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Highlights technique and application


Created as a source of advise education knowledge skill experience and most importantly sharing.

mike vallance


Highlights technique and application 

using Alterego Italy colour

The art of hair colouring is a passion to me. As it is with so many hair colour technician’s. True professionals know that having both the technical and practical skills are key to being successful. Maintaining standards and being current is also key.

I would like to try and cover some points that relate to high lighting, with the various products available to us in this instances I have used Alterego Italy Be Blonde pure Diamond lift for the highlights and used the Techno Fruit colour range for the low lights! A low ammonia based hair colour with added Keratin enhancements for excellence in conditioning and internal hair structural support.

When we think High lights we are naturally drawn to thinking Blonde. Consider adding more natural tones and shades to blend or mix low lights and high lights for a more natural look.

Alterego Image

It seems as I monitor key search words that the most searched topic’s that come up are always relating to issues around blonde hair highlights bleach and tone.

Basic colour wheel

The other key search being searches on all topic’s related to the colour wheel the law’s of colour controlling pigment shade and tone.

shades tone

I hope that although a topic written on many times this is of help and pushes some buttons regarding process and techniques skill and understanding.

shade and tone pigment


The shades I decided to use in this instance were as follows:

HL.O = High lift natural i decided on the natural to test the pigment control without the extra pigmentation of either ash or violet [ this would have been to easy]  mixed with 40 vol “COACTIVATOR” their custom high lift developer. with unto 5 shades of lift. mix 1 part colour /2 parts developer

9N  = For a natural yet controlled shade. 30 vol roots application only mix 1 part colour 1.5 times developer

7/7 = For a subtle beige brown low light, 10 vol roots mid length ends low light. mix 1 part colour 1.5 times developer

highlights low lights

These shades and indeed the formulations mixed were chosen to challenge both the colour the shades the tones and the pigment control. But to also challenge the product especially its pigment control qualities.

Alterego Italy


In am fortunate that I get to meet so many salons and so to meet some very talent stylist and colour technicians. I like to watch techniques hang out with technician chatting about techniques and products. Always trying to discover a stylist’s favourite tools techniques what is their current chosen product. Many use foils some use easy mesh. I use a waxed paper that does not need to be folded and will not allow bleeding as much as some other products might during the process time and as the product expands. A thing that can happen with foil easy mesh or many of the products available to us, especially if to much product applied and or if heat is introduced.

One of the biggest thing I observe with highlight is the neatness of sections the folding of the foils the care taken attention to detail. Those being foil placement formulation application. The patients of many really good colourist is to be admired. But we also have to consider the evenness of the weave desired thick fine ect. The cleanness of section.The application of product. oh and formulation.

We have to remember that when taking section we are not working on a flat surface it’s curved so we have to structure out sectioning pattern to accommodate this plain.

However there are always the slack untidy get them in get them out jobs to! consider all the curves as indicated below.

Lets take some time to reflect and review on sectioning and placement :

My question is on sectioning it’s hard to write about i wish i had a way to draw on screen any way here goes.

I have in past blogs articles made reference to not being able to cut  a straight line on a curved surface the same is so of highlighting sections!

when we work up the side of the head in nice neat sections we are working on a curve! so it follows if we pull the foil in tight to the section  the middle will be right into the root leaving distance from root at either end! if we pull one end in the other will move out ! its the curve.

The same can be said for working a T section if we start at the hair line and work toward the crown we are working on another curve so the same applies. as we pull the foil in as close as possible only a small part will pull right in a space will be at each end.

The below although for cutting indicates well the sections and angles discussed.

How do we get round this? By working in sections from the hairline in always sectioning to create a flat plain and by brick laying sections staggering them if you do this you will always get to the roots.

take time think about that curve adjust your sections it will make the work of difference to you!



Look at those roots that re-growth consider formulation how you are going to run your colour to deal with root issue. Try not to over lap any bleach! decide on your weave pattern. Discuss with your client the look .Highlights thick streaks fine weave high light and low lights final goal!



How do your Highlights stack up ! maybe you should take a little more time with placement sectioning foil placement!

I speak from experience I used to book highlights back to back i could weave full head in just over half an hour.  Would I do this now ‘No’ it’s not the way to work to do things or get the best results.

Of course still consider re growth application colour balance and formulation but take the time to work on those sections it all about angles as you understand these  section you find you will naturally start to apply them to cutting sections as well it will give you over time greater understanding of shape and weight distribution.
For more information on the products or the Academy here is the contact information:


If you are interested in the waxed high light papers here is some contact information for you.

Also a useful link for the papers: wrrayson on Face book

Danielle Buscemi
Export Coordinator

W.R. Rayson Export
720 S. Dickerson St.
Burgaw, NC 28425
910-259-8100 ext.126

Hope these tip helps to some degree. Feed back and comments are always welcome on content and or future topic’s it helps keep things current.

Mike B2MR



Click here for Information on my book “The salon and the S word”  

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