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How Long Do Highlights Take To Do?

Have you ever wondered how long it would take to get highlights? If the thought of sitting in a salon chair for hours on end has you feeling overwhelmed, then this blog post is perfect for you.

How long do highlights take to do? I’m going to let you know the steps for having highlights done at the hair salon, so you know how long it’ll take to get done, depending on the length of your hair.

How Long Do Highlights Take To Do?

What Exactly Are Highlights For Your Hair?

Highlights for hair are a form of hair coloring which involves applying lighter shades to strands of your natural color.

This technique is used to create an accentuated look to add dimension and texture throughout the hair. Highlights can be subtle and light, or more dramatic with bolder shades that stand out from the color of your hair.

Depending on the style you’d like to achieve, techniques such as balayage, ombre or chunky highlights can be applied to create a look that suits you best.

The first step in getting your highlights, is discussing with your stylist what kind of color palette will look good for you based on your skin tone, eye color and overall desired outcome, and the type of highlights you want.

A skilled professional who knows all about using foil wraps should then separate your hair into sections before deciding how many foils are necessary and properly wrapping them up with bleach or dye depending upon what hues you’ve chosen.

You may also wish for some areas left out completely while other parts dyed more than once to get deeply colored hair which leaves behind nothing but bouncy hair full of life!

Depending on individual preference, highlights can either be placed at random parts throughout the head or concentrated around certain areas like bangs and framing face pieces.

There are also various ways highlights can be applied, such as foil-free styles where dyes are simply painted onto strands instead of being wrapped up tightly inside foils.

This results in a softer yet more vibrant hue which produces a delicate gradient effect rather than an intense one produced by traditional highlights.

What Are The Different Types Of Hair Highlights You Can Have Done?

One of the most popular types of highlights: traditional foils. These involve applying color to individual sections of hair, then wrapping them in foil to process.

They provide an evenly distributed and consistent lightening effect from root to tip.

Balayage is another intriguing option that offers natural-looking results. Instead of using foils, colorists paint on the highlight by hand in sweeping motions along the surface of your strands.

This technique creates soft and sun-kissed streaks that mimic the effects of spending time outdoors in sunlight.

If you want an edgy style that stands out from the crowd, peekaboo highlights might be just what you need.

These are placed underneath layers of hair so they ‘peek’ out as you move. It’s a fun way to add bold colors into your look without overwhelming your overall style.

Micro-linking or ‘baby lights’ is another approach for those who love finer details.

This method involves highlighting very thin sections of hair to create subtler, more natural-looking results than traditional highlighting methods.

Factors that Affect How Long it Takes to Get Highlights

How Long Do Highlights Take To Do?

The duration of the highlight process can vary depending on a few factors. In general, you can expect to spend somewhere between 1 and 3 hours at the salon for highlights.

Let’s break it down:

  • Extent of Highlighting:
  • Partial Highlights: If you’re going for partial highlights, where only certain sections of your hair are lightened, the process could be completed within an hour or so.
  • Full Highlights: On the other hand, if you’re getting full highlights, which involve covering your entire head, it might take closer to two or three hours.
  • Hair Length and Thickness:
  • Short or Thin Hair: If you have shorter or thinner hair, the highlighting process typically takes less time because there’s less hair to work with.
  • Long or Thick Hair: However, if you have long or thick hair, expect more time needed for getting highlights due to the extra volume.

The above times include both application and processing. But remember, these timelines don’t account for any extra hair care treatments like toning or deep conditioning that may follow highlighting.

Factors that Affect How Long it Takes to Get Highlights

The length and thickness of your hair play a significant role. If you have long or thick hair, it means more work for your stylist to separate and foil each section.

This can add quite a bit of time compared to someone with shorter or thinner hair.

The look you’re aiming for impacts the amount of time required. For instance, if you want only a few subtle highlights in your hair, this process will go much quicker than if you desire a full head of dramatic highlights.

The latter involves highlighting smaller sections throughout all layers of your hair, which is more intricate and time-consuming.

The condition of your hair also matters. If your hair are damaged or overly processed from previous color treatments, extra care must be taken to avoid hair damage during the highlighting process.

This might involve some extra steps like deep conditioning before applying color.

Lastly, not all highlight techniques take the same amount of time. Traditional foil highlights generally take longer than newer methods like balayage or ombre since they require careful placement and wrapping in foils.

What to Expect When Getting Highlights at the Salon

To help you prepare, here are some key points you should expect when getting highlights at the salon:

  • Consultation: Your stylist will likely start with a consultation. This is where you can discuss your desired outcome, and they’ll suggest the best approach based on your hair type, color, and condition.
  • Preparation: After consultation comes preparation. Your stylist will mix the bleach or hair dye in the right shade for your highlights.
  • Application & Processing: The application process involves applying the color to selected strands of hair using foils. Depending on how many highlights you’re getting and their placement, this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. Then comes processing time – letting the color develop – which can range from 15 minutes to more than an hour.
  • Rinsing & Styling: Once processing time is up, your stylist will rinse out the product and often follow with a toner or conditioner treatment before blow-drying and styling as desired.

Remember that everyone’s experience differs – some people might spend less than two hours while others may be there for four or more hours depending on various factors like hair length and thickness. 

Can You Get Highlights on Short Hair Faster?

Can You Get Highlights on Short Hair Faster?

Hair length is a significant factor in determining how long the highlighting process will take.

In general, short hair has fewer strands and less surface area that needs coloring, which means the stylist has less work to do.

The process of wrapping short hair in foils or using balayage techniques is typically much faster than for those with long hair.

Short hairstyles also allow for easier access to all areas of your head, meaning your stylist won’t have to spend a little time separating layers or working through thick sections of hair.

However, don’t mistake less time for an easy job! Stylists need a keen eye and precise hand when applying highlights on shorter styles.

They must ensure not only even application but also avoid color bleeding onto parts where highlights aren’t intended – a task that can prove tricky due to the proximity of individual strands.

So yes, getting highlights on short hair can potentially be quicker – but remember, quality should never be compromised for speed! It still requires skill and patience from your stylist. 

How Long Does Balayage Take Compared to Foil Highlights?

Balayage is a freehand painting technique that originated in France. Stylists apply color directly onto your hair without using foils or caps.

This method creates a more natural-looking gradient effect with less noticeable regrowth lines than traditional highlighting techniques.

However, because of its meticulous nature, balayage can take longer than other methods. On average, expect your salon visit for a full head of balayage to last between two and three hours.

On the flip side, we have foil highlights, which involves separating strands of hair and wrapping them in foil after applying color.

This method allows for more precise placement and typically results in more uniformed streaks of color throughout your hair compared to balayage.

Foil highlighting is generally quicker as well; depending on the stylist’s speed and how many foils are being applied, you could be looking at anywhere from one to two hours for a full head.

Both techniques have their unique aesthetic appeals and durations largely depend on factors like hair length, thickness and desired outcome.

So when weighing up ‘how long does balayage take compared to foil highlights’, remember that while foil might be faster process-wise, balayage could potentially save you time in the long run with less frequent touch-ups required due to its softer regrowth lines.

How Do Highlights Last, And How Can You Make Them Last Longer?

Highlights can typically last between 6 and 8 weeks depending on how well you take care of them. However, with diligent upkeep and some smart hair-care practices, you can make sure that your highlights last longer.

Here are a few tips to help maintain your luminous hair:

  • Invest in Color-Safe Shampoo and Conditioner: These products are designed specifically for colored hair. They help prevent fading and keep your highlights looking bright and shiny.
  • Avoid Excessive Heat: Try to minimize the use of hot styling tools as they can cause color fade. When possible, let your hair air dry or use heat protectant sprays when styling.
  • Limit Sun Exposure: Just like skin, excessive sun exposure can damage your hair and fade its color. So don’t forget to wear a hat or apply UV protection spray on sunny days.
  • Stay Hydrated: Dry hair can look dull and make color look faded. Keep it hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using hydrating hair masks regularly.

Taking these steps will not only ensure that your highlights last longer, but also that they continue to look their best until it’s time for touch-ups.

Can You Wash Your Hair After Getting Highlights?

Can You Wash Your Hair After Getting Highlights?

When you’ve just gotten highlights done in your hair, rushing to rinse them out could potentially lead to disappointment.

Your stylist has spent considerable time choosing the perfect shades and meticulously applying them. Do not to disturb this process by washing too soon.

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you wait at least 48 hours before washing your hair post-highlighting. This allows the color ample time to settle into your strands properly.

Now, when it comes to how you should wash your hair after those 48 hours have passed – remember gentleness is essential.

Use a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for colored hair; these products are typically less harsh and help maintain the vibrancy of your highlights longer.

Another point worth noting is water temperature – warm water can strip away color faster than cooler temperatures. So, try keeping it cool while washing highlighted hair.

Lastly, think about how often you’re cleansing those hair. Over-washing can fade highlights quickly; aim for two or three times per week at most if you want to keep your hair looking salon-fresh for longer.


Highlights are a great way to add dimension and texture to your hair. The duration of highlights can vary, from one hour for partial highlights to two or three hours for full highlights, depending on the type you choose and your individual head of hair.

Highlights that involve foil wrapping generally take longer than more modern techniques like balayage or ombre.

After getting highlights at the salon, wait at least 48 hours before washing them out with color-safe shampoo and cool water to ensure the best results last as long as possible.

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