26 Lowlights in 2018 That Will Inspire Your Next Hair Color

Lowlights can be a bit of a mystery…what are they and how do I get them? Simply put, think of them as reverse highlights.

Lowlights do the opposite of highlights by creating depth and adding dimension to your hair. These accents are typically darker than your base color and can be used to contrast overly-highlighted hair, create multi-tonal looks or create a new shape via color blocking.

You can be as creative as you like!

Create a soft effect lowlight by using shades within one to two levels of your base color. Create a high contrast lowlight with shades that are within three to four levels of your base color. Get creative and try a blend of the two for a multi-tonal finish.

Too much warmth can cause your look to go brassy. In contrast, too much coolness and you risk looking drab and flat. Talk to your stylist about your color goals and take your look to the next level. Explore our lowlight options to help transition your hair color from season to season!

Take a look around you and get inspired by the changing tones of the fall/winter color palette. Pick lowlights that best match your personality, whether subtle or bold, to create a hair color that is uniquely yours.

Dimensional Brown and Blonde

Dimensional Brown and Blonde hairstyle
Instagram @caroliiine_k

Q&A with style creator, Caroline Kan
Hairstylist & Make-up Artist @ Makeup and Hair By Caroline K in San Jose, CA

How would you describe this look?

This look is very dimensional and has different brown and blonde tones. I love how dimension can add so much life to the hair texture and color.

Any advice for someone considering it?

My advice would be to use professional products to keep the color from fading and dulling out. This look is great for someone who has a solid color and wants to add different tones and dimension.

This look is also ideal for someone who is low maintenance and wants something natural, but also wants to add some color without coming back to touch up or tone too often.

Multi-Dimensional Deliciousness

Q&A with style creator, Christine Notartomaso
Owner / Paul Mitchell Educator @ The Lab Hair Studio in Clermont, FL


How would you describe this look?

Multi-dimensional deliciousness is how I would describe this brilliant blonde!

I love how the depth of the lowlights breathes life into the look by lifting the blonde base and taking the tonality from flat to fabulous!

Any advice for someone considering it?

Just go for it! Highlights and lowlights are for everyone and they’re the perfect way to change your hair up without the worry of high maintenance. Especially when using products like Paul Mitchell’s Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Shampoo and Keratin Cream Rinse, home maintenance is as easy as rinse and repeat. The Awapuhi Wild Ginger product line is luxurious and color-safe, and the awapuhi extracts provide a glamorous shine with the perfect amount of moisture balance for optimal manageability, no matter the tress type.

Highlights and lowlights are simply superb. They require little maintenance, allowing for flexibility to fit any lifestyle. Give it a go and if it’s a no, fear not because the beauty of hair is that it always grows back!

Sassy Pastel Pink

Sassy Pastel Pink hairstyle
Instagram @sterosas1991

Q&A with style creator, Stephnie Romero
Hairstylist @ Hair By Stephanie Rosas in Dallas, TX


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as a fun and sassy pastel pink. My favorite thing about this look is the dimension. I am a huge fan of dimensional color.

Any advice for someone considering it?

When considering a pastel color, I make sure my clients understand that vivids are semi-permanent, meaning they fade faster than a regular permanent color and the lighter the fashion color, the shorter the color will last.

I always recommend my clients leave with a toning color shampoo. In this client’s case, she left with Viral Ccolorwash in light pink. This will re-tone her hair at home so the pink can last longer.

Pink hair is so much fun. It definitely brings positive attention to you and is a great conversation starter! I recommend everyone try a vivid color once, even if it’s just a few pops of color.

Shadow Root into Vibrant Red

Shadow Root into Vibrant Red hairstyle
Instagram @_tieladoeshair

Q&A with style creator, Tiela Mcafe
Licensed Hairstylist @ J. Joseph Salon in Florida


How would you describe this look?

This is an edgy textured stacked bob with a shadow root into a vibrant red. I love that it has so much personality on its own, so it doesn’t require much styling. It can be worn smooth or played up with some putty or wax!

Any advice for someone considering it?

You definitely have to have a strong personality and be okay with standing out in a crowd when wearing this look. This particular guest of mine draws a lot of attention and is constantly getting asked about her hair.

You must also consider the upkeep. Fashion colors are high maintenance on their own due to fading, and the cut requires upkeep as well to keep the short length and texture. This look needs a refresh every four to five weeks.

A color-safe and sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner are a must. We use Redken Color Extend Magnetics. We also love Redken’s One United and Wave Aid to restore, condition, protect, and add texture to the hair before the blow dry. We finished this look off with Wax Blast and Control Addict to show off all her texture.

Multi-Dimensional Pixie

Q&A with style creator, Luis Fernando
Hairdresser / Color Expert @ Haven Salon & Spa in Center Valley, PA


How would you describe this look?

This beautiful multi-dimensional pixie is great for women who aren’t afraid of short hair. What I love about this look is that it is very versatile when it comes to styling. You can brush it to the side, to the front, or even to the back for a sleek look.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Pixie cuts are for everyone who is looking for something easy to work with and that doesn’t take too much time to style. For styling, I recommend Kadus Professional Design It Hairspray because it has a flexible hold. This re-brushable hairspray gives the client the opportunity to switch their hair up easily in case of an unexpected event.

Chocolate Brown Lowlights

Q&A with style creator, Michaela Foreman
Owner @ More Hair by Michaela in Telford, England


How would you describe this look?

This look is a full head of creamy ash blonde highlights and dark chocolate brown lowlights. I have used slices of color rather than weaves to create a contrast between the colors. This adds depth and thickness to the hair and creates a fashionable and striking look.

My favorite thing about this look is how the shape of the hair and the colors sit well together to make this naturally fine hair look thicker. Sometimes dark and light colors together can look patchy, so make sure your layers are blended and feathered well to avoid spots and patches.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This look is great for all types of hair. Bear in mind that if your hair is very light to start with or very porous, the darker slices may fade quickly. Always use a good paraben and sulfate-free, color-saving shampoo. I think anyone can wear this cut and style. It works particularly well if you have a longer face shape as the front layers will complement this.

The style may require straighteners and a serum to smooth the hair into shape if you have naturally curly hair, but it can also be worn in a loose wave. This look is great for people who like to mix up their hairstyles!

Shiny Lowlights

Shiny Lowlights hairstyle
Instagram @accomando

Q&A with style creator, Lindsay Accomando
Hair Artist / Owner @ Accomando Hair in Roanoke, VA


How would you describe this look?

This look is shiny, sexy and low maintenance. My favorite thing about it is the light reflection. It’s like she is glowing!

Any advice for someone considering it?

Her hair is fine but thick, so my go-to for a foundation spray is Color Proof’s Pure Release detangler. It has UV protection, thermal protection, as well as a lightweight slip. For volume, I used Trust Fund by IGK. I love this product because it really plumps the strands up and it makes your blowout look bomb. Because she had a few compromised pieces from her previous situation, I used Car Service by IGK to smooth and seal from the mid to ends.

Once the hair was dry, I sprayed Color Proof’s All Around Hairspray for thermal protection and hold, proceeded to curl with a 1-inch curling iron. After her curls cooled, I roughed it up with Beach Club by IGK. This is an amazing, affordable, and yummy dry texturizing spray.

The lowlight color isn’t too far off from her natural color. She wanted more depth and warmth put back into her hair, but without needing a retouch every six weeks. Having a backdrop color makes the blonde pop even more. Sometimes blonde gets lost if there is no depth.

This lived -n, beachy style is suitable for laid back, adventurous babes. As for the cut, this length is flattering on most people. It’s pretty safe for most face shapes as well. It’s not too long or too short, so it doesn’t showcase any unwanted features.

Fun & Flirty

Fun & Flirty hairstyle
Instagram @styleby_jeny

Q&A with style creator, Jeneta Nesimi
Stylist @ Salon Disegno in Buford, GA


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as fun and flirty. I love doing lowlights, balayage, and color melts because they look so subtle and natural.

My favorite thing about this look is that it’s short, but still long enough to put into a ponytail. I love how lobs look when they are styled with tousled waves, as well as that angle you get when straightening.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Some advice I would give a client considering this look would be to first determine why she was going shorter. I would then determine the face shape. Lobs are a versatile cut, but different styles complement different shapes. For example, someone with a square shaped face would look great in a layered lob with face framing, while someone with an oval face would look great in a lob with a fringe or a long, side-swept bang.

For finer hair, I definitely recommend a more blunt cut to create weight to make the hair appear thicker. If you have thicker hair like my model, I recommend wispy ends to give it more texture and movement. I definitely recommend maintaining regular salon visits to keep the cut fresh.

As far as color goes, having a dark base with lowlights gives you longevity with your color. You won’t see any regrowth, and for people who are on the low maintenance side, they can go 12-14 weeks with their color.

Products are very important to this look. You must use a heat protectant because it requires heat styling. Here I used Redken’s Heat Design 09 blow dry lotion because it’s a heat protectant as well as a styling product that has some hold. After she was dry, I used Redken’s Iron Shape 11 to mist the hair for more protection before curling with a wand. After curling, I set the hair with Pureology’s Strengthening Control Hairspray which is a really lightweight hairspray that gives you a windblown, tousled effect without the crunch.

Messy Lowlights

Messy Lowlights hairstyle
Instagram @hairbyvieve

Q&A with style creator, Genevieve Huggins
Cosmetologist @ The Mane Event in Warren, AR


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is definitely one of my favorites! This client is a mom of two and doesn’t have much time to fuss with her hair. We are thankful for the popular “messy” look we are all loving so much right now!

These beautiful lowlights will keep her color-season trendy and not show her new growth as quickly.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

The products we used on this super fun look are t’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In PLUS Keratin, It’s a 10 Miracle Blowdry Volumizer and Make Me High (teasing spray).

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I have found this look can work for almost any hairstyle, lifestyle, face shape or hair texture! For thin hair, it almost instantly adds the volume and texture that all of us thinner haired ladies are dying for. My girls that are blessed with more hair love this look simply because they can have an actual look. Most women with lots of hair are always so discouraged because they aren’t quite sure what to do with it. This is our answer, ladies!

If anyone is anything like me, I only give myself a few minutes to get ready in the morning. With this look, you don’t have to be tedious in its preparation for the day ahead. Pick up a few pieces, curl (I used my BaByliss Prima 3100 flat iron to achieve these curls), run your fingers through, and spray!

Dimensional Fall Color

Dimensional Fall Color hairstyle
Instagram @haleyraihair

Q&A with style creator, Haley Cox
Hair Artist @ House of Color in Colorado Springs, CO


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is the perfect dimensional fall color. My favorite thing about it is the subtlety of the lowlights that accentuate the highlights, creating a beautifully blended contrast of lighter and darker tones without being overpowering.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I used a small amount of L’Oréal Professional Lumi Controle Nutri-Wax on my fingertips to run through the hair after curling to loosen the curls and add shine.

I also recommend using a professional color-safe shampoo and conditioner to maintain the longevity of the color.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look is extremely versatile for just about any lifestyle and hair type. I recommend adding a lowlight (that can range in various shades, to accent any hair/skin tones) to accommodate someone that is looking for a change that will enhance the dimension and depth of the hair.

Blonde Balayage with Lowlights

Blonde Balayage with Lowlights hairstyle
Instagram @hairby_tiana

Q&A with style creator, Tiana Venegas
Hairstylist @ Alessandro Salon in San Rafael, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is one of my favorites! It’s a blonde balayage with the use of lowlights to allow the highlights to pop and create dimension, depth, and movement within the hair. This look is versatile and great for those looking for a new look and naturally grow out.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

Always start with a great shampoo and conditioner. I love using Unite’s Luxury because it replenishes the hair while adding shine. Next spray Pravana’s Nevo invisible control to add body, hold and heat protection. Next, I use Joico Power Whip mousse for volume and hold.

I always finish the style with a light hair oil and light finishing spray for hold that still gives movement. I also tell clients to invest in a good shampoo and conditioner to keep their hair looking like they just walked out of the salon.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this look to anyone who is looking to change up their regular highlighted hair and wants something a little different for fall/winter. This look is great for all hair types and lifestyles!

Subtle Changes

Subtle Changes hairstyle
Instagram @mishairhunter

Q&A with style creator, Michelle Smith
Cosmetology Student in Florence, SC


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as a very subtle change for an extremely blonde client. I love that clients can stay very light overall, but can tone it down for fall or even play around with different shades in the brown or red family without being too far from their usual lightness. Subtle changes make a HUGE difference when the client is super light!

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

To create this look, I would typically recommend using demi-permanent color so that it can be lifted out of the hair easily in case your client wants to go back to a more total blonde look. Also, demi-permanent color is typically an option that will not damage the hair!

For maintenance, clients will need to use a salon grade color care shampoo and conditioner. High-level blondes tend to lose lowlights fast, so don’t let them throw their money away by not using a product to protect their investment!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this look for any blonde client that wants a change, but has never really been any color other than blonde. Subtlety will prevent shocking them too much! Someone who likes to change their hair with the seasons may even love this option before they go darker with winter.

This could also be a good option for a blonde client who may be thinning in some areas. The dimension can make the hair appear fuller all over, and if they aren’t naturally blonde, this service can give their hair a break from the harshness of a lightener or high-level permanent color.

Balayage and Shadow Root

Balayage and Shadow Root hairstyle
Instagram @aliciawhitehair

Q&A with style creator, Alicia Hunter
Colorist / Extension Technician / Salon Owner @ The Head Shoppe in Halifax, NS


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is an easy way for a blonde to switch up their hair for fall. The balayage and shadow root work well together to give a soft transition between a darker root and her blonde ends, all while keeping dimension throughout the hair. It’s much more subtle than the typical ombré effect or traditional highlights/lowlights.

I love this look because of the low maintenance factor. This color will grow out very easily for the client because of this technique.

What products do you recommend to create and maintain this look?

I always recommend that my clients use Redken Ph Bonder during the lightening process to maintain the integrity of their hair and keep it healthy and shiny. I also recommend they follow up weekly with the Ph Bonder at-home treatment. I also love Redken’s sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, Color Extend Magnetics, to protect their color between visits.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look can be great for fine hair to give more dimension and for anyone looking for a low maintenance color. It can also be customized depending on skin tone and natural hair color.

Silver Under Tones

Q&A with Style Creator Kristi Murdoch
Master Colorist @ Comb Brows+Hair in Omaha, NE

No one would think silver can look this ravishing but if done correctly can totally dominate the room. The lowlights here add not only rich color combinations but the movement that can’t be achieved with any other shades. The mixture of blonde and silver combine to form an almost ombre like effect but be warned ladies rocking this stylish silver requires some maintenance or it will just become dull and make you look older than you are.

Golden Hues

Golden Hues Lowlights

Summertime can brighten up your blonde more expected. Add fine streaks of honey blonde and sandy tones. They’ll not only provide beautiful dimension but will make your existing blonde tones pop.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The natural golden tones of this blonde shade best suits a slightly pink/peach complexion. Naturally light, fine hair (level 9 and up) benefit most from level 7-8 lowlights.

Tip:

Try this simple low ponytail with a slight twist for a classy ‘do.

Autumn Blonde

Autumn Blonde Lowlights

Transition your summer golden blonde with this ‘grown-out’ look by adding lowlights that match your base color. This is a great way to get a little taste of ombré without making a major change.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The warmth of this blonde best suits a slightly golden/peach complexion. Naturally light, fine hair (level 7 and up) can achieve this shade easily.

Tip:

Create long, beautiful waves using a large barrel iron (vertical position) and loosen them using your fingertips.

Cool Hue

Cool Hue Beigey Blonde Lowlights

Here, a cool, beige-y blonde gets a ‘root-y’ lowlight for extra contrast. This is a great alternative to highlighting mousy blonde hair.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The cool tone of this blonde best suits a slightly yellow/golden complexion. Naturally light, fine hair (level 7 and up) benefits from level 5-6 rich lowlights.

Tip:

Boost fine hair with a little backcombing and by adding full curls.

Sandy Bronde

Sandy Bronde with Lowlights

Medium golden brunette lowlights offer a gentle contrast to light, golden blonde highlights. These shades boost fullness and add dimension to finely textured hair.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The cool gold tone of this ‘bronde’ (brown/blonde) best suits a slightly yellow/golden complexion. Medium light brown, fine hair (level 7 and up) benefits from level 5-6 lowlights.

Tip:

Create soft, loose waves to accent this hue by wrapping strands around a large barrel curling iron.

Chocolate Copper

Choco Copper Lowlights Side View

Pair a statement cut with some color-blocking. Bright copper tones balance nicely with a rich, neutral chocolate hue to provide a lovely face frame.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The warmth of this shade balances a neutral/golden complexion. Medium brunette hair (level 5) works best with this look.

Tip:

A slick, geometric cut is a great way to showcase color-blocked hair.

Auburn Delights

Auburn Delight Lowlights

Accent bright red hair with a deep berry red tone to bring new life to your hair. This is a great way to change up your look without changing your overall color scheme.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The richness of this red best suits a golden/peach complexion. Medium warm hair (level 6) is a great foundation for this hue.

Tip:

Slight, cascading waves give this rich dimensional red the illusion of a waterfall.

Hint of Bordeaux

Hint of Bordeaux Lowlights

Brunettes can have fun, too! Going darker doesn’t mean adding black streaks to your hair. Get inspired with rich hints of Bordeaux that softly peek through to catch the light.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

This rich brunette hue works nicely with a pale yellow/peach complexion. Medium brown hair (level 5) works well with these shades.

Tip:

Keep the focus on you by only accenting the fringe and face frame.

Raven-ette

Raven Hair with Lowlights Side View

When darkness is what you crave, adding deep, cool brown or black lowlights offers a high contrast effect to warm brunette hair.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The warmth of this brunette tone suits a yellow/peach complexion. Medium brunette hair (level 6) benefits from a blend of natural and cool toned hair.

Tip:

Keep styling simple with a sleek finish to really showcase the placement of this color blend.

Chunky Lights

When you want a bit of everything, make a statement with a myriad to hues. In this look, chunky lowlights create bold contrast to lighter strands.

Chunky Lights Bold Contrast

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The coolness of this color blend works best with a golden/peach complexion. Medium brunette hair (level 5 and up) benefits from this multi-dimensional look.

Tip:

A playful half-up/half-down look is a perfect way to show off the interplay of these tones.

Strawberry Glow

Strawberry Glow Ultra Cool Blonde

Golden strawberry lowlights offer just the right touch of warmth to ultra-light, cool blonde hair. The contrast is soft and makes your eyes stand out.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The interplay of warm and cool blonde tones best suits a slightly pink/peach complexion. Naturally light, fine hair (level 7 and up) benefits from added warmth for a youthful glow.

Tip:

A gently tousled bun is a sweet style to balance these tones.

Auburn Pop

Auburn Pop Bold Highlights

Bold, red accent lowlights make a serious fashion statement. Keep the placement minimal and around the face for maximum effect.

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

This neutral red streak balances against warm blonde and best suits a yellow/peach complexion. Medium brown hair (level 6 and up) can work well for this bold look.

Tip:

A sleek chignon or low bun is a great look to show off the bold placement of these colors.

Fall Foliage

Mimic the glorious fall shades created by Mother Nature. Get inspired by the changing fall foliage and natural elements to create a new look. This multi-tonal look features deep golden tones inter-mixed with bright copper and deep brown tones.

Fall Foliage Lowlights Pretty Shades

Best Skin Tone and Hair Type:

The complexity of these tones can suit a yellow/pink/peach complexion. Medium brown hair (Level 6) is a great base to create these shades.

Tip:

This cute hairstyle really showcases this creative hair color scheme!