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Perfect Color: Get Sun-Kissed Highlights

Get vibrant, healthy-looking hair at home (and save money!) with our hue-can-do-it guide. We've got tricks and reader-tested product picks to help you get bright, sun-kissed highlights.

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woman with blond wavy hair
Lynda Churilla
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Your Goal: Brighter Highlights

DIY Trick: Don't go overboard. The smaller the chunks of hair you highlight, the more diffuse the finished look will be. Kelly Van Gogh, a celebrity colorist based in Miami, suggests sections of about 10 hairs spaced at least a half inch apart. A kit that makes sun-smooched streaks a cinch: L'Oreal Paris Touch-On Highlights ($12.99, drugstores), which comes with a brush that fits on your finger and glides the product through strands.

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Your Hair Color Tool Kit

Use a magic wand. Most at-home kits come with a small comb to run the highlighting formula through your roots. If the comb is uncomfortable or hard to manage, swap it out for a clean mascara wand (available at beauty supply stores). Or use a small makeup brush for a painted-on effect that's more forgiving when your hair begins to grow out.

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Get Hair in Shape

Get conditioned. Your color will go on more evenly and be less likely to penetrate too quickly if your hair is hydrated and healthy. Try a moisturizing hair mask, such as Pantene Pro V Restoratives Time Renewal Replenishing Mask ($4.99, drugstores), the day before you color to get strands in tip-top shape.

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Test Run

Do a test run. Start by coloring a small piece of your bottom layer of hair. You'll be able to see how the highlight develops before tackling the more visible areas. Use clips, like Color Trak Duckbill Clips ($4.59, sallybeauty.com), to pin up sections so that you can maneuver the strands strategically.

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Reader Review

Tester: Kali Hudgins, Winterville, North Carolina

Tested: L'Oreal Paris Touch-On Highlights in Iced Champagne ($12.99, drugstores)

Real-life lesson: "My highlights are so even and natural looking that everyone thinks I went to a colorist. Pick a kit that's only one or two shades lighter than your real shade for the best results."

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2010.

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FITNESS Magazine March 2010
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