What color highlights last the longest? This answer from a colorist may surprise you

pensive woman holds hair with highlights

  • The color of highlights that lasts the longest is the color the bleached strands reach when you get highlights. Because highlights are permanent.
  • That is to say, the strands where you applied highlights don’t return to their natural color.
  • Now, if you tone your highlights after getting them, you should have a maintenance routine to make the color of your highlights last longer.


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Surprised? I imagine so.

Because  the truth is that the highlights color that lasts the longest is the color the strands got to where you bleached your hair. 


That’s right. You get highlights by bleaching your hair.

For example:

If your hair is brown 4 and you apply highlights, you will reach a light blonde 8.

And  that will be the highlighted color that lasts the longest, because the change is permanent. 


That is, the hair where you got highlights never returns to normal. Therefore, in those sections your hair will never go back to brown.

The same will happen if your hair is a dark blonde 6 and you apply highlights to get to an extra light blonde 10. The color that will last the longest in your highlights will be an extra light blonde 10.

hairdresser rinsing bleaching product from highlights

The trouble is, most of the time when you get highlights, you also get harsh colors like yellow or orange.

So in order to get an even, smooth color in the highlights, you use toner, which eliminates the harsh colors.

 If you want to maintain the effect of the toner,  you can use violet, blue, or green shampoo, depending on the color you neutralized in your highlights.


For example, Adriana, one of my clients, started getting highlights in her dark blonde hair to hide her gray hair. So, using the cap technique to do the highlights, I separated certain sections of her hair and bleached them.

After rinsing out the bleach mixture, her highlights were very light blonde. That’s the color her highlights got to with the bleach, and that color is permanent. Therefore, it lasts the longest.


But since Adriana wanted to hide her gray hair, I applied an ash blonde toner. Therefore, her highlights became a very light ash blonde. And that color is the one that will gradually fade with washing.

However, her highlights will always stay a very light blonde.

That’s why I said that the highlights color that lasts the longest is the color that your highlights get to during bleaching. If you apply toner on your highlights, the color will last more or less depending on your hair care routine.

And that’s what I’ll talk about next.


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How to keep the color of your highlights longer

golden highlights on dark hair

The truth is that the color maintenance routine for highlights is very similar to the care routine for colored hair. Because both dye and toner deposit artificial pigments in the hair.

These are pigments that fade very gradually, losing their intensity and shine.

If you want your highlights to last longer, take note:

  •  Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner . Sulfates are detergents that dry out your hair and fade the color of your highlights.
  •  Once a week, wash your hair with a toning shampoo.  Toning shampoo will only act on your highlights, eliminating those harsh colors. If your highlights are ash-colored, use blue shampoo. If your highlights are pearly, use purple shampoo.
  •  Wash your hair less often than normal and with warm to cold water . You can wash your hair up to three times a week. And if your hair is oily, you can alternate with a dry wash.
  •  If you use a hair dryer or straightener to style your hair , apply a heat protector.



Now you know that the highlights color that lasts the longest is the one that your hair gets to during the bleaching process. That color change is permanent.

Therefore, if you apply toner to your highlights, you should maintain the color with a proper hair care routine to make it last longer.

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