Although both highlights and lowlights are partial hair coloring techniques, highlights introduce lighter shades and lowlights introduce darker ones. Both techniques are subtler than streaks, resulting in a more natural appearance.
Highlights and lowlights complement natural hair color and create the appearance of greater depth and volume. The techniques may be used individually but can also be used together to achieve a different look.
Styling highlights involves selecting strands of hair and lightening them two or three shades lighter than the dominant shade. The result adds depth and creates a sunkissed look. Although many highlights are blonde, a highlight may be any shade. For example, if a person's hair color is dark brown, then highlights may be medium or light brown.
Lowlights are similar, but less dramatic than highlights. They bring out skin tone and eye color better than highlighting. Like highlighting, this technique involves changing the shade of strands of hair by darkening them two or more shades. Stylists also use lowlights to blend highlights as dark roots grow longer. Using both techniques simultaneously, sometimes called a "tri-color" service, creates more layers and adds dimension to hair.
Highlights and lowlights give people a chance to experiment with different shades of hair before committing to a complete change.