How To Do Chunky Highlights? | Elfin Hair
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How To Do Chunky Highlights?

Are you looking to refresh your look and make a bold statement with your hair? Chunky highlights might just be the answer you're seeking. With the perfect blend of contrast and color, chunky highlights can take your tresses to a stunning look, adding depth, dimension, and style. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to achieve stunning chunky highlights at home, as well as provide tips and tricks from professional hairstylists. Whether you're a hair color newbie or a seasoned DIY enthusiast, this post is designed to help you to create a show-stopping look. So, let's dive in and get ready to transform your locks with a touch of daring and flair!
chunky highlights

What are chunky highlights?

Chunky highlights are a hair coloring technique that creates bold, thick sections of contrasting color in the hair. Unlike traditional highlights, which are typically thin and subtle, chunky highlights provide a more dramatic and noticeable contrast to the base hair color. They can be done with various colors, ranging from natural shades like blonde and brunette to vibrant hues like red, blue, or purple.

Chunky highlights were especially popular in the early 2000s, and have made a comeback in recent years, as various hair trends from the past have been re-emerging. These highlights can be created using various methods, including foil highlighting, balayage, and even using tape-in hair extensions. It is essential to consult with a professional stylist to achieve the desired look, as the technique may differ depending on hair type, color, and desired outcome.
brown chunky highlighhts

Steps to make chunky highlights at home

Chunky highlights can be a fun way to add dimension and style to your hair. Here are the steps to make chunky highlights at home:

Gather your supplies:

    • Hair bleach and developer (choose a volume appropriate for your hair type and desired level of lift)
    • Hair dye (if you want colored highlights)
    • Sectioning clips or hair ties
    • A rat tail comb
    • Hair color brush
    • Mixing bowl
    • Gloves
    • Aluminum foil or plastic wrap
    • Timer
    • Old clothes and towel to protect your skin and surroundings
    • Shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair

Step 1: Prepare your hair: 

Brush your hair thoroughly to remove any tangles. Start with clean, dry hair.

Step 2: Section your hair: 

Use the rat tail comb to part your hair down the middle, and then section your hair into 4 quadrants (2 in the front and 2 in the back) using sectioning clips or hair ties.

Step 3: Mix the bleach and developer:

Follow the instructions on the packaging to mix the bleach and developer in the mixing bowl. Make sure to wear gloves while handling these chemicals.

Step 4: Select your highlight sections:

Chunky highlights are typically larger and more noticeable than traditional highlights. Choose sections of hair that are about 1 to 2 inches wide, and space them evenly throughout your head. You can select more or fewer sections, depending on how bold you want your highlights to be.

Step 5: Apply the bleach:

Place a piece of aluminum foil or plastic wrap under the section you desire to highlight. Ensure the foil can covers the entire length of the hair. Using the hair color brush, apply the bleach mixture evenly from the roots to the ends of the selected section. Make sure the hair is fully saturated. Fold the foil or plastic wrap around the hair to enclose the bleach and keep it from touching the rest of your hair.

Step 6: Repeat the process:

Continue applying bleach to the selected sections, working your way around your head. Ensure you've covered all the sections you want to highlight.

Step 7: Monitor the processing time:

Set a timer for the recommended processing time, as per the bleach instructions. Keep an eye on your hair's progress, as you may need to adjust the timing based on your hair type and your desired effect.

Step 8: Rinse and condition:

Once you've reached the desired lift, carefully remove the foil and rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. Apply a color-safe shampoo and conditioner, making sure to remove all bleach residue.

Step 9: Apply hair dye (optional):

If you want colored highlights, follow the instructions on the hair dye packaging to mix and apply the color. Be sure to protect your skin and surroundings. Process the color for the recommended time, then rinse and condition your hair again.

Step 10: Style your hair:

Towel-dry your hair and apply a heat protectant before using any hot styling tools. Style your hair as desired, and enjoy your new chunky highlights!

If you feel it fussy to bleach your hair, or you're worrying about the damage that the chemicals may bring to your natural hair, why not invest in tape-in hair extensions or a highlighted wig directly from an online hair store? With proper wearing techniques and maintenance, wigs and hair extensions can help to protect your natural hair.

Tips to maintain chunky highlights

Chunky highlights are a bold and eye-catching hair color trend that can help you express your unique style. To keep your chunky highlights looking vibrant and fresh, follow these tips:

Tip 1: Use color-safe shampoo and conditioner: Invest in a high-quality shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for color-treated hair. These products will help maintain the vibrancy and longevity of your highlights.

Tip 2: Wash your hair less frequently: Washing your hair too often can cause the color to fade faster. Aim to wash your hair no more than every 2-3 days, or use a dry shampoo in between washes to keep your roots fresh.

Tip 3: Cold water rinses: When washing your hair, use lukewarm water instead of hot water to preserve the color. After conditioning, finish with a cold water rinse to close the hair cuticles, locking in the color and boosting shine.

Tip 4: Limit heat styling: Frequent use of heat tools, such as curling irons, straighteners, and blow dryers, can damage color-treated hair. Limit heat styling and use a heat protector to minimize damage when you do use these tools.

Tip 5: Protect your hair from the sun: Prolonged sun exposure can cause color fading. Wear a hat or use a UV-protective spray to shield your hair from harmful UV rays.

Tip 6: Deep conditioning treatments: Regularly treat your hair with a deep conditioning treatment or hair mask to maintain its moisture and strength. This will help keep your hair healthy and your highlights looking fresh.

Tip 7: Regular trims: Get regular hair trims to remove split ends and keep your hair healthy. This will also prevent the highlights from looking dull and uneven.

Tip 8: Root touch-ups: As your hair grows, your roots will begin to show. Schedule regular appointments with your colorist for root touch-ups to maintain the appearance of your chunky highlights.

Tip 9: Be mindful of chlorine: Swimming pools can cause your highlights to fade or change color. Rinse your hair with fresh water before and after swimming to minimize the effects of chlorine.

By following these tips, you'll keep your chunky highlights looking bold and beautiful for as long as possible.

Chunky highlight inspirations

Chunky highlights have made a strong comeback in recent years, offering a bold and stylish look for people wanting to make a statement with their hair. Here are some chunky highlight inspirations to consider:

Face-framing highlights

Enhance your facial features by adding chunky highlights around the face for a youthful and brightening effect.
face-frame highlight wig

Rainbow highlights

Add a pop of color with chunky highlights in multiple hues, such as pink, purple, blue, and green, for a playful and vibrant look.
rainbow highlights

Balayage blend

Combine chunky highlights with a balayage technique to create a seamless blend of colors and added dimension.
balayage highlight

Colorful peek-a-boos

Choose a bright, bold color for chunky highlights that are hidden under the top layer of hair, creating a fun and unique effect when the hair moves.
peekaboo highlights

Ombre chunky highlights

Create a gradual transition from your natural hair color to a lighter shade using chunky highlights, offering a modern twist on the classic ombre look.
ombre chunky highlights

Caramel and honey tones

For a warm and inviting look, choose caramel and honey tones for your chunky highlights, especially on brunette hair.
P4/27 Highlights

Money-piece highlights

Opt for a more subtle yet impactful chunky highlight look by adding bright "money-piece" highlights that frame the face.
money piece highlights

Pastel highlights

Soften the chunky highlight effect by choosing pastel shades like lavender, baby blue, or blush pink.
blue highlights


Emulate the colors of a sunset by incorporating reds, oranges, and yellows into your chunky highlights for a stunning, warm look.

honey blonde highlights

Remember to consult a professional hairstylist to discuss your desired outcome and ensure your hair's health is maintained during the coloring process.

FAQs of chunky highlights

Q: Are chunky highlights in style?

A: Chunky highlights were experiencing a resurgence in popularity, particularly as part of the 90s/early 2000s fashion revival. Remember that personal style is ultimately a form of self-expression, so if you like chunky highlights and feel confident wearing them, go for it!

Q: Can chunky highlights be fixed?

A: Yes, chunky highlights can be fixed. If you're unhappy with your chunky highlights, it's best to consult a professional hairstylist who can help you achieve your desired look. Some possible solutions for fixing chunky highlights include: toning, adding lowlights or highlights, balayage, using tinted shampoo, etc.

Q: How long does it take to make chunky highlights?

A: In general, it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to complete the process. The time it takes to create chunky highlights can vary depending on several factors, such as the length and thickness of the hair, the desired amount of highlights, and the skill level of the stylist. To get a more accurate estimate, it's best to consult with your hairstylist.


In conclusion, chunky highlights are a bold and stylish way to add dimension and depth to your hair. By following the steps and tips outlined in this post, you can achieve this eye-catching look at home or with the help of a professional stylist. Remember to choose the right color combinations and use proper application techniques to ensure the desired results. Don't forget to maintain your highlights with proper care and touch-ups when necessary to keep your hair looking vibrant and healthy. With patience and practice, you can confidently rock chunky highlights and make a stunning fashion statement that showcases your unique style.

If you desire to rock highlight styles without bringing any damage to your natural hair, adding hair extensions or investing in a high-quality highlight wig should be a wise choice. Discover the highlight solutions from Elfin Hair and get inspiration for your next chic hairstyle!

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