DIY Hair Highlights – At Home!

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!

SUPPLIES

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

  1. Prepare Bleach. Mix bleach and developer in mixing bowl. Follow instructions on your bleach. I use 60mL of each.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Style and Enjoy!
Voila!
Have you ever highlighted your own hair? How did it go?! Tell me in comments!


  • Favorite Repairing Shampoo – HERE
  • Favorite Repairing System – HERE
  • Favorite Moisturizing System – HERE
  • Favorite Leave-In Conditioner – HERE
  • Favorite Toning Shampoo – HERE
  • Detangling Brush – HERE
  • Favorite Curling Iron – HERE
  • Favorite Hair Dryer – HERE
  • Favorite Volume Spray – HERE
  • Favorite Texturizing Spray – HERE (use code “JANENE” for 30% off)
  • Favorite Hair Spray – HERE
  • Favorite Dry Shampoo – HERE
  • Favorite Hair Tie – HERE

29 Comments

  1. Raena
    March 1, 2019 / 12:17 pm

    Do you not use a toner? Lol I think Iโ€™m gonna get my boyfriend to start this ! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

    • Janene
      Author
      March 1, 2019 / 1:41 pm

      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!

    • Leentje
      July 15, 2019 / 11:35 pm

      Hi! I just did my own hair and the top is sooooo brassy what do u do to lift it more ? Obviously I didnโ€™t keep it in long enough ๐Ÿ™

      • Janene
        Author
        July 16, 2019 / 10:18 am

        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!

  2. Heather
    March 1, 2019 / 1:00 pm

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚ itโ€™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? Weโ€™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. Iโ€™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 Iโ€™m just so nervous that We will mess it up!!

    • Janene
      Author
      March 1, 2019 / 1:46 pm

      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!!

  3. Fiona
    March 1, 2019 / 4:10 pm

    Hello…your hair looks very beautifull…good job mister orthodentist ๐Ÿ˜‚.

    I just didnt understand what a microweave is, i watched the video and still not understand ๐Ÿ˜

    • Janene
      Author
      March 1, 2019 / 6:08 pm

      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!

  4. Tessa
    March 1, 2019 / 5:19 pm

    Love the teamwork! It was fun to hear the two of you working together and it looks beautiful!

    • Janene
      Author
      March 1, 2019 / 5:51 pm

      Hey Tessa- You’re seriously the sweetest!! Thanks so much, I couldn’t do it without him. xo

  5. Kara
    March 2, 2019 / 12:05 am

    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!

    • Janene
      Author
      March 2, 2019 / 6:55 pm

      Hi Kara! That’s seriously so sweet of you to say! Thank you!!

  6. Kimberly Guerrero
    March 2, 2019 / 9:34 am

    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 donโ€™t trust anyone else and itโ€™s so convenient.

    • Janene
      Author
      March 2, 2019 / 6:54 pm

      Hi Kimberly! That’s awesome!! It’s seriously the best…once you get it working smoothly ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Lauren worley
    March 2, 2019 / 2:33 pm

    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 ๐Ÿค—
    Great video btw.. sending love from the uk! Xx

    • Janene
      Author
      March 2, 2019 / 6:57 pm

      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 ๐Ÿ™‚ All the best! xo

  8. Brooke
    March 2, 2019 / 7:51 pm

    New follower ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ Over in Ft. Worth!
    Iโ€™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 Iโ€™ve tried 4 different professional โ€œcoloristsโ€ and no one can get the color …. so hope your hubs is in it for the long run! Itโ€™s such a process ๐Ÿ™ˆ. Anyhow…. I tried to order the Navy Pebble Beach hair texture โ€œcodeโ€ and it isnโ€™t working ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ… have you tried it? Operator error?

    • Zulma
      March 11, 2019 / 11:37 pm

      I use blue shampoo and mix the developer and it makes my highlights icy

  9. Christina
    March 3, 2019 / 4:31 pm

    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.

  10. Janelle Jergensen
    March 24, 2019 / 9:52 pm

    Just to clarify, how much of each developer do you mix together and then with how much bleach?

    • Janene
      Author
      March 25, 2019 / 10:57 am

      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!

  11. Kate
    April 11, 2019 / 6:45 pm

    Hi Janene, the link above no longer links to your favorite toning shampoo. Share please… I might attempt this!

  12. Shelley Bezuidenhout
    July 5, 2019 / 4:38 pm

    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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ it’s not perfect but hey! I am stoked! Can’t wait to give it another bash! Thanks for the tips and inspo!

    • Janene
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 12:44 pm

      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!

  13. August 1, 2019 / 5:23 pm

    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.

  14. Elle
    August 1, 2019 / 7:32 pm

    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.

  15. Feleesha
    August 6, 2019 / 6:45 pm

    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?

  16. August 10, 2019 / 6:37 pm

    This is so stinkin’ adorable watching your hubby put those highlights in. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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!

    • Janene
      Author
      August 11, 2019 / 4:21 pm

      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

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