The Best Highlights for Your Hair Type

by Victoria Kirby

You choose your shampoo and conditioner based on your hair type. Same goes for your styling products and sometimes even your brushes and hot tools. But did you know that there are several different types of salon highlights, each of which flatters certain hair types or shades? Neither did we, until we spoke with colorist Jet Rhys of Jet Rhys Hair Salon in San Diego. She breaks down the lingo and offers tips on what to ask for at the salon.

Foil highlights. Even if you’ve never had highlights, you’re probably familiar with this approach. It’s ideal for women with fine hair, since the dye bulks up strands, while the increased dimension creates the illusion of fuller hair.

Balayage. Want highlights that don’t look like, well, highlights? This technique, in which the dye is painted on by hand (meaning no foils), is especially flattering on women with curly or wavy hair to create natural-looking streaks. On each section of hair, the color is applied lightly at the roots and gradually gets brighter toward the ends, which mimics the way hair would be lightened by the sun. It also makes for less obvious roots as the color grows out.

Slicing. When you really don’t want to look like you’ve been to a salon, this is the most subtle way to brighten your shade. These super-thin highlights are woven under the top layer of hair so the color peeks through. They’re a great option for someone who doesn’t want to be in the salon every six weeks for touch-ups, since there are no obvious roots as the color grows out.

Ribbons. Also called “blue ribbon highlights,” these are ideal for natural blondes. The highlights are created with a tint instead of bleach, so they’re gentler on the hair and create a less intense shade of blonde.