Now that I am une femme d’un certain âge (a woman of a certain age), sometimes I feel like my brown hair can look aging. If you want to learn how to highlight your hair at home, this article is for you. I’m trying out eSalon’s new highlight kit called Lightlab.

Because I have a lot of gray now, I color my hair often. My hair grows very fast and I could touch up my roots every three weeks, but I make myself hold off until four weeks. I think once a month is plenty.

My brown hair can tend to look flat if I’m not careful. I’m trying home highlights to give my hair a more natural, youthful appearance.

I’ve tried at-home highlights before. I’ve used the type of kit you buy at the drugstore that comes with a cap and a hook. You pull small sections of your hair through the cap and then apply the lightener.

The problem with kits like this is that the sections are very small, it’s painful to hook the hair and pull it through the cap, and the highlights come out a strange orange color on my brown hair.

With my color-treated hair, these drugstore highlights come out brassy and I end up coloring over it. My hair ends up being slightly highlighted as the lighter strands eventually bleed through. Also, these at-home highlighting kits do not come with a toner, which is a crucial step with at-home highlights.

To color my hair at home, I use a monthly custom-designed kit from eSalon in a cool light brown shade. My color appears much darker on camera than it does in person.

Now eSalon is offering an at-home highlighting kit. You can add it to your monthly color purchase. They design it to work with your regular color order and they provide video instructions so you can learn to do it the right way. There are no caps, no hooks, and it comes with a custom-designed toner for your hair. The toner is the most important step.

When you order online you choose from three levels of highlights. One is very subtle, one is a sunswept look, and one full-on lightens your hair. I chose the middle level. I don’t really want to go blonde but I didn’t want it to be so subtle that it wasn’t worth the time and effort.

First you color your hair normally, and then within 10 days of coloring you apply the highlights. I colored my hair light brown three days before highlighting.

What do you think? Does it look natural? I put together a picture gallery at the bottom of this post showing the steps, and showing the results in artificial light, natural light, and sunlight.

Things I’ve Learned

  • I’m definitely not cut out to be a hair stylist. I’m very awkward at it, and I make quite a mess. There are people who are brilliant at it, and I should leave it to them.
  • With that said, I do not enjoy going to salons, so I like to do as much at home as I can. It’s much more economical this way as well.
  • This experience was a lot more pleasant than the hook-and-cap routine.
  • Some of the layers underneath do not look as natural. I think I didn’t get enough toner on those pieces.

Overall, I like the way it looks. It brightens up my hair and makes it look more multi-dimensional.

Have you ever tried to highlight your hair at home? What was your experience?

Click on any of the photos below to pop open the gallery.