Are Highlights Safe For African American Hair 

Highlights on African American Hair

Highlights on Hair

“Are highlights safe for black hair” ¬†is one of the many questions that come up with the arrival of spring and summer. ¬†Highlights are safe for black hair if the following things are considered:

  • Have you had your hair ends trimmed recently?
  • Have you had a conditioning treatment done prior to having highlights done?
  • Have you taken care not to apply hot tools without a heat sealant?
  • Have you been eating your veggies?
  • The color level
  • The person doing the color has experience doing highlights on black hair
  • The client has had a metallic color before
  • Has the hair has been chemically treated

Have You Had Your Ends Trimmed Recently?

This applies whether your hair is natural or chemically treated.  Hair that has split ends causes the color to bleed or just get more damaged.  If the hair is lightened to say a blonde, the hair will actually break off.  Having the hair trimmed prior to highlighting is best so that it will be safe on black hair.

Have You Had A Conditioning Treatment Done?

Have you had a hair treatment applied and heated for deep penetration to get the hair soft and conditioned?  Conditioning the hair prior to a color (say a week) is recommended to give it some conditioners and repair the hair structure.  After the color, regular bi-weekly treatments will have to be done.  Failure to do so will cause hair to weaken.

Have You Been Eating Your Veggies?

This question is the one most clients avoid.  Many people spend hundreds of dollars on products but neglect to ensure they are eating properly.  Products will helpРto a point, but work only in conjunction with good eating habits.   After the color is done, this becomes even more important as the hair structure has been changed.

Have you taken care not to apply hot tools without a heat sealant?

Blow drying the hair without a heat sealant causes heat damage.  If color is applied also, there  will be greater  damage to the hair.  There are various products that stop this happening like mousses or styling lotions.

Color Level

When the color chosen is within 1-2 levels of the clients natural hair color, then it works well.  If the client wants to be ultra light blonde, then a lot of work is involved.  Some stages in the lightening process take like forever to go past and sometimes cannot be done the same day.

The person doing the color has experience doing color on black hair

The person doing the color should have experience doing this type of hair because each persons hair reacts to color differently.  For lighter colors, the hair can lighten much faster than expected in some cases.  For reds, having too light a base makes it difficult for the color to hold.

 The client has had a metallic color before

Salon color will not take if the client has had a metallic color like a henna.  In fact, the color will just give a muddy cast to the hair so care has to be taken.  This type of color also does not lighten so a blonde is near impossible unless there is some untouched regrowth.  The result is hair with an unattractive two-toned look.

Has the hair has been chemically treated

Doing highlights on black hair that has been chemically treated with a relaxer or color makes its structure  weaker and it  will  lighten much quicker.  If it has been treated with a relaxer, care has to be taken with timing for blondes.  Treatments are a must in this case.


By Paula Barker