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What’s the difference between partial and full highlights?

Ema Globyte
What is the difference between partial and full highlights? What type of highlights to opt for? Thanks!

The question of partial vs full highlights is common. If you are among those looking to see the difference between those two terms, search no more! We have prepared all the information you need to know about this matter.

What Are Highlights: Types of Highlights

Highlights are a beloved styling solution for many. That’s why, throughout the years of their existence, stylists have come up with numerous highlights variations to suit any taste and flatter any face and hair type. In general, highlights are lighter strands in your hair. Babylights, balayage, chunky, partial, and full highlights are just some examples of those! However, the two latter ones are typically the styles colorists receive the most requests for. Let’s take a look at whether they differ and in which way if so.

What Are Partial Highlights?

Partial highlights cover only specific sections of your hair, for example, the front strands near your face, or the top hair layer only, while the sections underneath typically remain undyed. A lot of people decide to go with partial hair highlights because they like the way their natural hair color is seen through the highlighted strands. Partial highlights cost around $75 and are rather inexpensive to maintain, which is one of their biggest pros. Their other advantages include:

– additional texture and depth of the hairstyle

– space for creative updos

– less potential damage when bleaching the hair

The cons of partial highlights include:

– no possibility of going “full blonde”

– most of the color remains unseen when you wear your hair up

The good news is that partial highlights can work well with any hair color, considering that your hairstylist does a good job blending them with the undyed hair.

What Are Full Highlights?

Full highlights cover all the hair, as their name suggests. Full head highlights are a perfect option for those who prefer a consistent hair color and don’t want to show off their natural shade. If you are wondering how many foils are needed to cover the whole head with highlights, you can count on an average of 100-120 of them.

Some benefits of full head highlights are:

– color consistency

– no need to bleach all the hair for a drastic transformation

– a wide variety of options to choose from

The potential drawbacks of such highlights include:

– higher cost

– more potential hair damage compared to partial highlights

How much does it cost to get full head highlights? Their price for medium hair is typically around $100. Besides, they also fit all hair colors if done by a professional hairstylist.

Difference Between Partial and Full Highlights

The major difference between the mentioned types of highlights is rather straightforward. While full highlights cover all the hair, partial ones are only present on the outer layers, leaving some natural-colored strands underneath, or in the front making a face frame.

Full Highlights vs Balayage

Is balayage considered full highlights? Balayage is a highlighting technique that can be either partial or full. In other words, the rules of partial and full highlights also apply to balayage. However, a distinctive trait of balayage is that it is hand-painted rather than dyed with foils.

Partial or Full Highlights: What to Choose?

Generally speaking, if you are looking for a cheaper option that is also easier to maintain and healthier for your tresses, partial highlights are advisable. However, if you want color consistency and are not scared of more costly visits to your hairstylist, you can confidently opt for full highlights. One more reason to go for full highlights may be your wish to transition from darker hair to blonde locks with less damage (in several sessions).

Best Ideas of Partial and Full Highlights in Photos

Now that you know the theory, it is time to take a look at some pictures of partial and full highlights. We have collected the best ideas to make your choice easier. Scroll down to check them out!

1. Partial Highlights on Dark Brown Hair. A luxurious mane of brown hair with some delicate golden ribbons is truly a royal combination.

2. Partial Highlights on Straight Hair. Dark brown or black hair looks remarkably beautiful with contrasting silver or ash strands. So, partial highlights on black hair will surely make heads turn.

Straight Black Hair with Partial Highlights
By Glen

3. Cool Highlights for Warm Hair. Partial highlights in blonde are a sure stunner if applied in the front to create an interesting contrast of cool and warm blondes.

4. Caramel Partial Highlights. Caramel shades are a top pick for many ladies who opt for highlights. No wonder, as they look romantic and delicious.

5. Red Partial Highlights. Partial foil highlights come in all colors. If you are brave enough, try these contrasting deep burgundy partial highlights on dark hair.

6. Partial Highlights Curly Hair Style. Thanks to the untamed curls, this style looks flirty and fun! Add partial highlights for a sun-kissed effect.

7. Partial Highlights Short Hair. Rocking bright highlights effortlessly is the prerogative of short-haired ladies, with brick red and copper shades being the hottest trend!

8. Partial Highlights on Brown Hair. Such delicate natural-looking highlights may be invisible in certain lighting. However, in broad daylight, they will shine in all their glory!

9. Ginger Hair with Partial Highlights. If your hair is naturally ginger, try a messy foil placement for partial highlights to enhance the wild fiery look!

10. Brunette Highlights and Lowlights. The images of partial highlights before and after are delightful to see! The best pictures of partial highlights can become your reality – simply choose an appealing dye job and book a visit to your hairstylist.

Before and After Pictures of Partial Highlights
By Mika

11. Full Highlights on Dark Hair. Mixed shades of full highlights have the power to completely transform your look. Pick the colors wisely!

12. Full Blonde Highlights. Here is an example of masterfully done full foil highlights. It features cool metallic shades of blonde – ash, platinum, and champagne.

13. Full Highlights on Brown Hair. The beauty of this style is in the subtlety of highlights, yet there is a major difference between before and after you get them.

14. Full Foil Highlights. These pretty highlights may be time-consuming to get but are totally worth it – just look at the marvelous result!

15. Full Caramel Blonde Highlights. Do you want to add some depth to your natural hair shade? Light brown hair will benefit from some evenly distributed golden strands.

16. Rose Wood Full Highlights. Pastel colors are the leading trend nowadays, so why not try such highlights? Rose wood is definitely one of our favorite hues!

17. Full Sandy Blonde Highlights. Dark sandy shades of blonde are extremely flattering. Such highlights will freshen up your appearance and add a cheerful vibe!

18. Full Set of Highlights in Warm Shades. Copper, bronze, auburn, and cinnamon all joined in a festive mix of highlights – what a feast for the eyes!

19. Full Beach Blonde Highlights. This style screams “summer”! No matter the weather, you will be a ray of sun thanks to your hair color.

20. Full Highlights on Black Hair. Platinum and silver are icy shades to contrast with black hair beautifully. If you are after an elegant and aristocratic look, this option is for you.

Hopefully, we have managed to bring you one step closer to making a decision on the partial highlights vs full highlights dilemma! What option will you choose? Comment below and send us your questions!