After a TON of requests over the past few months to share a DIY Hair Highlighting tutorial on my Instagram stories– Here’s a detailed guide AND video on how to highlight your own hair at home!
If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments below. My husband Aaron has been highlighting my hair using this foil weave technique for almost 8 years! We’ll call it the Crossley Highlighting Tutorial because we have NO idea if this is how hair is done in legit salons, haha.
Is my husband a hair stylist? No. Does he have any training with hair? None. We YouTubed a few videos and tried to write down any relevant notes before we took the plunge. In all transparency, we were a broke grad- student family diving into years of student loans. I didn’t buy the best shampoo & conditioner. I certainly wasn’t going to spend more than $5 on a can of hair spray. Spending $150 on highlighting my hair every 6-8 weeks was definitely not in the budget. And more importantly, I didn’t want to afford it because I always came home a bit disappointed with the color. And when we have SO MUCH INFORMATION at our fingertips because the internet makes knowledge incredibly accessible, I knew we could learn to do almost anything. I’m self-taught with photography, cooking & baking, I made a fondant wedding cake and, y’all, it was 3 tiers and SO much fun, painted all the furniture in my last home, learning design, learning social media, learning blogging, etc.. Everything I have ever done started with the Google search bar.
I have been so excited to show you how to highlight your hair from your own home. OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: Your hair may touch every color of the rainbow in your efforts to learn the best way to highlight your own hair. My hair has been pink, purple, orange, yellow, etc.. ALL by accident as we were figuring out this hair highlighting business. I never read a tutorial from someone who had the color hair I wanted. I only watched tutorials featuring people highlighting their own hair by themselves, doing just a few foils. Here is my best alternative to the salon featuring my BEST TIPS since I love a nice icey blonde, partial highlight. Hope you love it too!
Products You’ll Need:
- Foils (cut in half– lengthwise)
- Developer (I mix equal parts 20 + 30– I like 25)
- Toner (mix with 20 developer)
- Mixing Bowl
- Highlighting Comb
- Hair Clips
This is how we do it. There are lots of other ways, but this works for us at this point. Also, these steps are pretty tough to explain with words (I wish I had filmed my husband and I trying to figure out some of these descriptions for you guys…we sounded like 5-year-olds describing something complicated they know nothing about), so look at the photos and watch the video below to help. Drop your questions in comments! And know that I love y’all so very much! haha
- Prepare Bleach. Mix bleach and developer in mixing bowl. Follow instructions on your bleach. I use 60mL of each.
- Section Hair. Separate hair into 4 sections using a highlighting comb. The top section is divided into a front & back section. The sides are sectioned about an inch behind the ear up to where it meets the top section. Use 4 clips to secure each section.
- Highlight. Begin with top-front section. Weave a thin slice of hair, clip remaining section again, place foil tightly tucked against scalp and underneath the slice. Paint hair against the foil with mixed bleach, just enough to cover the hair you want highlighted. Don’t overlap if your hair is already highlighted, only bleach new growth and a little beyond to blend.
- Weave, Throw, Weave, Highlight. After the first highlighted slice, weave another thin slice of hair, let it go (or “throw it down” as Aaron likes to say) weave a second slice, clip the remaining hairs in the section again, and highlight that slice only. Continue this until the entire top section is complete.
- Highlight Sides. We’ve found it works best to have the slices and foils go almost vertically for the sides. I say almost vertically because it’s actually at an angle going from front to back. First cut a small foil to bleach baby hairs in sideburn area. Bleach face framing hairs. Weave vertical section and bleach. Then start the same process as before, weave, throw, weave, bleach. Continue going toward the back until you get through the section. Repeat for the other side.
- Let it Process and Check. The bleach will give time recommendations. We used to use heat to make it process faster, but that’s an easy way to over-process or damage your hair, so now we just wait. This cream bleach doesn’t take as long as the previous bleach power I’ve always used. We have learned what my hair should look like when it’s ready. This was one of the trickier parts to learn by trial and error. Since I like my hair a cool blonde, we leave the foils in until the hair looks almost white under the bleach. If it still looks yellow, we leave it in. Aaron will check a few areas in each section. Once a section is ready, we remove those foils and leave in other sections until they’re also ready. Lately, I haven’t kept track of time, but best guess is about 45 minutes to get to the shade I like. And we typically remove all foils within 5-10 minutes from when we take out the top section foils.
- Shampoo and Condition Hair. Rinse your hair under warm water for 3-4 minutes. Then, I wash with my regular shampoo to make sure all bleach is out. I’ll wash a 2nd time with my purple shampoo, leaving in for less than 60 seconds. Following up with my regular conditioner. I don’t use a toner.
- Style and Enjoy!
FAVORITE HAIR PRODUCTS!
- Favorite Repairing Shampoo & Condition – HERE
- Favorite Moisturizing SHAMPOO + CONDITIONER
- Favorite Purple Shampoo – HERE (1x/ week)
- Favorite Hair Repair Mask- HERE (apply to wet hair + leave overnight)
- Detangling Brush – HERE (“pro” is best!)
- Favorite Curling Iron – HERE (1.25″)
- Favorite Hair Dryer – HERE
- Favorite Texturizing Spray – HERE
- Favorite Hair Spray – HERE
- Favorite Dry Shampoo – HERE
- Favorite Hair Tie – HERE
- Favorite Hair Growth- HERE
Do you not use a toner? Lol I think I’m gonna get my boyfriend to start this ! 😬
Hi Raena, I have definitely used a toner in the past. We’ve finally gotten to where the color comes out consistently every time, so I don’t anymore. But toners have saved us sooo many times! Ha! Good luck!
Hi! I just did my own hair and the top is sooooo brassy what do u do to lift it more ? Obviously I didn’t keep it in long enough 🙁
Definitely use a toner! Either a purple shampoo toner (i think I linked it) or buy a toner and follow the directions. The brassiness could be from a number of problems.. Was the developer high enough? sorry girl!
Brassiness is a problem, and usually one of two or a combination of both.
It’s simple, you didn’t lift it long enough.. and probably didn’t use a high enough developer.
For best results for highlighting and aiming for a higher lift blonde.
Mix with 40 volume and a thicker consistency but not to thick to where it doesn’t penetrate the cuticle layer of each strand.
10 Vol is for depositing darker shades
20 Vol is for lifting grays and depositing color
30,40,50 Vol is needed to lift darker shades of blonde and brown.
The darker the base the higher the lift.
Also.. a tip for you DIY’s @ home- using a thicker conditioner in between the foils on hair that is not highlighted helps to hold the foils in place, this way you don’t get bleeding from the foils slipping on the roots of unprocessed hair!
If you lovely ladies have any questions feel free to Email me.
Hope this helped for next time..
Stacey- Color specialist/ Licensed Cosmetologist
Stacey, I emailed you girl. The bleach is sold out on Amazon and wanted to see what you recommend.
I alway put conditioner where I don’t want color!! It has saved me from so many mishaps when my hair was super fried at the ends from going too light too fast.
Hi, thanks for this. I’m going to have a go myself at home, especially now that the hairdressers is shut during lock down – time to learn a new skill! By the way, I like the colour of lipstick you have on in the main photo – the glossy pink/rose colour do you know which lipstick this is please? Many thanks!
Hey! Thank you so much for this! I just love this idea as we are a one income family and about to have five kids 🙂 it’s helpful to save money when we can on things! Two questions:)
1. How long does it take to put the foils in? And then do you wait an additional 45ish minutes for the color to process after all foils are in? We’ve tried highlighting my hair once and I felt so much anxiety and pressure trying to get the foils in my hair quickly but it was our first time so it was NOT quick. I’m also a little afraid of not keeping the foils in the right amount of time.
2. What happened when you made mistakes? How would you fix them? Would you have to pay a professional? Or would your husband just try to redo it over?
I love your results and hope to get to that point but like I said I’m just so nervous that We will mess it up!!
Hi Heather! So in the beginning it took forever, like over 2 hours, but he’s usually done in about an hour or less now, and then I’ll wait about 45 minutes after that to process. Just keep checking in different spots to see when it’s gotten to where you want it! If it takes longer, you can take out the foils from the first section and even rinse out that hair. And when we made mistakes, I used a toner, either the same day or wait a day or two if I could, which usually made it look a lot better. I was always scared to bleach close together, so when the color didn’t come out right, or little sections weren’t highlighted well, I just used the toner and purple shampoo to make it ok. Luckily, it was never so bad that we had to reach out to anyone, but the colors have definitely been interesting over the years! You got this! Best of luck!!
Hello…your hair looks very beautifull…good job mister orthodentist 😂.
I just didnt understand what a microweave is, i watched the video and still not understand 😁
Hey Fiona- Haha, I know how confusing it must be! Trust me, it was confusing to write. ha! The micro-weave is simply when he weaved the comb in and out of a slice of hair. Hope that makes more sense!
Love the teamwork! It was fun to hear the two of you working together and it looks beautiful!
Hey Tessa- You’re seriously the sweetest!! Thanks so much, I couldn’t do it without him. xo
This is the cutest thing I have ever seen! Your husband is a doll and you are just precious! I found you when I was googling German Schmear of all things! Thanks for all that info by the way, super helpful!
Hi Kara! That’s seriously so sweet of you to say! Thank you!!
Omg, my husband has also helped me as well for over 13 years. At the time with little ones at home and with a full-time job I just did not have the time to go get my hair done at a salon. Now I just don’t trust anyone else and it’s so convenient.
Hi Kimberly! That’s awesome!! It’s seriously the best…once you get it working smoothly 😉
I have been highlighting my own hair for years it saves me so much money too. I sometimes do highlights and low lights to give a more mixed effect and have recently done a smudge root effect on myself. Just watched it on youtube and gave it a go haha. I also stand a mirror behind me in the bathroom, so i can see the back of my head. My hubby used to help me do mine when we were teenagers 🤗
Great video btw.. sending love from the uk! Xx
Hi Lauren! That’s amazing!! I don’t know how I could do it on my own… and you’re getting more complicated and fancy! Love it. And we have a special place in our hearts for people from the UK since my father in law and all of his family, and my sister in law are from there 🙂 All the best! xo
New follower 🙋🏼♀️ Over in Ft. Worth!
I’ve been highlighting my own hair for years too! Love your color! I was just about to ask you who did it. I have a similar color and I’ve tried 4 different professional “colorists” and no one can get the color …. so hope your hubs is in it for the long run! It’s such a process 🙈. Anyhow…. I tried to order the Navy Pebble Beach hair texture “code” and it isn’t working 🤷🏼♀️… have you tried it? Operator error?
I use blue shampoo and mix the developer and it makes my highlights icy
Love your hair! Wish I had someone to help me attempt this! A little off the subject, can I ask about your nail polish color? I’ve been on the hunt for a pale pink for years; I keep ending up with translucent colors or bubble gum pink.
Just to clarify, how much of each developer do you mix together and then with how much bleach?
Hey Janelle- it’s a 1:1 ratio developer: bleach! The directions on the back of the bleach will tell you what they recommend. Since I want developer 25, I mix equal parts 20 + 30. Hope that makes sense!
Hi Janene, the link above no longer links to your favorite toning shampoo. Share please… I might attempt this!
This fully inspired me as I have been researching for ages how to do my own highlights. I am happy to say my husband was willing to help me today after watching your video!! It came out surprisingly not horrific 😂😂 it’s not perfect but hey! I am stoked! Can’t wait to give it another bash! Thanks for the tips and inspo!
Hi Shelley! Oh that’s amazing!! So excited for you! And yes, it took us quite a few attempts before it was consistently good. Best of luck!
So I followed your shopping list and instructions to a T, but when you discuss mixing your products you never ever mention the toner. All you said is that you mix it with the developer…but at what point do you apply the toner and developer solution to your hair? Is that done at the same time as the highlights? Do you have to then go back after the highlights and do it all over again with the toner? I’m literally completely stuck as to why I even purchased toner to begin with and what the heck I’m supposed to do with it?
Hi! If you followed along with my videos, that’s where I’ve mentioned we will occasionally use a toner! So, always have a toner on hand (its cheap) and you will be the judge of whether or not to tone your hair. You only tone hair when it’s too brassy for your taste. That’s completely your call lol!
I’m going to try this! How does your husband blend your roots in so well without a foil line? I always end up with lines from the salon.
This is amazing he could do this! Just a note: lift does not come from developer, the lift comes from the tube and or bleach. The developer is just the catalyst. Going a high developer number will not increase lift, just the speed in which lightening happens. It has not impact over how brassy or non brassy someone will be.
So I have naturally medium brown hair and I know it will take a couple different times of lightening to get to where I want to be. But I assume I would use the same technique as you and make it so they we’re highlights then do it again in a couple months so that more and more pieces are getting lighter?
This is so stinkin’ adorable watching your hubby put those highlights in. 😀 I’m a hairstylist and I kept thinking how many things could go terribly wrong, but it seems your man has it down! So sweet and adorable- and your hair looks great!
Hahaha! Thanks so much Lindsay! And yes, you’re right. So many things can go wrong but we’ve learned through the mistakes. You’re the best
Hi this is such a silly question, but is the purple stuff you have in the picture the bleach?? Lol I want to do this so bad, I’m scared my hair will fall out if I do it wrong!
I LOVE this! Po’ Folk posh all the way. It’s amazing what you can do with a little leftovers, ingenuity and Google. (I.e. EACH OTHER!!!). Thanks for the info!
Can I just say that you guys are an inspiration…! It seems like you really have the team work things down… I think it’s precious that he’s doing your hair. 😍Case and I have been married for 6.5 years and are just now getting there. And it’s not so much that I just need the help, but he’s my best friend and I love when we hang out! It’s so much more fun. So kudos to y’all and thanks for sharing the ups and downs and your faith. I just started following you from your post with the girls pink leggings but I’ve now lost 2 hours so I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked. Lol I’ll be back!
This video literally made me cry to know there’s men out there that are so kind and caring to do their wife’s hair!! Wow! I’m a single mom and can’t fathom meeting a name this amazing—you’re a lucky lady! ❤️
Girl!!!! Aww that’s so tender!! I totally lucked out!! I think that’s what marriage is all about… supporting one another as much as we can. xo
Hello! When you say you use 60 ml of each, what does that mean? 60 ml of each developer (20 and 30) and the bleach? I’m doing this soon- just need specifics! Ha!
Can you please let me know the toner you like to use? The above link doesn’t work 🙁
So I’m going to attempt this soon! With this corona virus I need my hair colored to hide some grays and roots. Only ever colored my hair dark with a developer so nervous! lol 😬 my hubby said he is willing to try it. Hopefully it doesn’t turn out orange or fried. Lol do you do small baby highlights? And do you ever paint the ends? Thanks.
This is so adorable! Y’all are so cute!!! I’m super impressed your hubs helps!!! I think I would have to do it on my own. (Or pray for a miracle my husband would help!) 🤪
You are amazing couple. Full cooperation is here. Love it <3 lots of love
So pretty!! With this Covid 19 crisis I’m going to attempt to do my hair at home, hoping it can be something I can just keep doing. Question, you mix 60ml of 20, 30 and bleach. I googled how to mix the two (20 and 30) and couldn’t find much detail. At first I ordered a 20 and a 40 (my natural color is much darker than yours) but after reading more about it I decided to just stick with 30. Thx!
I ordered a 30 and a 40, but now I’m worried about the toner bc she says to mix the toner with 20. What do you think? How will you mix up the toner if you bought 30? Good luck to us both, right??!! 🙂
I just read your blog. Very amazing blog. Great work, thanks for sharing your awesome work.
a very knowledgeable article, I appreciate your husband’s efforts and his love for you, you also did good photography, I wish I eat the cake made by you 🙂
If I ever get a chance, I will eat a cake made by you 🙂
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Do you do your first peace in front on top full highlight or do you weave that too?
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I’m doing this tonight. Your directions are so thorough and I love that you added the products. I wish there was a way to share my before after pics with you. Wish me luck!!!!
Your hair looks fab & my daughter is gonna try it on me tomorrow! Question: Do you only do the top & sides? When I was getting colored at the salon, she did my whole head.
Hey!! Yes, we only did a “partial” highlight because it was faster and I liked the darker blonde colors underneath. If you’re used to getting a “full highlight”, meaning your full head was colored, then you might want to continue that!
What is the meaning behind Ivory Rose?
Can you use these bleaching products as an all over color? I’ve been sorely disappointed the last few times at the salon. Plus it’s getting so stinkin expensive. My hair is medium brown naturally, but I’ve bleached it for a long time, mainly it’s just my outgrowth that’s brown.
Your amazing I can’t wait to try this at home myself with 3 kids at home and trying to buy our first home going to the salon definitely not an option or a regular option so fingers crossed this works for me as well.