, you don’t need much explanation. Because you get highlights by bleaching small, different strands each time. After a few months, your brown hair will be lighter, which is what you’re looking for.


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And if you applied highlights to cover gray hair, I advise you to continue with the technique. This way, you’ll avoid covering all your hair with dye. You’ll also give your brown hair a subtle lighting effect.


If you don’t want highlights on brown hair, use a brown hair dye

hair dye over grown highlights

Realistically, my professional opinion is that this is the least convenient option. That’s why I left it till the end.


  • First,  covering highlights with dye isn’t that simple . It’s not just a matter of buying any brown box dye and applying it over your highlights. If you do, the dye will fade after a few washes, and you’ll start to get harsh colors.
  • Second,  you’ll go from being a slave to monthly highlight renewals to doing a strict hair care routine, including toning shampoo . You need this to keep brown hair free of harsh oranges.
  • Third,  since you’ve bleached different sections of your hair, and these are more porous, your hair will likely absorb the dye unevenly . In other words, you’ll go from brown hair with grown-out highlights to brown hair with streaks.


So, in this case, if you want to cover highlighted brown hair, my advice is to go to a professional.



Now you know what to do with grown-out highlights on brown hair. Take ten minutes, think, and act with emotional intelligence. It’s the only way you won’t ruin your hair.

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