5 Different Types of Highlights to Give You All of the Fall Hair Inspo

October 13, 2023
Jordan Julian
By: Jordan Julian | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
Person with blonde highlights holding her hands in her hair against a purple background

If you’re looking for a way to switch up your look without committing to the intense maintenance of a full dye job, highlights are the way to go. Highlights can add dimension to your natural hair color for an instantly refreshed vibe and depending on the type of highlights you opt for, they can often grow out beautifully with less maintenance required. When you think of highlights, you may just picture streaks of blonde or lightened hair, but there are actually quite a few different types of highlights. We tapped expert hair stylist and trend forecaster Tom Smith to walk us through the types of highlights that are trendy this fall. Keep reading for all of the hair color inspo you’ll need.    

Beurre Brunette

According to Smith, beurre brunette — or brown butter highlights — is a trending hair color this fall. “This shade is a great choice for softening any potential harshness when wearing darker bases,” says Smith. “This can also be a great choice for those who have been mostly dark haired previously, but are starting to see natural gray hairs making their way in.” Buttery brown highlights will add lightness and dimension without covering the gray hairs, he says, so you can embrace your stunning natural hair color. Smith recommends maintaining the warmth of these highlights with the evo Fabuloso Chestnut Color Boosting Treatment

Nepo Blonde

Unlike earthy blonde shades, “this tone is energetic and the epitome of ‘blondes have more fun,’ which rings true thanks to the attention-grabbing glow this shade provides,” says Smith. “This blonde is bright, clean and finely woven, creating a blonde canvas that is subtly multi-tonal.” Keep your color-treated hair healthy and strong with the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Routine.  

Chunky Highlights

“Chunky highlights are becoming more and more popular as people are intrigued by the idea of adding high contrast elements to their hair,” Smith explains. “Chunky highlights can definitely feel a little stripey and less natural, making them a great choice for the bolder wear or those who wish to make a statement.” You may remember chunky highlights as a major trend from the early 2000s. This hair color revival is the latest iteration of the beauty world’s obsession with Y2K aesthetics. “Chunky highlights can be positioned throughout the hair for a textural effect, done in a balayage technique to have a soft blended but piecey result by keeping them away from the roots or just kept around the face for a money-piece-style effect,” he says.


If you want a natural, more subtle look, babylights may be right for you. “Babylights are microfine highlights that are extremely delicately woven to give a very blended color,” says Smith. “The great thing about this technique is [babylights] do not show stripes or chunks, but brighten your natural color seamlessly, which tends to have a soft root as your natural hair grows out. They also tend to look more sophisticated and expensive, thanks to their intricacy.” Babylights can be done on all hair colors, from dark brunette to sun-kissed blonde. To maintain your bright blonde tone and keep brassiness at bay, incorporate a purple shampoo like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Brass Toning Purple Shampoo into your hair-care routine. 

Hot Chocolate Hair

Hot chocolate hair is having a huge moment this fall, and it can be accomplished by adding warm brown lowlights. “Under the expensive brunette umbrella, chocolate highlights give depth and dimension to deeper tones,” says Smith. “Traditionally called lowlights, these are a great way of adding detail and interest to those with deeper hair.”

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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