How to Grow Out Highlights and Go Back to Your Natural Color

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When I was a child I had naturally fair hair but once I hit puberty it started to turn a mousey, dishwater color. Unhappy with the loss of my beautiful light blonde hair, I begged my mother to let me get highlights. Looking in the mirror I instantly felt much brighter and happier, and ended up gradually going lighter and lighter. 

There’s something about blonde hair that becomes sort of addictive, and if I didn’t come out of the hairdressers looking like a blonde bombshell then I somehow felt like I looked drab and boring. Unfortunately the problem with getting highlights all the time is that they build up on top of each other until your hair ends up being just all one color. 

Once I reached my 30s I started to get much more natural-looking highlights that don’t look quite so noticeable or stripey. My amazing stylist Cody uses more of a ‘foilayage’ technique which means the highlights subtly blend in with my roots. I started to need less visits to the salon and realized that perhaps I actually like the color of my natural blonde hair. 

I also realized that at some point I’m going to go grey and that if I continued to dye my hair, I’d never know what my natural hair color actually looks like! So I decided to stop dying my hair altogether and see if I could grow my natural dirty blonde hair out. At the time of writing this post, it’s officially about one year since I last had my hair dyed. There’s still about a year to go before it’ll be all grown out, but it’s been an interesting process to see how fast I can grow it out!

If you’re wondering how to grow out highlights gracefully, here are some top tips to speed things along and still look great! 

Stop Dying Your Hair

First things first, if you want to grow out blonde highlights you’ll need to quit the dye. There’s no other way around it. The last time you get your hair dyed, try to get a subtle balayage or foilayage that will grow out without leaving a harsh line at the root. 

Your colorist can use carefully placed highlights to ensure that it grows out softly without noticeable roots. Research the best colorists – sometimes it’s worth paying extra money to visit a skilled hairdresser who really knows what they’re doing. Ask friends for recommendations or check the stylist’s Instagram account so you can see the type of work they do.  

Consider a Subtle Face Frame

As you grow your hair out you could consider visiting the salon just to get some face frame or “money piece” highlights for a sunkissed look. This way you can add a pop of brightness to the front of your hair while the rest grows out. 

People mainly only notice the front of your hair, so some subtle highlights around the face can instantly make you feel brighter without dying the rest of your hair. 

Get it Toned or Glossed at the Salon

Your hairdresser can apply a toner to your hair or a gloss to blend the roots with the rest of your dyed hair. This will help your hair to have a more uniform look and make your roots look less noticeable. 

Toning is much better than trying to dye the rest of your hair down to your natural color, which can make it look super drab. 

Stop Wearing High Ponytails

I always have a habit of tying my hair up in high ponytails or tight buns on the top of my head. Unfortunately this caused a lot of hair breakage and I have some really short, damaged pieces at the front which don’t look great. The new hair growing in looks super shiny but the rest of my hair looks broken and damaged. 

Try to wear low hairstyles or plait your hair to avoid it breaking near the ends.

Use a Silk Scrunchie

Silk scrunchiesSilk scrunchies

In order to prevent hair breakage, tie your hair up using silk scrunchies instead of ordinary hair ties. Silk scrunchies are far less damaging to the hair so it will stay much stronger and healthier. I personally like the following silk scrunchies:

Take Hair Supplements

If you want to grow out your highlights faster, consider taking some skin, hair and nail supplements. 

Biotin is said to boost hair growth and make your nails grow thicker, and it can be found in many of the supplements available on the market. I don’t really enjoy swallowing capsules, so my favorite way to take supplements is by chewing gummies. I use the Hello Lovely hair vitamins from Amazon, which contain Biotin along with Vitamin C and E. I take two in the morning and they taste delicious! 

Other popular hair growth supplements include:

Condition Your Hair with a Hair Mask

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Activation TreatmentLee Stafford Hair Growth Activation Treatment

I really swear by the Lee Stafford Grow it Longer Range of hair products. In the UK you can find it in Boots or you can buy it online from Amazon. His vegan-friendly hair growth treatment helps hair reach its maximum potential length and improves follicle health. It leaves my hair feeling nice and silky and whenever I’m in the UK I stock up on it!

Incorporating a weekly mask treatment into your haircare routine will ensure your hair stays in tip top condition. 

Consider the following hair masks:

Get a Big Haircut Followed by Regular Trims

If you want to get rid of your dyed hair fast then consider having your hair cut shorter into a long bob. This way you’ll cut off a large amount of your color-treated hair and be left with the natural blonde hair that’s coming through. 

As your hair grows out just get regular trims to get rid of any split ends and make it look healthy.

Eat Foods that are Good for Hair Growth

Plate of healthy foods - avocado, eggs, saladPlate of healthy foods - avocado, eggs, salad

While supplements can make your hair grow longer, nothing beats getting your nutrients through food. Eat foods that are good for hair growth, such as eggs, spinach, berries, fatty fish, oysters, sweet potatoes, avocados, beans and nuts. 

Try Rice Water

A new trend that’s got everyone talking is rice water, which supposedly can help your hair grow faster. Women in southeast Asia have been using rice water for centuries and the Yao women in China are known for having ultra long hair that averages around 6 feet. You can easily make your own rice water at home by soaking some white rice in water for around 30 minutes and then using the water to rinse off your hair in the shower. 

The starchy rice water is rich in vitamins and minerals including amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E and antioxidants. It helps to detangle the hair, make it shinier and grow longer . While there’s not much scientific research on rice water to back up the claims, anecdotal evidence shows it seems to have worked for the Yao women!

Be Patient

Hair on average grows around 0.5 inches per month, so it would take around a year to grow 6 inches of hair and 2 years to grow 12 inches of hair that reaches the shoulders. It’s a long process, but with the help of supplements you may be able to help your hair grow that little bit faster. 

The hardest part about growing hair dye out is the two-tone ombre look you get in the meantime. I feel like it makes my hair look super flat and greasy at the root, yet dry and frizzy at the ends. Unfortunately there’s not much that can be done about that, so the key is just to be patient. Keep washing and conditioning, and try to get your hair in the sun as much as possible so the roots don’t look so dark.

It’s super tempting to just give up and go back to highlights to cover up your roots, but if you can hold out for as long as possible, it’ll be worth it in the end. 

A Final Word…

The biggest thing I’ve noticed about growing my natural blonde hair out is that it’s very reflective and shiny. Dyed hair tends to be dull and all one color, whereas my natural blonde hair has many different shades to it. Sometimes it looks super blonde in the light, then other times it looks much darker. I love the fact that it’s so smooth and silky and it doesn’t have any breakage. 

Growing out highlights takes time and dedication but it’s totally worth it to have healthy looking hair. While it’s fun to experiment with hair colors, once you start it’s very difficult to stop. 

Quitting hair dye means you’ll no longer have to make expensive trips to the salon and your hair will look so much shinier!

Other beauty secrets:


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