At-home highlights

I have been dyeing my hair since I was fifteen as a simple way to play with my look and discover my sense of style. In recent years, this beauty regimen has become a necessary inconvenience to cover my significant percentage of grey hair, which has eclipsed the element of fun. Nonetheless, dying my hair is a choice I continue to make because I am not ready to embrace this reality.

For the longest time I relied on a one-solid-colour-from-the-box-dye from the pharmacy because it was the least expensive option. However, lately I started to consider highlighting my hair instead to stretch the beauty process over three months. Blond highlights would better mask the grey regrowth and minimize the effort required to maintain my manufactured youth.

The down side: getting my hair highlighted in a salon costs upwards of $170. There is absolutely no way I can afford that quarterly. SO, back to the box dye. But then it dawned on me: Father Miser is absolutely meticulous AND frugal – the perfect combination to sway him to do my highlights. After much convincing, he agreed. Feeling ambitious, we decided to try foil highlights because it would allow for more coverage and therefore a more natural effect, given my hair’s dark base.

After hours of research, shopping and trials, here is what I have to share with you.

For foil highlights, you will need:


  • 40-60 foil pieces of 6×10 inches ($1.00);
  • 10 elastics ($0.50)
  • Plastic dish to mix dye ($3.49);
  • Dye application brush ($0.79);
  • Long-handled comb ($1.00);
  • 2 oz powdered bleach sachet ($10.50)
  • 8 oz of 20 volume cream developer ($1.99)
  • 1.04 oz toner ($5.79)
  • 1 willing partner or friend (payment to be negotiated)


  1. Mix 1 oz of powdered hair bleach for every 2 oz of developer into plastic bowl. The mixture will turn slightly purple. Don’t worry, your hair will not turn purple.
  2. Section hair into ten mini buns, as shown in photo.
  3. Work your way through one section at a time, starting from the bottom-up. Grab a half-inch section of hair and clamp the excess out of the way. Divide the remaining half-inch piece horizontally into two. Weave pick-side of comb (up and down) through hair, allowing the bottom weave to separate.
  4. Insert one piece of foil under the top weave.  To make it easier, fold a half-inch of the edge of the foil over the pick-side of your comb to ensure a secured hold.
  5. Apply dye mixture to hair pieces on foil.
  6. Fold foil over hair pieces.
  7. Repeat steps 3 to 6, working your way through all of the sections.
  8. Allow the dye to process for 20-45 minutes.
  9. Rinse bleach out of hair and towel dry.
  10. Mix 1 oz toner to every 2oz of developer.
  11. Apply toner over all hair (not just bleached parts).
  12. Allow toner to process for 5-30 minutes. Check your hair every few minutes until it has reached the desired colour. DO NOT assume you must leave toner on for full 30 minutes.
  13. Rinse toner and condition hair.
  14. Voila!


The savings you will incur by doing your own highlights at home are massive! When comparing the salon cost and the at-home cost, the decision is clear.

At-home cost:

  • $25.06 for the first application and $18.28 for subsequent applications.

In salon cost:

  • upwards of $170 each visit.

The savings are significant, especially if you consider the frequency of the process. If you are in a salon for highlights four times per year, that is $680 instead of $80 annually!


I am 100% convinced to have Father Miser do my highlights at home from now on. However, I would recommend using a highlighting cap instead of foils. The process of foils took over 3 hours, given our relative inexperience. No matter the method you choose, the person helping should be someone who is patient and detail oriented.


***I have no experience as a professional hair stylist. The recommendations above are based on my own personal experience only.

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