How to Color Over Highlights

by Jessica Lathrop

Coloring hair that has been highlighted is a challenging but possible task. Many different factors must be taken into consideration when coloring highlighted hair, such as which color you currently have, which color you wish to end up with, and how much experience you have as a hair colorist. In addition to this, highlights are trickier to color than regular hair, so you must be careful in order to end up with evenly colored hair when finished. A good end result is possible, however, so long as you take your time and prepare everything in advance.

Items you will need

  • Hair color of choice (darker shades are best)
  • Gloves
  • Towels
  • Hair clips

Choosing A Color

Step 1

Choose the color you would like your hair to be when finished. If your highlights are currently blond, you will achieve the best results with dark brown shades.

Step 2

Choose dark brown or red shades if your highlights are currently red to achieve the best results. Do not dye your hair red if you have blond highlights, or your highlights will turn pink.

Step 3

You can also opt to dye your entire head the same color as your highlights if you prefer a lighter hair color rather than a dark color. Keep in mind that it is easier to dye hair darker than lighter, however, and you must take extra caution not to miss any areas when using light colors. It is also harder to match colors using lighter tones.

Coloring Hair

Step 1

Prepare to color by removing all objects from your coloring area that might get damaged with dye, including your clothing. Wear old clothes, and keep an old towel nearby.

Step 2

Place gloves on your hands, and prepare the hair color according to the instructions provided with the kit you purchased.

Step 3

Section off your hair with clips. Clip the top and sides of your hair out of your way so you can easily reach the back of your head. Try to clip each section (top and sides) of your hair separately to make it easy to reach those areas when ready.

Step 4

Starting at the back of your head and down by your neck, apply the hair color. Saturate your hair from root to tip, getting all strands of your hair wet with the dye. Be careful not to get the dye on the scalp. Continue with all sections of hair, starting in the back, moving to the sides, and finishing in the front.

Step 5

Leave dye on for the amount of time specified in instructions. If you get dye on the skin, wipe off with a damp towel or a cotton ball soaked in hair conditioner.

Step 6

Lather, rinse and deep condition hair, then style as you normally would. Hair should now be one solid color, and highlights should be gone.


  • Always use permanent hair color when coloring over highlights. Temporary color is not strong enough and will fade, bringing your highlights back. Consider using a professional stylist, who knows the types of hair and hair color that would work best.


  • Never use an ash colored hair dye, as these tend to come out green-tinted over blond highlights. Never use red colored hair dye over blond highlights, as these will turn pink.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Jessica Lathrop has been writing professionally since 2005. She is a published author on various websites. Lathrop writes in several genres, including fiction, nonfiction and reference works. She has a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from University of Maryland University College and is constantly expanding her education.