How to Get White Highlights on Black Hair

When choosing highlight placement, consider how you'll style your hair.

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If edgy style is your calling card, you were made for ebony hair with streaks of white lighting. Yes, it's a look that's beyond bold, but you're woman enough to carry it well. There will be mucho hair bleaching involved though, so plan ahead. Trim those dry ends and give yourself a deep conditioning treatment or two to get your hair in tip-top shape for this funky color process.


Brush your hair to remove any tangles. The hair needs to be fairly clean (a little product won't hurt) and dry so it will slide through the holes in the highlighting cap with minimal fuss and tugging (ouch!).


Slip the cap onto your head and pull it down until it sits snug against the scalp. Tie the chin strings snugly, but not like a noose. We're going for secure, not strangling.


With your metal crochet hook begin piercing the cap in the designated areas (marked by a circle around a perforated hole) and pulling sections of hair through. If you want a few chunky white sections around the face, pull a few larger sections through at the front of the cap. If you want thinner sections throughout the hair, pull slim sections through every second or third hole in all the rows of circles.


When you have all the hair pulled through, mix up your bleach. Combine the powdered bleach and 20-volume developer, in a color bowl according to the product ratio directions. Mix well to remove any lumps and create a consistent and creamy concoction.


Apply the bleach to the hair with the brush. Be generous and really work that bleach in to saturate every single strand of hair. If you miss spots, or your application is spotty and uneven, you'll end up with dark bits that are pretty much impossible to correct.


Loosely place a plastic bag over the bleached hair. Leave a little room between the hair and the bag. Gently gather up the perimeter of the bag and clip it closed. The goal is to seal out air (air dries out the bleach, preventing it from working) but to leave a buffer of space between the bag and head.


Check the hair every 10 minutes until the hair is nearly yellow, then check every two to three minutes until the hair is super-pale yellow. To check the hair, open the bag and lift a small section of the hair. With an old towel, wipe away the bleach to reveal the hair. If the color isn't right, reapply bleach to the area and seal the bag again.


When the hair reaches the nearly white stage, rinse off all the bleach immediately. With the cap still on, rinse the hair until all the bleach is removed. Now you're ready for the toner.


Mix a level 10 semi-permanent hair color with 10-volume developer and a 1/2 oz. of violet drabber. The violet drabber will cut any remaining yellow tones that might remain. Mix this concoction up really well in a color bottle.


Apply the toner to all the bleached hair (the cap should still be on). Let that sit and tone the hair for 20 minutes, then rinse the color out. Apply conditioner to the bleached hair, and gently slide the cap off of the head (conditioner makes a great hair lubricant). Rinse the conditioner and you're done. You now have the ultimate in two-tone hair.

Things You'll Need


1.Highlighting kit with cap and crochet hook

3.20-volume developer

5.Plastic bag

7.10-volume developer


4.Color bowl and brush

6.Semi-permanent color

8.Hair conditioner


Tips & Tricks


The closer you can get to white with the bleach, the easier it will be to tone the hair and get a cleaner, whiter highlight.

Don't attempt this unless your hair is super healthy. Bleaching your hair this much is really just asking for a chemical haircut so be careful. If the hair, at any stage during the bleaching, starts to look mushy or break off, immediately stop and rinse the bleach off.

Be very gentle when wiping off the bleach to check the hair's progress. Wipe slowly and carefully --- never rub aggressively or you risk breaking your hair.

Do not mix bleach with hair dye that contains metallic salts. If you colored your hair black and used a drugstore variety dye, check that the brand doesn't contain those pesky metallic salts or you'll turn your hair to mush.


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