How to Highlight Very Short Hair

by Robin McDaniel

If your hair is 1/2 to 3 inches long, it can be next to impossible to get foil highlights. However, highlighting very short hair is possible if you follow the correct procedure. Cap highlighting is the best technique for coloring very short hair. With a few tips, you can highlight hair like a pro at home.

Items you will need

  • Gloves
  • Color-applicator brush
  • Highlighting cap
  • Metal highlighting needle
  • Baby powder
  • Plastic cap
  • Hair gloss
  • Lightener kit
  • Timer
  • Towels
  • Hair clip
  • Comb or brush
Step 1

Sprinkle 1 tsp. of baby powder into a rubber cap, like a Magicap. Make sure the cap is as close to your head size as possible; it should fit very tightly, with no air pockets, if possible. Swirl the baby powder around the cap until it completely covers the inside.

Step 2

Comb your hair into your daily style. Distribute a dab of hair gloss evenly through your hair to make it easier to pull through the cap. Pull the cap over your head firmly. If the flap hangs over your eyes, turn it up and secure it over your forehead with a clip.

Step 3

Use a metal highlighting needle to pull your hair through the holes in the cap. Use a fine needle for less hair, medium for a little more or a large needle to pull out chunks of hair. Put the needle in the hole parallel to your head and pull in the direction of hair's growth. For heavier highlights, pull out every other hole. For fewer highlights, pull out every third of fourth hole. Pay special attention to your hairline and the area above your ears. Comb the threaded hair with a rat-tail comb or a brush with close teeth.

Step 4

Mix the lightener until the consistency is thick and not runny. If it is too liquid, the solution can bleed through the cap and create spots. Put on gloves and apply the mix with a color-applicator brush. Completely saturate each strand of hair. Cover your hair in a plastic cap. Set a timer and check every five minutes until the desired color has been attained.

Step 5

Remove lightener from a small section of strands to check the color. Lightener can make the color appear lighter than it really is. Wet hair may also appear darker than the true color.

Step 6

Leave the cap on and wash and condition your hair. Remove the cap and wash and condition your entire head again. Dry and style as desired.

About the Author

Robin McDaniel is a writer, educator and musician. She holds a master's degree in higher educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton as well as a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in adult in community education. McDaniel enjoys writing, blogging, web design, singing and playing bass guitar.