Education for Hair Stylists, Nail Technicians and Estheticians

Different Hair Lightening Techniques

Whether you are looking to add some dimension to your hair or you are enrolled in cosmetology courses, you may not know the differences, processes, or results of the various hair lightening techniques. Fret no more! We are here to help you learn how to distinguish between the highlights, babylights, ombre, and balayage hair lightening techniques.


Gaining mass popularity in the 90’s, highlights are a very common way to lighten and add dimension to otherwise monotone hair. A base color is chosen or kept the same and the highlighted hair color is anything a few shades lighter than it. For highlights, the hair is bleached in strips or small chunks starting at the root all the way down to the ends. The bleached hair is then wrapped in foil to process for 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the desired amount of color lift. Highlights can be hard to maintain in order to avoid harsh lines after root regrowth.


A new take on highlights that is becoming increasingly popular is called babylights. This hair lightening technique is meant to mimic the look of a child’s hair that has been naturally lightened by the sun. Therefore, the hair is not bleached at the root, but rather delicately hand-painted throughout layers of the hair to add dimension. Babylights take the same amount of time to process as regular foil highlights since they still use bleach to lighten the hair. They are very easy to maintain when added to a natural hair color but since they are so subtle, they may fade quicker.


One of the biggest hair trends of the 2010’s was ombre hair color. This type of hair lightening is recognizable by its blending of dark hair into lighter hair. Nearly the entire bottom half of the hair is bleached and diffused into the top half of the hair, which is ideally a dark color. The bleach is placed horizontally on the hair creating a stark difference between the top and bottom halves of the hair. Ombre hair is relatively low maintenance, especially when leaving the top color your natural hair color. Regular salon visits may be required to keep up a beautiful and bright color blend.


A time consuming but very natural looking way to lighten your hair is with the balayage technique. Balayage can look similar to ombre since they both lighten the bottom half of the hair, leaving the roots dark. However, balayage is placed vertically instead of horizontally and not all of the ends are lightened. Pieces of the hair are picked out and and hand-painted with bleach creating a beautiful blend of light and dark hair. Balayage is very low maintenance and can add dimension to your hair for a long time. Regular salon visits are recommended to keep up with the distinction from dark to light hair.

Hair Services at Designing Beauty Academy

Looking to add some dimension to your hair? Visit the Designing Beauty Academy in Windsor! Our students and experts are taught all of the latest hair lightening techniques. Contact us today to schedule a hair appointment or if you’re interested in learning these techniques yourself with our hair and beauty courses!