Seriously? Don’t try this at home!

Cap highlights should be considered a thing of the past. There may be an occasional reason for it, but I won’t be the one to stand behind it.

There are other methods to color short hair with dimension as long as you’re seeing an experienced and knowledgeable colorist.

No matter the argument, cap highlights in or out of the salon are just wrong. Don’t get desperate…..get the facts :).

In the salon I will refuse any request for a cap highlight service and I have many reasons for this!



Why You Shouldn’t Do Cap Highlights

1. It’s basically the same as doing your hair at home.

I’m baffled that any salon still offers this service…. seeing as there is really no difference than the at home box version other than the product we are using. If salons shouldn’t be doing it, then you definitely shouldn’t be doing it at home.


2. How can you properly place highlights specific to a clients needs?

You, as the client, come in for a “retouch” of your cap highlights. Common sense should take over on this one, how will your stylist be able to see which hair strands she is pulling through the cap? She doesn’t, she is poking and pulling as fast as she can to get it over with and slap some color on.

The result is blonde buildup- overly processed blonde ends and regrowth that barely looks highlighted. This same concept applies when doing it yourself, only worse. Eventually, your ends will look really blonde and your regrowth will look like it was barely highlighted….check me on that :).


3. When you pull a chunk of hair through a cap it’s not necessarily coming from that exact spot.

It appears that hair is being pulled from your front hairline when in fact it is being pulled from the area behind your ear. This results in half of a highlighted strand of hair and a huge mess! I could keep going with the reasons….but I think you get the idea, it’s not okay at home or at the salon!

Whether it’s cap highlights, box color, or special “streaking technique” boxes….it’s not a good idea. If you still don’t believe it read 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Box Color or contact me for specific advice!

About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

16 Responses to Why You Shouldn’t Do Cap Highlights

  1. demetra georgopoulos says:

    I have to say the first and second time I had my hair highlighted with foils I really loved the result. After that not so much. I found that when hair is highlighted with foil you get bands of color after a few sessions. At least with the cap (done professionally) when you go 2-3 times you don’t get that band. I guess for a salon it isn’t something they would want to do especially when you compare prices of a cap highlighting to a foil highlighting. I know the 80’s are calling me lol

    • Erika says:

      Many stylists don’t take the time to foil properly in relation to what you experienced. In order to maintain the same look- a stylist should follow the same pattern and do their best to retouch the previously highlighted hair. ABCH stylists are masters at this, but so many stylists were not taught this method!

  2. Edna says:

    Wat is the other way than cap highlights?foil comes out in clumps?

  3. Beth says:

    I started cap highlighting by myself. Two different friends who are stylist thought I found the best colorists in town. Both own their own salon…both wanted to ask her how she got the depth and detail of my depth. Both want to hire her. If I told them, I am the mystery colorist…sudden shame . Well my best fronds would charge me $200-$250 for my colors …well my friend no more!

    Long story short- with quality products and time- great results can be achieved…using a cap.

    • Erika says:

      Good for you….I hope that cap treats you well! I’m sure all of your friends would trust you to work some cap highlighting magic on their hair….skies the limit right?

      • Nope says:

        Ooof, so bitter lmao! Not only do I cut my own hair, I color it too. I get compliments from complete strangers DAILY. Y’all love trying to make people think they can’t do it without you lol. Good luck!

  4. Laura says:

    I would rather have baylayage but at 170-200$. So,people that cant afford turn to the BOX at store.

  5. Gloria says:

    I prefer cap than foils! foils doesn’t look as natural as the cap

    • Erika says:

      It depends on who highlights your hair, the formula used, and whether or not your highlights are toned after processing….that is true with foils or cap highlighting.

    • Anna says:

      Those of u who are giving cap highlights a bad rap first off u don’t k what yr doing second it dosent hurt when u k how to pull it thru I have been doing cap for 46 years never had any of my clients say it hurt have pulled hair down the middle of the back never once hurt them best and most natural way to highlight

      • Erika says:

        There’s really no place for cap highlights in professional hair color anymore. Techniques have advanced time and time again, but some stylists still offer the service because it’s what they learned back in the day(and many of them never learned or got the hang of foiling techniques- it takes longer, requires precision, practice, etc….unlike using a cap…which requires little to no skill at all). Even your basic foiled highlights are less popular right now as they have been replaced with balayage, hand-painted highlights, etc.

  6. Bridgette says:

    I haven’t done a cap in years. I had the exception when a older lady with a tight perm came in. Her hair was basically all dark without any color on it. I pulled with the smallest pick every hole. I put a toner of 9nv and it came out beautiful and natural. The smalles needle didn’t leave and lines at her scalp. Her hair was very thick. My problem with foils and a tight perm is that the hair shrinks while on the foil. I use foils primarily. The exception was that a professional did this and it was toned. You can’t get this at home.

  7. JennaR says:

    Plus it hurts really badly… i remember doing this as a kid and wanting to cry cuz the lady would pull my thick hair through the little holes… 🙁

    • Erika says:

      I forgot about that part! I’m always so focused on the results when it comes to hair color topics and I forget about the possible discomfort! Yes, foiling takes longer, but that’s the only complaint anyone could have. No jabbing at the scalp, and certainly no spotty color!

  8. […] are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t use cap highlights at home or in the salon.  I hope this technique slowly slips out of all stylists and clients […]

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