Thinking about putting some highlights in your dark hair for a lighter look? See our blonde highlights on dark hair male examples and check out some of the different ways you can rock them!
From subtle highlights that make your hair look naturally sunkissed to high-contrast highlights that totally transform your look, we’ve got examples for every highlighted look a guy could want.
Blonde Highlights on Dark Hair Male – Will It Look Good?
Putting blonde highlights in dark hair feels like a big deal, especially if you’re getting highlights for the first time. After all, highlighting dark hair requires bleach, which permanently lightens the color of your hair.
You want to be 100% sure this is the look you want before you do anything permanent. It’s very common to see guys with highlights in blonde and light brown hair.
But what about blonde highlights on dark hair males – does it look good, or is it too much contrast? It all depends on the color of the highlights, their placement, and your overall style.
Blonde highlights on dark haired males can look great whether they’re done subtly with a darker blonde or bold and bright with light blonde. Dark-haired guys after a bolder look will want light or platinum highlights with plenty of contrast.
Those who want their hair to look pretty natural will prefer sticking with darker highlights that appear warm and sunkissed, not bleached.
The pattern and way they’re placed throughout your hair is also key to making sure you’ll love the results. Some guys like a few highlights here and there, while others prefer all-over highlights that completely change the color of your hair.
Blonde Highlights on Dark Hair Male Variations
Highlights for guys are a little different from women’s highlights since the hair is typically shorter or cut in classic mens’ styles like short shags, tapered cuts, and fades.
These guy-friendly highlights are some of our favorite examples of blonde highlights on dark hair – male style! Here’s a closer look at some of the variations you’ll find in popular blonde highlights on dark hair male looks.
Subtle Blonde Highlights on Dark Hair
Blonde highlights on dark hair can create a bold contrast. If that’s not your style, you can opt for a more subtle look by choosing a warm, darker shade of blonde for your highlights (like caramel blonde, dirty blonde, or honey blonde).
Dark blonde highlights on dark hair are less high-contrast than white blonde or platinum-toned highlights against dark brown or black hair.
Dark blonde, subtle highlights can appear naturally sun-kissed and seamlessly blend in with your dark hair color. Subtle, darker highlights won’t make it obvious that you’ve gotten highlights.
Blonde highlights, whether they’re subtle or bold, require lots of maintenance to look their best. You’ll need root touch-ups every 2 months or so to keep your dark roots from wrecking the look of your highlights.
But with a darker blonde shade, you may be able to go longer in between touch-ups without making it obvious that your highlights are growing out.
Bold Blonde Highlights on Dark Hair
If you like the bold contrast of light blonde highlights on dark hair (we love this look, too), then the sky’s the limit. You can choose to get one or a few strategically placed bold highlights around your face and crown.
You can opt for all-over highlights that seem to lighten the color of your hair as a whole. Make your highlights as thin or chunky as you’d like for the most contrast.
You can even opt for peekaboo highlights that only show when your hair is parted or styled a certain way! Determine how you want your highlights placed by thinking of how blonde you want your hair to look.
But when you’re going bold with your blonde highlights, you need to be sure this is the look you’re going for since the highlights won’t go away until you decide to cut your hair.
With such a high-contrast look, you’ll need regular root touch-ups to keep your highlights looking fresh and avoid grown-out, dark roots.
Blonde Highlights on Dark Hair Male Placement Patterns
When you’re getting highlights on dark hair, you need to think about how you want them placed throughout your mane. This is all about your personal preference and the look you’re going for.
The pattern your highlights are placed in makes a big difference in the finished result. If you’re sticking with a more natural, subtle look, you can choose to have your highlights placed along the T-zone or only in the top instead of placing them evenly all-over.
We like the way subtle blonde highlights look when they’re placed in areas where the sun would naturally lighten your hair – on the top, through the t-zone (the top and crown area), and around your face.
However, you might like the subtle color change by getting dark blonde highlights all over, which makes your hair color appear a little lighter overall. In general, thinner highlights will look more natural than thick, chunky highlights.
If your motto is “the blonder, the better,” get all-over highlights placed close together. If you like the look of white blonde highlights but still want plenty of dark hair showing through for contrast, you might get heavier foils in the front with sporadic foils in the back.
Or opt for one or a few thick, chunky highlights that stand out against your dark hair. T-zone highlights are also a great option for bold, bright highlights on dark hair.
You’ll get the most visual effect from placing your highlights in this zone on top of your head and around the crown. The sides and back will remain your natural color for plenty of contrast.
Types of Highlights
Another thing to consider before you decide to get highlights on dark hair is the type of highlights you want. Highlights can generally be done 3 ways:
- Foil highlights (most common)
- Balayage hand-painted highlights (most natural)
- Cap highlights (most affordable)
Choose the type of highlights you want based on the overall look you’re going for and your budget.
Foil highlights are the most common and popular choice and most salons and barber shops are skilled with this form of highlight. The hair is sectioned and divided, then painted with bleach and developer before being enclosed in foil while the hair lifts to a blonde color.
The foils prevent the bleach mixture from touching the rest of your hair and help the hair lift faster. You can get subtle or bold highlights with this method – all-over, along the t-zone, or in individual sections.
Balayage highlights are very trendy, but because they require the stylist to hand-paint the bleach and developer formula onto your hair, not all salons will offer this type of highlight.
It requires special skill and attention to detail as the highlights are painted in a gradient style to look a little more natural with a “sun kissed” effect. Balayage highlights are great for dark hair because they typically leave the roots unbleached for a lower-maintenance look.
As your hair grows out, the dark roots gradually get longer and appear blended into the hair rather than a stark dividing line you’ll get with foil or cap highlights.
Cap highlights were all the rage in the 80s and 90s, but have since fallen out of favor due to the even, symmetrical highlights you get from this method. A plastic cap with perforated holes is placed on your head and small pieces of hair are pulled through to be highlighted.
Cap highlights are the most affordable type of highlights you can get, but the method doesn’t work well for subtle or natural-looking highlights. It’s a better option for all-over, high-contrast highlights.
20 Blonde Highlights on Dark Hair Male Examples
You know the ins and outs of blonde highlights on dark hair – choosing how subtle or bold your look should be, how you want your highlights placed, and the method you want to use to get your highlights.
Now, we want to show you some examples of blonde highlights on dark hair males so you can see how versatile and diverse this look can be! Below, you’ll find examples of blonde highlights from barely-there and subtle to in-your-face and bold.
You’ll get a chance to see some of the different highlight placement patterns and shades of blonde so you can decide which look will be best for you. Check it out!
1. Top-Heavy Golden Blonde Highlights With Dark Brown Hair
Gold-toned blonde shades work really well with warm shades of brown hair. They seem to bring out the underlying red, gold, and auburn tones in dark brown!
The gilded blonde shade is heavily highlighted in the top of this look for a high-contrast look that’s impossible to miss. A shadow root brings more depth into the style and makes maintenance a little easier.
2. Multi-Toned Blonde Highlights on Long Dark Hair
There’s something really attractive about blonde highlights on long, dark hair. In this example, you’ll see multiple shades of blonde from white-blonde on top to caramel blonde at the ends and around the face. This gives the look a more natural effect where it looks like the sun has bleached strands of hair.
Read Next: Long Men’s Hairstyles Trending in 2023
3. Face-Framing Platinum Highlights on Brown Hair
When it comes to choosing a bold, light blonde for highlights on dark hair, you have the choice of going all-over or concentrating the color in smaller sections.
We like how this guy contains the bold platinum to the front face-framing pieces – it really accentuates the color and contrast. A nice taper fade with the longer top styled up with lots of volume really shows the highlights off.
4. Dark Drop Fade With Blonde Highlights
Fades and blonde highlights on dark hair work really well together, especially when the blonde accentuates the shape of the fade.
The shortest sections are unbleached to show off the descending line of the drop fade and with bright white-blonde highlights throughout the longer top and back sections, the entire look is high-contrast and bold.
5. White Blonde Highlights on Top
If you like the contrast of white blonde highlights on dark hair but don’t want to change your overall color with highlights everywhere, try a look like this.
White blonde highlights are strategically placed (with lots of space in between) in the top of the hair only. The sides and back with their natural dark color.
6. Caramel Blonde Highlights With Long Shadow Root
Caramel blonde provides a low-key way to make blonde highlights work for dark hair without such a vibrant contrast.
It’s one of the deepest shades of blonde that borders on light brown and features a lot of warmth to pick up on your natural dark hair color. A long shadow root gives the look an easy-breezy finish that’s a lot less work to maintain.
7. Light Honey Blonde Money Piece Highlights
Money piece highlights feature small, bright highlighted sections to frame the face. On guys with short hair, this look is a little different with the front top section being lightened while the rest of the dark hair provides some nice contrast. The light honey blonde hue is perfectly paired with a medium-dark brown color.
8. Curly Violet-Platinum Blonde Highlights on Top
Curls look really nice with highlights! The lighter color actually helps accentuate the curl pattern. To keep the look from being too “perfect,” highlights are painted onto alternating curl groups to leave plenty of dark hair in between for a nice contrast.
Keep the highlights to the top section to save yourself the trouble of maintenance on the shorter sides and back.
9. Coily Blonde Frosted Tips
Coarse, coily hair is a great candidate for blonde highlights on dark hair. The look here is medium-contrast with honey-toned highlights on dark brown hair.
Only the tips are bleached, so these are considered frosted tips. When you’re ready for a new look, trim your hair to get rid of the highlights – or keep them going with regular touch-ups and trims!
10. Bold White Highlighted Tips on Dark Hair
Highlighted or frosted tips are back in style and this is a bold and bright way to rock the trend. The hair is processed to fully lift to a white blonde to create the most contrast with dark hair.
Keep the color to the tips only for some nice contrast with your dark roots and you’ve got an in-your-face look that is also pretty simple to maintain.
11. Silver Blonde Highlights With Dark Shadow Root
Silvery platinum blonde is a difficult color to achieve and maintain since you have to reach the lightest blonde while bleaching and tone it with a violet-silver shade.
It contrasts so well with dark brown and black hair, though – especially with a dark shadow root. If you can swing the maintenance costs and trips to the salon, we say go for it.
Read Next: Silver Hair Ideas for Men
12. Peekaboo Platinum Blonde Highlights
Highlights don’t have to make you look like you’ve spent hours at a salon. We like this toned-down look with a few peekaboo platinum highlights on one side.
The highlights are placed in a few strands around one side of the face. They’re painted at the ends of the hair for a low-key, subtle take on blonde highlights on dark hair.
13. Face-Framing Blonde Highlights on Curly Dark Hair
Curls, blonde highlights that frame the face, and dark hair for contrast? Oh yeah, this look is a recipe for success.
Highlights are great to accentuate curls and really (dare we say) highlight the curl pattern. With a few light blonde highlights twisting in and out of the curls, the finished look is natural.
14. All-Over Light Blonde Highlights on Brown Hair
This guy’s crazy expression doesn’t take away from the style – we love the light blonde shade with a hint of yellow in the undertones.
This buttery blonde shade highlighted throughout the hair takes us back to the 90s and his medium-length, shaggy cut gives us big sk8r boi vibes. All-over highlights leave a little darkness peeking through, but give the color an overall blonde look.
15. Dark Hair With Icy Platinum Highlights on Top
This guy’s bundling up because his platinum highlights are oh-so icy. The cool-toned blonde highlights really contrast well with the dark color of the hair here, even though the sides and back are left dark.
From the crown to the front hairline, platinum highlights are woven into the hair for color that pops without being too high-maintenance.
16. Caramel Blonde Subtle Highlights on Black Hair
If you’ve got very dark brown or black hair and don’t want a super-bold, high-contrast look, you’ll want to consider a deep caramel or honey blonde instead of white blonde.
These deeper shades blend in with dark hair better and create a more natural, sun-kissed look. Placement is important if you want the look to be subtle, so opt for t-zone highlights along the top and crown for the most natural effect.
17. Dark Dreads With Highlighted Tips
Dreadlocks are a great canvas for highlights, though the processing time may be a little longer to ensure an even tone.
We really like this look with bleached tips to highlight the ends of the locs. If you get tired of the look, just trim your locs and seal the ends again to start over fresh!
18. Silvery Blonde Highlights With Shadow Root
This highlighted look is a cross between all-over highlights and frosted tips. The roots are left unbleached for a lower-maintenance color that appears a little more casual and natural.
While the silvery blonde is hard to mistake for a natural color, it lightens the hair from midshaft to end without lightening the darker roots. This look will give your color a lighter look overall without the monthly maintenance of all-over bleached hair.
19. Thin Honey Blonde Highlights on Top
Brown hair with thin highlights gives you a more subtle look that doesn’t scream “I just got highlights!” If you’re looking for a style that’s a little more natural and subdued, ask for very thin highlights in a deeper, warm shade of blonde like this honey hue.
20. Single Stripe Highlight on Coily Black Hair
This is a great example of how highlights don’t have to follow a set pattern or placement. You can be a little creative to get the look you want!
A single stripe of yellow-blonde color in a high-volume style creates plenty of contrast. It’s a bold look that is sure to turn heads, but be aware that it requires more maintenance to keep up as your roots grow out!
Final Things to Consider
Before you book your appointment or grab your supplies to DIY your highlights at home, take a look at these tips and things to keep in mind.
- Know how much highlights usually cost. It’s always a good idea to have a rough sense of how much your highlights will cost you before you head to the salon or barber shop. It can cost you anywhere from $20 for partial highlights to more than $150+ for full highlights and special color techniques. We look at the average cost of highlights in the U.S. in this guide: Hair Highlights Cost | Know Before You Go!
- You may not reach your preferred shade of blonde in 1 visit. If you’re going to a professional for blonde highlights on dark hair, male or female, it may not be possible to achieve a light shade of blonde in your first visit. Very dark hair takes a long time to lift and requires stronger developer (40-volume or higher) to reach the lighter shades of blonde. Your stylist might recommend lifting your hair to a red or orange-toned color and finishing the process in a second visit to avoid damaging your hair. If they suggest it, trust us – you’re better off following their advice!
- Opt for darker shades of blonde for certain success. While light shades of blonde may not always be possible to achieve in one bleach process on dark hair, darker shades of blonde are usually a success. Consider opting for a dark blonde like caramel, honey, dark ash, or dirty blonde to ensure a 1-visit result.
- Maintain your blonde to make it last longer. While highlights are permanent, they can become brassy with yellow or orange undertones over time. Switch to a sulfate-free, pigmented purple shampoo to keep brassiness at bay and make your blonde color vibrant and pure between salon visits. It really works and you’ll see a difference after your first use.
- Beware of highlighting your own hair. Dark hair takes longer to lift and may require a harsher, more powerful developer like 40-volume to bring your hair to the blonde level. Even then, you may not succeed in achieving a light or white blonde on your own without multiple damaging processes. It’s better to leave blonde highlights on dark hair to a professional. If you’re insistent about DIYing, read our guide to bleaching first (you’ll need to use a highlighting cap or rat tail comb with foils to get highlights): How to Bleach Your Hair in 7 Easy Steps.
- Take good care of your highlighted hair. Highlighting hair requires bleaching and sometimes toning with semi-permanent color, and both processes are damaging to your hair. After your chemical processing, your stylist or barber might do a deep conditioning treatment to restore some moisture into your strands. Take it further by using a sulfate-free shampoo at home, using a hair mask for damaged hair once a month, and avoiding heat styling for a while.
Are Blonde Highlights on Dark Hair Right for You?
Getting blonde highlights on dark hair as a male gives you tons of options. With so many ways to highlight your hair and inject a little brightness into your deep color, the only thing you have left to consider is what you think will suit you best.
You can get subtle dark blonde highlights in limited zones for a natural look. Opt for bright blonde highlights in shades of light blonde or silvery platinum for a bolder look.
Concentrate lots of highlights in the top of your hair for a high-contrast color change, or limit your streaks to the t-zone around the top and crown for a more low-key result. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re putting the health and integrity of your hair first.
Don’t bleach your hair if it’s already damaged and put in a little more effort to keep your hair healthy and moisturized after highlighting to avoid breakage, dryness, and brittle strands.
Getting familiar with the different types of highlighted looks was the first step. Now that you’ve seen a few blonde highlights on dark hair male examples, screenshot your favorites and bring them to a trusted stylist or colorist to make it happen!