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Lowlights in the hair: 10 examples of natural-looking dark highlights!

Surely you have heard the term "lowlights" before, but what are they and what is their function? To get lowlights, your stylist adds a color that is a few shades darker than your base color by using a foil streaking technique or even balayage. The difference between highlights and lowlights is whether the colored strands are darker or lighter than the base color. Mixing lighter and darker highlights creates contrast and dimension, resulting in a beautiful color change. Read on to learn all about lowlights in hair and see the best examples of how to spice up your hair color with highlights.

When are lowlights in hair a good idea?

blonde and dark highlights

There are several reasons why you might want to have lowlights added to your hair. Sometimes you just want to add more dimension to your lightened, highlighted hair. In this case, the lighter highlights are better accentuated by a darker color. This is very common with modern, dimensional hair colors.

Dark highlights add dimension to the hair

Look at the picture on the left for this example of blonde hair without lowlights. It looks more monochromatic and has less dimension. The example on the right shows how lowlights add depth to the hair color and make the highlights shine.

Another case where a colorist would advise lowlights is to refresh your hair color after summer, when the sun has made your hair very light or brassy. Lowlights can help you remove some of the brass and get a nice natural look for your mane.

blonde and dark strands on brown hair

Even women who bleach their hair frequently and have new highlights done every three months or so may want to return to the dimension they had when they started. If that’s the case for you, you can bring back some of your natural hair color with lowlights.

Examples of well-placed lowlights in the hair

Caramel and dark highlights on brown hair.


Now check out the best looks with highlights and lowlights that you might want to recreate! If you style your hair with waves or curls, your lowlights will also come out better than if you wear your hair straight.

1. highlights and lowlights on brown hair

Highlights and lowlights on brown hair

Balayage is meant to look natural, as if your hair is lightened in the summer sun. Adding dark highlights adds dimension to the hair. This look is a classic balayage on brown hair, adding highlights and lowlights.

2. dark brown strands

Dark brown highlights really make the highlights shine


When you want to do highlights on brown hair, lowlights help keep the look natural. To achieve this lighter blonde on brunettes, use the technique called Foilayage. The lowlights really make the blonde shine!

3. caramel lowlights

Spice up brown hair with caramel highlights

Caramel lowlights are a great option for fall hair color. You can add a warm brown lowlight and darken your highlights for fall/winter to create this beautiful caramel look.

Caramel highlights on brown hair

4. ice blonde highlights and lowlights

ice blonde highlights with lowlights on brown hair

Blondes should add lowlights to make blonde highlights stand out even more! For brunettes, it can take several sessions to get their hair this light. If you are a natural brunette and really want to be blonde, adding lowlights and shadow roots can add depth and make the color more low maintenance.

5. natural red hair with lighter red lowlights

spice up natural strawberry red hair with highlights

Spicing up your naturally red hair with highlights and lowlights will make your exceptional hair stand out. Redheads often have a beautiful natural auburn hair color, but sometimes it lacks dimension. Adding lighter red highlights along with golden blonde highlights will really make your hair shine.

natural red hair with lighter red lowlights

6. burgundy lowlights with copper highlights

dark hair with red highlights.

Burgundy and copper tones are great for brunettes, especially those with olive complexions! Combining these two hair colors really makes brown hair look classy.

spice up dark hair with caramel red highlights

7. lowlights on blonde hair for more depth

dark highlights on blond hair for more depth

For bleached highlights on naturally blonde hair, it’s important to leave dark sections down. For natural blondes who want to go lighter, the word "lowlight" may sound scary. But when you bring in that depth, your blonde highlights actually look lighter in the top coat! So don’t be afraid!

8. ash brown lowlights for cool hair colors

Ash brown lowlights for cool hair tones.

If you are a cool brunette, you can opt for an icy blonde in combination with a darker ash tone. It is important to ask your colorist to add dimension and maintain a cooler overall look to avoid as much warmth as possible. This can be achieved with cool toned highlights and brown lowlights.

9. contrasting highlights around the face

Contrast highlights around the face

Surely you have heard the term "Money Piece", that is, strongly lightened highlights that beautifully frame the face. One of the most important places for the colorist to place a lowlight is directly behind these face-framing highlights. This gives you a strong blonde tone right in the foreground.

face framing blonde highlights

10. highlights and lowlights conceal gray hair

Highlights and lowlights conceal gray hair at the roots

Another way to use lowlights is for gray blending. To conceal the gray, you add cool toned highlights and a lowlight that is close to your natural color. This look requires frequent toning treatments, but you meanwhile also use a purple shampoo at home.