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22 Chunky Highlights Ideas for Dazzling Hair Transformations

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As a seasoned hairstylist, I’ve witnessed countless hair color trends wax and wane. Yet, one trend that’s undeniably capturing hearts these days is chunky highlights. These aren’t the glaring, sometimes harsh highlights of the ’90s. Today’s version is a refined play of shadow and light, artfully framing the face.

The Evolution of Chunky Highlights

Let’s time-travel a bit. Remember “The Rachel”? That iconic ’90s look from “Friends” was my first encounter with chunky highlights. It was bold, it was different, and it sure was a hot request in salons!

Fast forward to the 2000s – we saw a shift. Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian led the trend with chunky highlights and darker roots, a look I’ve recreated many times in my salon. Now, we’re seeing a resurgence, but with a modern twist. Think Kylie Jenner’s vibrant blues and purples.

My Approach to Chunky Highlights

In this section, I’ll share my personal touch on creating chunky highlights that not only stand out but also beautifully complement your unique style.

1. Classic Chunky Blonde Highlights

These are timeless. I love how they add depth and brightness, especially on darker hair. My pro tip? Use a high-quality lightener and follow up with a purple shampoo to keep the blonde crisp.

2. Face-Framing Highlights

Want to accentuate your features? This is the way to go. I often use bold, chunky pieces around the face, creating a look that turns heads and highlights your natural beauty.

3. High-Contrast Chunky Highlights

For those who love to make a statement, this style is a game-changer. Mixing light and dark shades, I aim to create a look that’s as unique as you are.

Choosing the Right Color and Technique

In my years of styling, I’ve learned that choosing the right technique is just as crucial as picking the perfect shade. Balayage offers a softer, sun-kissed finish while foiling gives a more pronounced, bold look.

And here's a fun fact: the right shade can completely transform your appearance. It's about finding the perfect harmony between your skin tone, natural hair color, and personality.

Caring for Your Chunky Highlights

Maintaining chunky highlights isn’t as daunting as it seems. A weekly purple shampoo ritual is essential to prevent brassiness. Regular deep conditioning treatments and a good leave-in conditioner are my go-to solutions for keeping your hair healthy and vibrant.

Inspiration and Trends

I draw inspiration from various sources – celebrity styles, Instagram trends, and even my clients’ unique personalities. Whether it’s Billie Eilish’s neon green streaks or Dua Lipa’s blonde highlights, there’s always something new and exciting to try. And remember, chunky highlights aren’t just for long hair – they can add a playful touch to lobs or even accentuate the beauty of curly locks.

In my journey as a hairstylist, chunky highlights have been a constant favorite. From “The Rachel” to today’s Instagram-worthy styles, they’ve evolved but always stayed in vogue. They’re more than just a trend; they’re a way to express individuality, to make a statement. And that’s what I love about being a hairstylist – the ability to bring out each person’s unique beauty, one highlight at a time.

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SaveBold blonde streaks on dark brown, sleek and straight haircut with layered look.
Instagram / @yohayne

#1 Sun-Kissed Drama in Sleek Layers

This style showcases a modern take on chunky highlights, with bold streaks of blonde contrasting against the dark brown base, giving a sun-kissed yet dramatic effect. The cut falls straight and smooth, indicating a sleek, layered look that enhances the dimension created by the contrasting colors. Perfect for those seeking to add a vibrant twist to their hair, the highlights are chunky enough to make a statement, yet blended skillfully to maintain sophistication.

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