How to Section Hair for Highlights like a pro (in 5 easy steps)

four sections

  • It’s very important to section your hair correctly and neatly for highlights.
  • As such, the first thing you should do is section your hair into four main areas, dividing it from ear to ear and then make a line or part down the middle, splitting your hair in half, and finally continue that line or part down to the nape of your neck.
  • Then, you should section each of these areas into smaller ones, depending on the kind of highlights you’re planning to do.
  • There are different kinds of sectioning you can do to get different effects, so I’ll also teach you how to do each different kind.


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 The most important part of the process of doing foil highlights is sectioning your hair. 

The final product of your highlights will depend on it. So, I’m sure you’re probably asking yourself how you should go about doing that.


  • The answer is simple:  You need to make four primary sections and once you’ve made then, you need to decide how you want to section the smaller areas. 
  • The process of sectioning the smaller areas will personalize your highlights since they can be diagonal, vertical or horizontal.


In the end, preparing your hair for highlighting is almost a geometric task, but don’t worry because I’ll teach you how to do it in a few simple steps.

Let’s start with the main sections. But first, let me tell you what materials you’re going to need.


Tabla de Contenidos


Key materials for sectioning your hair

to make highlights

  • 4-6 hair clips
  • A rat tail comb
  • A brush to detangle your hair


Once you have all the materials, it’s time to step in front of the mirror and start sectioning your hair.


How to section your hair into the four main areas for highlighting it


  • Detangle your clean, dry hair.

This is a very important step. Your hair should be clean and dry in order to avoid any color staining and totally detangled so it’s easier to section your hair and eventually use the bleach mix on it.

If your hair is curly, I recommend brushing it out to stretch it and be able to section it more comfortably.


  • Section your hair into four parts.

Start by making a line in the middle of your hair with the thin end of the comb.

Then, you’ll need to cut that line perpendicularly with another line starting at one ear and ending at the other.


Once you’ve created these sections, gather the two front sides into clips. As you’ll then see, you’ll have that front area completely sectioned off.


  • Continue sectioning the back area of your hair.

Now we’ll deal with the back part of your hair, so you’ll need to continue with the middle part you’ve made at the top of your head, bringing it down to the nape of your neck by using the thin end of your comb.

How does your hair look?


  • If it’s neatly divided into four parts, then you’ve sectioned it correctly.
  • If not, take your hair out of the clips and try again, because this step is absolutely key.


Before going on to explain to you how to make the smaller sections, I want to clarify something very important.

 You should always start highlighting your hair at the back part of your head, which is your nape area.  Do you know why?


Because that part of your hair will always be darker and have a lower temperature as compared to your roots, which will lighten quicker.

With that clarified and out of the way, let’s move on to the next step.


How to make the smaller, secondary sections for highlighting your hair

Have you ever cut a pizza? If so, then you’ve probably cut it into four huge slices, then cut each of those large ones into two smaller slices.

Now you’re going to do the same thing, but with your hair.


 You’ll choose small areas of hair from each of the four main sections. They can be thick or thin, depending on what kind of highlights you’re looking for. 

These smaller sections are the ones that you’re going to lighten or bleach and then wrap in aluminum foil.

You can make these sections in a few different ways. Let’s have a look at each one.


  • Vertical

This kind of sectioning will create well-defined highlights, which are great if you want them to stand out like clear lines.


  • Horizontal

If you make horizontal sections, you’ll still get well-defined highlights, but they’ll be somewhat less defined than vertical ones.


  • Diagonal

This kind of sectioning will mix more through different areas of your hair so when you brush and part your hair, you won’t be able to tell where exactly the highlights begin.


  • Straight line

If you choose to section your hair using a straight line, you should take the straight-end comb and take a full 2 millimeter portion of hair for bleaching.


  • In points or traignles

In this case, you’ll place the end of the comb against your head and you’ll act as if you’re drawing little mountains or triangles in a zig-zagged formation, and what ends up sectioned off is what you’ll bleach. If you like thicker highlights, then this is the option for you.


  • Tricotage

For this kind of sectioning, you’ll need to make a straight line, but leave an interval where some hairs are included and others aren’t, like a dotted line. So, you let one area of hair fall and the other you section for bleaching. You’ll end up with about 6 areas of hair for bleaching and all that’s left to do is decide how thick you want your highlights.



To get a perfect set of highlights, it’s most important to be precise and neat when you section the areas of the hair you’re going to bleach.

Section your hair into four main areas, and then into smaller sections, choosing their shape based on how you want the final highlights to look in your hair.

Now tell me, would you do highlights on your own at home? What kind of highlights will you choose?

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