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How Long Do Highlights Last? – 2 Tips for Color Maintenance

How Long Do Highlights Last

For those considering highlights, you may be wondering: How long do highlights last?

Our answer comes in TWO PARTS:

FIRST, highlighting your hair involves bleaching and dyeing the hair, making it permanent. Take note that highlights fade, change color, and grow out along with new hair growth.

SECOND, this means highlights last on average, for about eight weeks.

If you want TIPS on how to prolong your beautiful highlights, keep reading!

Table of Contents

Getting Highlights

Getting Highlights

If you’re easily bored with your hair and like to frequently change hairstyles, highlights are a great way to start experimenting. There are many great hair highlight kits that you can buy online.

Instead of bleaching all of your hair, highlights (and lowlights!) can give you a different look for a lot less hair damage.

Of course, it still depends on how dark or light the natural hair colors of your hair are and what color highlights you’d like.

Fast Fact: Those with a darker natural hair color (like brown hair) may need to get their hair bleached a few more times to get the right coloring on their highlights.

After getting highlights or any dye job done on your hair, you’ll be advised to wait a FEW DAYS before you wash your hair. Why? For 2 reasons:

  • When you wash your hair, it also washes the color out so you’ll need to give the dyes time to really set into your hair follicles.
  • The highlights will fade faster the more often you wash your hair.

You may also need some frequent root touch-up sessions depending on how fast your hair grows.

Tips on Making Your Highlights Last

Like we mentioned before, highlighting your hair is a permanent process.

However, in addition to the color beginning to fade or change over time, the highlights will also appear to grow out.

What actually happens is the highlights travel down the hair shaft along with new growth from the roots.

How long your highlights will last boils down to genetics and how often you shampoo your hair, but there are many ways to keep your highlights fresh.

If you do decide to get highlights, take note of these maintenance tips to prevent any hair problems and make sure your highlights will last:

1. Proper Haircare

1. Proper Haircare

Color-treated hair can grow dull and dry in a few weeks, so properly caring for your hair in the weeks between your next hair salon visit will help your highlights last longer. 

And yes, this involves more than just washing your hair! You should follow a good hair care routine.

  • Investing in a shampoo for colored hair like purple shampoo will prevent your hair from getting that brassy orange tinge common with a blonde or lighter tone. Take note of this before you start to wash your hair!
  • Too much sun exposure will also affect the color of your highlights so it would be a good idea to protect your hair and scalp with a hat or hair sunblock.
  • If you love using heat to change your hairstyle, use a heat protectant when you do style it to prevent any further hair damage. Don’t ruin your hairstyle!
  • The bleaching process can make hair lose its healthy shine, so it would be good to treat your hair with a deep conditioner or hair mask once a week.

Keeping your scalp and hair healthy is not only important in itself, but will also help make your highlights last longer.

2. Going for Touch-Ups

2. Going for Touch-Ups

It’s normal for highlights to fade after a few weeks, but you’ll only need some touching up when there’s new growth.

This usually means going every eight weeks for hair treatments to make highlights last better.

On average, hair grows a 1/2 inch every month, but this will look different for everyone, especially those with curl shrinkage.

For those with faster-growing hair or a light highlight color, you may feel the need to get a touch-up more frequently, anywhere between four to eight weeks.

If you don’t mind seeing a bit of new growth from the roots, you can simply get your roots touched up when you go for your normal haircut! Or you could do a DIY touch-up at home!

Beauty Tip: Most professionals recommend getting your hair trimmed every eight weeks anyway, so there’s really no need to wait any longer for a touch-up.

To Go, or Not To Go?

Remember, highlighting your hair is PERMANENT. Highlights will last for quite sometime.

You’ll want to be careful when deciding if you really want to get highlights— better safe than sorry!

You may think highlights are a small change to your hairstyles and aren’t worth going to a salon for, but trust us— a professional is worth the price.

Remember: Highlighting your hair means dealing with chemicals and pigment that could damage your hair, skin, and your surroundings.

  • A professional stylist will know exactly how to take care of your highlights and make them last, making sure your hair looks its best.
  • Even though salons are expensive, they are well-equipped to prevent any hair issues or messy situations— definitely not the kind of mess you want at home.
  • Moreover, having them done right will make the highlights last way longer than a sloppy DIY job.

Gracefully Growing Out Your Highlights

Gracefully Growing Out

Making sure your highlights last can be a real pain— though they do say beauty is pain. Eventually, you’ll grow tired of your highlights and will want to grow them out.

Luckily, there are ways to deal with them other than touching up.

Embracing Your Natural Hair Color

Escaping the never-ending cycle of touching up means embracing your natural hair color!

You can ask your stylist to dye your highlights a color similar to your natural hair so that it fades naturally with the new growth.

But you’ll want to avoid dying bleached hair black again— a recipe for disaster.

...Or, Just Own It!

You can also totally just wait for your roots to grow out to get that ombré or balayage effect.

In the end, it’s always up to you to decide what you want your hair to look like. Your highlights will last as long as you plan to keep them!


September 6, 2021 – Improved article formatting, reviewed and updated overall content

July 28, 2021 – Added 1 new article link

July 19, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.