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How Long Does It Really Take to Get Highlights? (2024)

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If you’re considering getting highlights for your hair, it’s important to understand the process and how long it may take. Getting highlights is a great way to update your look without committing fully to a new color.

But before you start making plans with your stylist, let’s explore the different types of highlighting techniques available and what factors can influence the overall time needed for this service.

Key Takeaways

how long does it take to get highlights

  • Processing times for highlights can vary from 2-4 hours depending on technique and color selection, with foil highlights being best for dark hair and cap technique creating a subtle, natural look.
  • Hair type, length, and porosity impact processing times, with shorter lengths requiring less product for highlighting.
  • Proper maintenance is necessary for long-lasting, vibrant results, including regular touch-ups every few months, using color-safe shampoo and conditioner, and avoiding excessive heat.
  • Working with an experienced colorist is important for achieving natural and long-lasting results, with highlights costing anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the type, length, and texture of hair.

Hair Colorist Consultation

Hair Colorist Consultation
You’re ready to take the plunge and get some highlights, but you may be curious about how much time it will take. Before taking that first step, it’s important to meet with an experienced hair colorist who can determine the exact processing time based on your hair’s length, base color, and technique.

This initial consultation typically takes around 30 minutes as your stylist evaluates factors such as the desired effect of highlights or balayage style selection for the best results. Your professional experience should be tailored to achieve a look that is both flattering and low maintenance over time while also considering at-home care like shampooing frequency or the use of restorative treatments such as conditioning masks or oils needed throughout the journey.

When selecting colors in tandem with a professional expert, they can advise you on what shades would work well together depending upon natural tone accuracy in order for an even blend after application is complete.

This process alone could add up additional minutes onto your appointment when choosing from multiple hues or playing within different tones ranges versus sticking to one solid shade altogether.

Processing times vary between two hours upwards four hours, so understanding which techniques are right for you ahead of booking helps ensure less wait once arriving on the day of service! Lastly, always ask questions prior if unsure about anything before settling into the chair during the initial visit.

Types of Highlights

Types of Highlights
Highlights can be a great way to add dimension and lighten up your hair color. Depending on the type of highlights you choose, there are several factors that come into play, such as the foil highlight technique, cap method, hair type and length, porosity of your hair, and how much processing is needed during the dyeing process.

It’s important to consider these things before deciding what kind of highlights work best for you.

Foil Highlights

Foiling is the best way to achieve stunning highlights on dark hair or darker shades of hair – let’s get those locks looking luminous! Colorists use this highlighting technique, which separates strands with foil, allowing for more precise application.

Base color and porosity are important factors when determining how long it will take in a salon. Lighter colors usually process faster than darker ones. An experienced colorist can help you pick the right shade to avoid brassy tones and ensure that your look lasts as long as possible.

Cap Technique (also Called the Cap Method)

Letting your stylist paint highlights onto your hair with the cap technique creates a subtle, natural look that’s perfect for hiding gray or white hairs. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking partial highlight coverage while choosing from various color selections.

The highlighting process takes time and should be done by an experienced professional to get the best results. Depending on your hair’s length and base color, it can take anywhere from two to three hours or longer.

During this time, you must sit still to ensure proper application of color across each strand of hair.

Hair care after coloring is necessary too. Use specialized shampoo and conditioners, as well as protective measures such as wrapping up at night before bedtime.

Hair Type, Hair Length, and Porosity

Your hair type, length, and porosity can determine how quickly your highlights will be ready. Porosity levels vary from person to person depending on their hair texture. Bleaching time for darker shades of hair may take longer than lighter colored strands.

Color selection is important as it impacts the amount of time needed in the salon chair. Heat protection throughout styling helps preserve highlights. Different types of haircuts, such as short or long layers, also factor into processing times, which range anywhere between two hours and five hours based on experience level.

With Curl Centric’s help, it’s essential that stylists are experienced when dealing with different types of hair colors so clients receive quality results without sacrificing much-needed time out from their day-to-day lives.

They deserve beautiful color without hassle! Hair length plays a role too; shorter lengths often require less highlighting product since less area needs coverage.

The Hair Dying Process

Once you’ve settled on a shade, it’s time to start the hair-dying process with your experienced colorist. First, they’ll select the right color based on your base color and desired look. Then, depending on what type of highlights you want and how long or short your hair is, they will begin foiling or capping sections for bleaching.

After that comes toning, which may take anywhere from 5-30 minutes or more if fashion colors are involved in the mix! Finally, those with short hair should expect their highlights to be done within an hour, while those with longer locks could spend up to 3 hours in total perfecting their new style!

Professional hairstylists can help guide you through this entire journey, ensuring beautiful results every step of the way!

How to Take Care of Your Highlights

How to Take Care of Your Highlights
Taking care of your highlights doesn’t have to be hard. With the right washing, products, and touch-ups, you can keep them looking great. Washing with color-safe shampoo helps protect against fading. Using a deep conditioner once or twice a week will add back needed moisture.

Regular touch-ups every few months are necessary for long-lasting, vibrant results.


After your highlights are complete, it’s important to wait two days before washing your hair to ensure they last as long as possible. To maximize their longevity, use a conditioner specifically designed for color-treated hair.

Select a heat protection product when styling with hot tools. Root touch-ups should occur every 6-8 weeks depending on the type of highlights you’ve chosen. Scalp care is essential for maintaining natural color in gray or dark hair. Blonde or curly-haired folks should opt for purple shampoo to prevent brassiness.

All types of highlighted tresses require extra hydration from nourishing masks or deep conditioning treatments. Regular trims and avoiding excessive heat will also help protect against damage.


To keep your highlights looking their best, it’s important to invest in the right products. You have a range of highlighting tools at your disposal, from color selection to hair care and touch-ups. Color maintenance is key. Use nourishing products for healthy hair that will retain its color longer.

Well-placed foils or your own highlights can be achieved in the stylist’s chair, depending on your hair’s length and texture. Basic highlights take two hours, while more complex ones such as balayage can take up to three hours plus processing time for bleach or toner if needed.

Investing in quality products designed specifically for highlighted strands helps maintain vibrant hues between salon visits!


Keep your highlights looking fresh by scheduling regular touch-ups – you won’t regret it! Hair care and maintenance tips from an experienced colorist are essential for maintaining the look. Depending on individual needs, corrective color, fashion colors, complex highlights like balayage or ombre will take longer to finish in a stylist’s chair than basic highlights.

To properly maintain hair length and sectioning of highlighted areas is important when time comes for touch-up visits. Your colorist can advise what frequency best suits your specific situation depending on the type of highlight chosen in order to get desired results that last long term with minimal damage to hair strands.

Factors Affecting the Time It Takes to Get Highlights

Factors Affecting the Time It Takes to Get Highlights
When considering how long it takes to get highlights, there are several factors that can affect the overall time needed. For a full head of highlights, this could take anywhere from two to four hours depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

Foil highlighting typically takes between one and three hours for completion, while partial highlight processing may only require an hour or so. Balayage is often more intricate in nature and can range from two to five hours.

How Long Does a Full Head of Highlights Take?

You won’t be twiddling your thumbs for hours on end when it comes to a full head of highlights; the process typically takes between two and three hours. Depending on color selection, base color, hair type, technique selection, and even the experience level of your stylist, you may need extra time in the chair.

Longer length or darker shades often require more processing time, as well as additional dry time.

How Long Does It Take to Get Foil Highlights?

Discover how quickly you can flaunt fresh, foiled highlights! The Foil Technique is the best way to achieve vibrant color variations on dark hair. Depending on the porosity and length of your locks, sitting in a stylist’s chair may take longer than expected.

Hair must be separated with Saran wrap or other types of materials before the application process, and the processing time of the bleach also varies.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Partial Highlight?

Heading to the salon for partial highlights? Depending on your natural hair color, length, and desired look, you could be in for a few hours of pampering. Lightening techniques like balayage or foiling require careful hair preparation and selection of shades that flatter your complexion.

To ensure healthy locks with gray coverage, it’s critical to meet an experienced stylist who can assess what actual processing time is necessary.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Balayage?

If you’re considering a balayage, anticipate spending several hours with your stylist to achieve the desired look. The amount of highlights and techniques used will vary depending on hair porosity, texture, and length.

A good idea is to start by scheduling a color consultation so that the right amount of time can be allocated in the stylist’s chair. Depending on these factors along with your desired outcome, it may take three or more hours for full coverage balayage highlights as opposed to simpler styles which require less time overall.

How Long Does It Take to Highlight Black Hair?

Getting highlights on black hair can take up to three hours, but with the right technique and an experienced stylist, you could be done in as little as one hour! Factors like balayage time, hair porosity, hair length, and the type of dye used all affect processing time.

Kenneth Byrd recommends using cool water when rinsing out the product for a whole head of highlights. Corrective color or fashion colors add more time to the reason highlights are desired.

How Often You Should Get Highlights

How Often You Should Get Highlights
Revitalize your look with regular highlights — you’ll be amazed at the transformation! But how often should you get them? It depends on a variety of factors, including your hair care routine, color theory, and maintenance.

As a good rule of thumb, most people will need touch-ups between 30 to 60 days after their initial application. However, some may be able to wait longer if they have less time or prefer not to spend too much money.

Your stylist’s sectioning technique can also affect how long it takes for touch-ups.

To determine when you should schedule your next appointment for highlights maintenance, consider the following table:

Hair Type Touch-Up Frequency
Fine Hair Every 6-8 weeks
Medium-Thick Hair Every 8-10 weeks
Curly/Coarse Hair Every 10-12 weeks

Hair porosity can also play a role in determining how often you need touch-ups. If your hair has high porosity (meaning it absorbs dye quickly), then expect more frequent visits to maintain optimal results.

Additionally, staying mindful about choosing the most flattering shades and using proper styling techniques will help extend the life of your highlights so that they remain vibrant and fresh-looking until it’s time for another visit.

By taking these steps regularly as part of an overall hair care routine, you’ll enjoy beautiful locks that make heads turn wherever you go without spending hours in front of a mirror every day!

Tips for Taking Care of Highlighted Hair

Tips for Taking Care of Highlighted Hair
To keep your highlights looking vibrant, you’ll need to devote some time and effort to proper maintenance. Working with a skilled hair colorist is the best way to ensure that they last as long as possible.

Your stylist can help you choose the right highlight shade and technique for your hair type, such as foil highlights or the cap technique.

Make sure that they section off each area properly. This includes behind the ears, around temples at the back of the head, top of the head at crown, and nape areas, which are all important when it comes to highlighting sections correctly.

After mixing up your formula correctly, allow enough processing time before washing out (which should be done no sooner than two days after application).

For blonde shades, try using purple-tinted shampoo, which helps prevent brassiness over continued washes. Remember, regular conditioning treatments are great for maintaining healthy, hydrated locks – something any highlighted look needs! When it comes down to styling products, opt away from heat tools whenever possible since these will cause fading much quicker than expected.

With these tips in mind, anyone can keep their gorgeous highlighted locks looking fresh week after week without too much hustle or hassle involved – now isn’t that a great way?

At-Home Highlighting Options

At-Home Highlighting Options
With the right supplies and a few tips from experts, you can have beautiful highlights in the comfort of your own home. At-home highlighting kits are available for purchase, allowing you to save money on salon costs while still achieving stunning results.

However, it is important to be aware of bleaching risks associated with at-home highlighting. Selecting a color that is too light or using products that contain harsh chemicals can lead to damaged hair and scalp irritation.

It’s also essential to utilize proper tools for at-home highlighting, such as sectioning clips or a stylist’s cap and foils/strafoam sheets for separating highlights within each section. This ensures even application when coloring small sections across your head, which helps give desired results without over-processing areas.

With all these factors taken into account, you should also remember that maintaining healthy hair will help retain color longer than damaged locks would. By properly caring after dyeing, like avoiding heat styling tools, wrapping up your strands while sleeping, nourishing treatments, etc.

How to Make Highlights Last Longer

How to Make Highlights Last Longer
You may think you don’t have time for proper maintenance of your highlights, but with a few extra steps and some TLC they’ll last longer than ever!

To make sure that your highlighted hair remains vibrant and healthy, start by investing in protective styling to keep any heat damage at bay. Heat protection sprays are an essential tool in the kit of any highlighting enthusiast.

Additionally, it’s important to use color-safe shampoo and conditioner when washing your hair.

Furthermore, when visiting a stylist for corrective color or fashion colors services like full head bleaching take more space on each section which also means spending longer amount of time at the salon chair compared to regular highlight appointments.

Different factors need consideration such as porosity level or existing damage caused by chemical treatments before applying bleach onto entire scalp area. Make sure you consult with experienced hair colorists about their sectioning techniques before making an appointment so they can properly assess how long would be needed for processing based on individual needs without compromising results quality afterwards.

Taking these precautions will ensure that all effort invested during visit isn’t wasted after one wash cycle due to improper care down the road. If done correctly, we’re confident that beautiful locks won’t require frequent touch ups anymore.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much do highlights typically cost?

Highlights can cost anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on the type of highlights and the length and texture of your hair. For more complex techniques like balayage or ombre, prices may be higher. Your hairstylist will provide an estimate after discussing with you the look you want to achieve.

What kind of maintenance do I need to do to keep my highlights looking good?

To maintain the great look of your highlights, use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner, avoid using heat styling tools, wrap your hair at night to protect it from friction damage, and nourish it with hydrating treatments.

Are highlights damaging to my hair?

Highlights can be damaging to your hair, especially if not done properly. For instance, bleaching can cause breakage and dryness in the hair. Consulting with an experienced colorist is crucial to ensure that highlights are applied correctly and do not cause any damage.

Are there any at-home highlight kits available?

Yes, there are at-home highlight kits available. You can find them in beauty supply stores or online. However, it’s best to work with a professional stylist for the most natural and long-lasting results.

What is the best way to decide on a highlight shade?

The best way to decide on a highlight shade is to consult an experienced hair colorist and discuss your desired look. Consider the natural color of your hair, along with any existing damage or texture.

Your stylist can help you find a shade that will complement and enhance your unique style while protecting the integrity of your locks.


Getting highlights is more than just a beauty routine—it’s an investment in yourself. With the right care and maintenance, highlights can last for months, making you look and feel your best.

As with any hair color service, it’s important to consult with an experienced hair colorist to discuss the best technique and maintenance routine for your individual hair type. With the right colorist, you can achieve beautiful highlights that will make you look and feel more confident.

For example, one of our clients was able to achieve a stunning balayage look that lasted for over three months with the help of her experienced colorist. With the right preparation and maintenance, you too can enjoy beautiful, long-lasting highlights.

So, how long does it take to get highlights? The answer depends on the technique used and the amount of hair being highlighted. Generally, a full head of highlights can take anywhere from two to four hours, while partial highlights can take one to two hours.

However, it’s important to remember that the time it takes to get highlights is just a small part of the overall process. The real investment is in the care and maintenance of your highlights to ensure they last as long as possible.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.