Partial vs Full Highlights: Theory, Tips and Examples


20. Golden Beachy Waves

You want highlights to spice up your hair but aren’t sure if you want partial or full highlights? What’s the difference between partial and full highlights anyway? We explain how to get each look and how to decide which one may be the right fit for you (hint: the answer may be both!). Accompanied by 10 photos of each style, you’ll be able to tell the difference in no time. Have a look!

Partial highlights are those women you see who have some color placed around the face for a brightening or framing effect. Your stylist may call them a “half head of highlights.” They will probably have most of their natural color peeking through from the back and around the nape of the neck.

How your colorist makes it happen: Using foils and color of your choice, partial highlights are placed either in the mohawk section of your hair, the top half of your hair or the top half and the front sides of your hair. Because highlights are only touching a part of your tresses, your stylist may recommend “lightening the base” so that you can take your highlights a few shades lighter than your natural color.

Pros of partial highlights:

Cons of partial highlights:

Let’s take a look at how partial highlights can add a touch of natural-looking color to your hair using different techniques and a range of colors.

Adding some partial blonde highlights to waves gives it a ton of dimension, as shown here. These beachy waves are highlighted only at the top layer and evenly all over, leaving darkness at the root and underneath. It’s a perfect combination with a long bob.

Long Bob With Beige Steaks