How to Fix Highlights at Home

funny woman waiting in salon

At-home hair color isn’t new, but Instagram accounts, the media, and even industry statistics tell us there was a surge in DIY dye jobs during the pandemic. If you were one of many who experimented with bold hues and even highlights to beat boredom and the lockdown blues, then you know it’s indeed possible to achieve salon-worthy results at home — so why stop now?  

Of course, there’s a bit of a learning curve before mastering foiled and balayage highlights, so what do you do if your illuminated locks don’t turn out as you planned? Don’t panic. We’ve got all the advice you need on fixing highlights at home, no matter the mishap. Read on to discover how to fix highlights at home — no salon necessary.

Before You Begin 

While you may be anxious to whip up another bowl of bleach, take a second to breathe. If you simply can’t wait (perhaps you have a special event on the books), don’t take matters into your own hands. Color correction can be tricky, so reach out to one of our professionals via a video consultation, phone call, chat session, email, or text to talk about potential remedial options like using a brass-reducing toner

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How to Fix Bad Highlights at Home 

Bad highlights can happen to anyone, and that’s okay! We’re here with the solutions you need. The following are the most popular highlighting mishaps and how to fix them.

How to Fix Brassy Highlights at Home

Brassiness can occur when the bleach doesn’t wholly remove dark pigments in the hair. Orange hues can also show up weeks after your highlight application due to spending too much time in the sun, using products not intended for color treated hair, swimming in chlorinated or salt water, or not using a Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner

Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner

  • Solution to Brassy Highlights: One of the easiest ways to correct brassiness is with a brass-reducing toner such as Age Beautiful ® to counteract  orange, gold or yellow tones. . Along with neutralizing  brass, our formulas harness the power of Biotin, Melanin, Keratin Peptide, and Silk Protein to replenish hair with the essential components that are lost with aging. Hair appears fuller and thicker*, shine is elevated, and blonde highlights appear more finished. 

*when used as directed

Another solution is to use a purple shampoo and conditioner - try out AgeBeautiful ® Ultra Bond (™) Blonde Care Shampoo and Conditioner.

How to Fix Tiger Stripe Highlights at Home

Bold (or stripey, as they’re often called) highlights often result from taking sections of hair that are too large. If you’re foiling, try using fewer strands. In the future, the balayage technique (hand-painted highlights) can make it a bit easier to naturally avoid this problem as it takes the guesswork out of achieving a more natural result. 

  • Solution to Stripey Strands: Tiger stripes can be a challenge to grow out, but there is a way to conceal them with color while still retaining some of the brightness from the highlight. Start by softening your stripes by painting a base color from our AGEbeautiful® Liqui-Crème hair color collection at the roots. Use a hue the same as your natural base color and gently feather the color downward for a more natural-looking root. 

How to Fix Highlights That Are Too Light at Home

If “too light” means your highlights are practically non-existent, perhaps you didn’t foil or balayage enough strands of hair.  To fix, go back in and apply lightener  to more strands, trying to not overlap onto previously highlighted areas.

  • Solution to Too Light  “white” Locks: Tinting back is a process the pros use to apply permanent hair color to the scalp area and shaft to the ends to create warmth and balance throughout the hair. Choose a color that’s one to  two shades darker than your highlights. 

How to Fix Blotchy Highlights at Home

If your highlights look a bit on the sloppy side, it’s possible you rushed the process and didn’t make sure each section of hair was evenly saturated with bleach to ensure an even, consistent result. This happens to the best of us! Read on to learn our go-to solution.

  • Solution to Highlight Discrepancies: One of the easiest ways to correct blotchy highlights is to do an overall color with a hue darker than the current shade of your hair. If going darker is not an option, use your hair dye brush to apply bleach onto botched highlights to lighten them up and fill in any patches of hair that were missed the first round so that they match the rest of your highlights.

model with a curly hairstyle

Source: korabkova/

Maintain Highlighted Tresses

As mentioned, color correction affects your hair’s porosity, so it’s vital you use alcohol- and sls/sles sulfate* free products that help maintain the vibrancy of your color while providing your hair with ample hydration. Here are some of our go-to products for color maintenance:

  • Continue using your color-preserving shampoo and conditioner, but add a weekly salon-quality treatment such as Zotos Professional ULTRA BOND™ No. 2+ Deep Treatment or Overnight R&R Leave-In Treatment to help protect and strengthen hair during and after lightening*.

*SLs/SLES = Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate

*Combing breakage on damaged hair with Ultra Bond™ No.1 Cleanse and No.2 Condition/No.2+ Deep Treatment

Browse Our Entire Collection of Hair Care and Styling Products

We’ve been helping customers master the art of home hair color and styling since 1929, and we don’t plan to stop! So, if you want to save a little money while still achieving a professional look that slays, start by taking our color quiz to find the ideal new hue for you.