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Should You Highlight or Get Single Process Color?

I rundown your options and your best bets

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single-process-hair-color.jpg

Here is an example of single process hair color

ONOKY for Getty Images an-example-of-highlighting-hair.jpg

An example of hair with foil highlights

Photodisc for Getty Images

When it comes to hair color, you basically have 3 options: highlighting, single-process color or double process. Here are a few tips to help you sort out the best option for your hair.

To Color or to Highlight, That's the Question

If you have a great base hair tone, you're better off with highlights. You don't want to mess with nature; what you want to do is enhance it. If your base color washes out your skin tone or is "blah," consider single-process color. Single-process color is cheaper than highlights.

Highlights look best when the stylist uses at least two different shades. Ask for more around your face, they can brighten your complexion.

"With highlights, your colorist should be using more than one color, not just bleach. Great highlights should be layered to produce tonal variations. There should be lights, mediums and darks to create depth and translucence in the hair. Highlighting should be like painting a masterpiece and you can’t do that with just one color," says stylist Darren Anderson on his Website.

Keep in mind that due to root growth, all-over coloring will need to be touched up every four to eight weeks, while highlights can last up to two or three months. Ask your stylist about a gloss treatment following your color. Gloss boosts color and makes hair shinier.

You're Going for Highlights, But Which Kind?

There are basically 4 types of highlights: basic foil highlights, baliage or "hair painting," chunking or "piecing" and lowlighting.

Foil highlights add strands of color to hair. You can get up to 5 different shades in hair for a more natural look.

Balayage, or "hair painting," allows the stylist to add natural stripes of color to hair in large or smaller swaths. This is best for women with a great base color who want to go just a couple shades lighter. You won't need to get roots touched up as much with baliage as you do foils.

Lowlighting allows the stylist to add darker shades to hair. This gives color more contrast.

Should You Do Your Color At Home Yourself?

I know a few fashion editors who are so busy, they color their own hair at home. The good news is home-color kits have come a long way in the past few years. If you want a drastic change, don't do it yourself. Definitely go to a professional. But if you are dying your hair 2 shades lighter or darker than its natural state, you can do your own color.

Some great hair coloring kits include:

L'Oreal Natural Match Hair Color Compare Prices and Clairol Nice and Easy Compare Prices.

Learn more about doing your own color in Should You Color Your Own Hair?

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