Peekaboo Highlights Style Ideas: Fascinating Options You’ll Love

Peek-a-boo highlights have been around for a long time now. They stand out and can be done with fun, vivid colors while not being as overwhelming as an all-over, drastic color, making them great for those that want to do something a little crazy with their hair but aren’t too sure about it.

The reason that peek-a-boo highlights are great for people transitioning into funner colors is that they are done underneath the hair. This gives you the ability to blend them in with your hair a bit when your hair is down and straight. When you curl your hair or wear it up, the color pops out.

Best Peek-a-Boo Highlight Colours

There are many different colors you can do with peek-a-boo highlights. The nice thing about them is they are a great introduction to more dramatic colors, such as vivids and lighter or darker colors. You can also do peek-a-boos to simply add a splash of color into your hair. Your peek-a-boo highlights should be placed underneath the hair, done in thick sections, and not require a lot of maintenance.

Peek-a-Boo Vivids

Most people who want to do peek-a-boos do them because they want to try vivid colors. Vivid colors are those vibrant artificial colors, like pink, purple, blue, red, and any other unnatural color. Peek-a-boos allow you to test out vivids without going all over with it.

There are many different ways that you can add vivids to your hair. You can do anything from one or two large pieces underneath to the whole entire bottom half of your hair being colored. This type of color pops most when the hair is curled or worn halfway up. You can wear it straight to conceal the vivid colors.

Vivid colors require a double process. That means the hair must be lightened first with bleach and then colored over with the desired color. This process can take about 4 hours to complete and can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 depending on how many colors you get done. The vivid color only lasts 4 to 6 weeks, so it must be redone fairly often to maintain it.

Peek-a-Boo Ombre

Again, this technique is usually done with vivids. One vivid color is melted into another throughout the length of the hair giving it an iridescent look. Some popular vivid color combinations to ombre are pink to purple, blue to purple, red to orange, and any other similar colors that can be mixed. However, it can be done with any color that you would like. When done in large chunks underneath the hair with the color being blended up to your natural color, it gives you a faux balayage look.

To get the vivid iridescent look, you must do a double process. The vivid colors that you want ‘ombred’ are then applied over the previously lightened pieces at different lengths and mushed together to create a blend between colors. For natural color, you would tease each large section up to where you want the color to start fading into your natural. You then apply the color directly below the tease.

Depending on if you decide to go with vivid color or natural color will affect the maintenance of peek-a-boo ombre. If you decide to go with the vivid option, the price and maintenance look very similar to the peek-a-boo vivids option. The natural option has the least amount of maintenance. You can expect to pay anywhere from $90 to $180 depending on the amount of color you get and getting a touch-up every 4 to 6 months.

Peek-a-Boo Lowlights

Lowlights are a great option for those with lighter hair already. Peek-a-boo lowlights give you chunky dimensions without making your blonde look any darker. Doing chunky lowlights like this can make your blonde pop even more and make it look brighter. Depending on how dark you go, you can even get a bit of an edgy, punk look. Some great color choices for lowlights are red, chocolate brown, black, or light brown.

The trick to getting good peek-a-boo lowlights is the placement of them. If you simply take horizontal sections and color large square sections, you’ll get a stripey look. The sections should be taken diagonally on the head and color triangular sections. This will make the pieces blend in with the hair while being able to keep them thick enough to stand out.

Lowlights tend to fade on lighter hair, so color-safe shampoo, heat protectant, and cool water should be used. Peek-a-boo lowlights only need to be touched up every 3 to 4 months unless they have faded. In which case, they’ll need to be touched up sooner. You can expect to pay between $50 to $100 depending on how many peek-a-boo lowlights you get.

Peek-A-Boo Blonde

This is one of the most popular peek-a-boo colors done. You usually see peek-a-boo blondes as a high contrast difference in color between their natural dark and a super light blonde. You will also see peek-a-boo blondes done in many different ways. They can be put directly around your face, as a shadow on the whole under half of your hair, or in chunky pieces that pop out and create an edgy dimension.

Your blonde peekaboo highlight can be any shade of blonde, including caramel, vanilla, ice, golden, or grey blonde. This color choice requires a bleach and tone process to achieve. You first color your desired sections with bleach until they are as light as possible. Then you shampoo, towel dry, and apply a toner in the desired color of blonde you wish to achieve.

Some blondes may take multiple attempts to get it as light as you want, such as ice blonde and grey blonde. You must be careful when bleaching your multiple times, waiting at least a week between colors, and using a lower developer each time you do it. You also will need to tone your blonde every couple of months to keep it your desired color. You can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $130 for each bleaching visit to the salon.

Best Peek-A-Boo Highlights for your Hair Type

Peek-A-Boo Highlights for Short Hair

The best peek-a-boo highlights for short hair are balayage peek-a-boos. Short hair doesn’t have as much movement in it as long hair. Therefore you need to put your peek-a-boos close to the top of your head for them to be visible at all. The best way to bring them up that close to your part without the chunks looking stripey is to balayage them. This will give you the chunky dramatic look while keeping them blended.

Peek-a-boo balayage should be brought up to a few inches away from the part. If you focus all of the pieces on the bottom of the head, they will get lost and won’t be very noticeable due to the color being painted on to look more natural. It doesn’t need to be a lot. It can be just 3 or 4 pieces of balayage that get brought up to the top.

Due to the balayage technique being more difficult than other coloring techniques, it is a bit more expensive than other peek-a-boo highlights. You can expect to pay between $100 and $150 for this service. However, you do not notice the growth with this color, so you never have to touch it up if you don’t want to. If you would like to touch up the color, every six months is a good time to go in.

Peek-A-Boo Highlights for Straight Hair

For peek-a-boos that are sure to be seen on straight hair, placing them around your face is the way to go. Straight hair doesn’t have as much movement as curly hair, making peek-a-boos less noticeable. Most people pull their hair forward over their shoulders or tuck it behind their ears. Either way will make face-framing peek-a-boos stand out more than any other peek-a-boo highlights on straight hair.

Since these highlights are placed right at the front of your hair and up close to your part, You will see them more often than other peek-a-boos that are underneath the hair. You still get the effect of the pieces popping out from underneath since your hair on top lays over the hair around your face. However, the hair around your face shows more than the hair underneath.

Since these pieces are right around your face, they require a bit more maintenance than normal peek-a-boo highlights. You should get these touched up every 2 to 3 months to make the grow-out unnoticeable. Even though these need to be touched up more often, they are cheaper than other peek-a-boo highlight options because you don’t need as many for this effect. These can cost from $50 and $100.

Peek-A-Boo Highlights for Curly Hair

The best style for curly hair is dimensional, chunky peek-a-boos. Curly hair has a ton of movement in it so your peek-a-boo highlights will be very visible. You do not want to add too much color in one specific spot or else it will overwhelm your hair and be a little more dramatic than your average peek-a-boo highlights with little dimension.

You want to spread the peek-a-boo chunks throughout the underneath of your hair with plenty of space between sections. You can do this by sectioning out the top part of your hair you do not want to be colored. Section the bottom half of your hair diagonally from the front of your head to the back. Color triangular sections that are about an inch wide and an inch or more apart from each other, starting in the bottom diagonal section. This will give you that striking, dimensional look on curly hair.

The nice thing about curly hair is you don’t notice your color growing out as much as other hair textures. Therefore doing peek-a-boo highlights on curly hair means little maintenance. You should only have to touch up your peek-a-boos every 4 months or so. If you are doing vivids or blonde, you will need to re-tone your hair in between. You can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for this depending on how many colors you need.

Peek-A-Boo Highlights for Bob Haircuts

Bobs can be difficult to create peek-a-boos that stand out on so they need a bit more dramatic color to make it noticeable. The best peek-a-boo color for bobs is a shadow peek-a-boo. This isn’t the same as other peek-a-boo highlights as it isn’t technically highlighting. However, it still creates a peek-a-boo effect. Shadow peek-a-boo creates a whole different color on the underneath sections of your hair that creates a “shadow” of color that pops out when your hair moves.

It’s important not to section this shadow with a straight horizontal line around the head. This will create a strong line at the ends of your hair between the top color and the bottom color. Instead, you should either section the bottom with a V or make the section line a zig-zag. Creating V’s when sectioning makes it so the colors weave into each other, creating more of a blend.

Depending on how much of the shadow color you want in your hair will affect the price of this color. You can have only a small section at the bottom of your head or on the sides that can cost between $50 and $80. The further you go up the head with the color, the higher the cost. If you do this with vivids, it brings the cost up to $100 or more due to the double process. The maintenance for this color is also a bit more to not notice the grow out, needing to be touched up every couple of months.

What to Ask for in the Salon

The first thing you should do before heading to the salon to get your peek-a-boo highlights is saving plenty of photos for inspiration. Save 2 to 3 photos that you love and 2-3 photos of what you do not want. This will give your hairstylist a clear understanding of what you are looking for. From these photos, your stylist should be able to give you something you’ll love.

When going over what you want, it is also important to mention how you normally wear your hair. This will give the stylist an idea of what placement they should use for your highlights. The placement of the highlights will change how visible and chunky they look. For example, if you wear your hair pulled forward, you will want the majority of highlights to be in the front sections of hair for maximum visibility.

You should also let your hairstylist know your budget for this color and how much maintenance you want. That way, there are no surprises after your service is done. If what you want is too expensive, your stylist will be able to give you alternatives that are closer to your budget and maintenance needs.

How to Do It Yourself

Out of all highlighting techniques, this is probably the easiest to do yourself. Since it is all located underneath the hair, mistakes tend to blend in and be unnoticeable. You are also taking large sections to color, which makes it very easy to keep separated from other hair even though it may be wise to have a friend help with sectioning throughout.

Determine Starting Color

First things first, you need to evaluate your current hair condition and color. Has it been colored recently? Is your hair compromised from previous color or other damaging factors? Is your hair darker or lighter? All of these will affect what color you use to achieve peek-a-boo highlights.

The number one thing to remember is color can not lift color. If you already have color on your hair and want highlights lighter than your current hair color, you will need to lighten the pieces you want to be colored with bleach first. Once the previous color is lifted out, you can then color the pieces with your desired color.

The current health of your hair will also affect the color you use. If your hair is already compromised, you do not want to use over 20 volume developers on it, or else it could become very damaged. You also want to use a lower developer if you have never colored your hair before. Uncolored hair lifts faster than colored hair, so using a high developer on uncolored hair causes unnecessary damage.

Determine Desired Color

Determining the color you want before starting will ensure you have everything you need before you start. If you want darker peek-a-boos than your current hair color, you can simply choose the color you want and apply it. However, vivids, blonde, or any other color that is lighter than your current hair will require more color processes.

If you want peek-a-boo vivids, you will need to lighten the peek-a-boos with bleach first. Vivids do not show up on any hair color other than blonde. You will also need to lighten your hair with bleach to achieve a blonde color as well. Once your hair is lifted to a golden blonde color, you can then color over the pieces with your vivid color or desired blonde toner.

Choose the Right Color

Once you have determined your starting hair color and desired hair color, you should be able to make an informed decision on what colors to choose. Most people who are doing peek-a-boo highlights are either wanting them blonde or vivid color. Therefore we’ll start with some great bleach choices:

  • L’Oreal Paris Quick Blue Powder Bleach with 10-30 volume developer
  • Schwarzkopf BlondMe Color Powder Bleach with 10-30 volume developer
  • Wella Color Charm Powder Lightener with 10-30 volume developer
  • Clairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder Lightener with 10-30 volume developer

For those that are wanting to keep your peek-a-boo highlights blonde, once they are lifted to a light golden blonde, you will need to tone them. The toner counteracts the warm tones that everyone’s hair pulls naturally. Here are some great toner choices:

  • Wella color charm Permanent Liquid Hair Toners with 10 volume developer
  • Schwarzkopf Professional Blond Me Toner with 10 volume developer
  • Agebeautiful Liqui-Creme Topcoat Toner with 10 volume developer
  • Ion Icy White Creme Toner with 10 volume developer

If you are going for the vivid colors with your peek-a-boo highlights, once your hair is lightened with bleach, you can then go over it with vivid color. Vivid colors are usually direct dies. This means that the color is applied directly to your hair without being mixed with a developer. Here are some vivid color choices:

  • Pravana Chroma Silk Creme Hair color Vivids
  • Manic Panic
  • Wella Color Charm Paints
  • Punky Colour

Peek-a-boo lowlights are an easy color to achieve. You don’t need to pre-lighten your hair before applying your desired color. You simply apply the desired color to the sections you want to be colored. The only trick to this color is you must put a warm brown over blonde hair. If you don’t, your brown will be a muddy, green color. Here are some good lowlight color choices:

  • Schwarzkopf Keratin Color Permanent Hair Color Cream, Intense Cocoa
  • L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Permanent Hair Color, 6 Light Brown
  • Clairol Nice’n Easy Permanent Hair Dye, 5W Medium Mocha Brown
  • Ion 2NN Darkest Intense Brown Permanent Creme Hair Color

Apply Color

The key to good peek-a-boo highlights that give you that dramatic look that can easily be blended in is to color thick, diagonal sections underneath the hair. If the peek-a-boos aren’t thick enough, they won’t be as visible underneath. You put them underneath the hair, so you don’t get a chunky, stripey-looking highlight.

Start your sectioning by separating the top section that you do not want to add peek-a-boos to. This section can be as high as a few inches away from your part. Once that is separated from the rest of the hair, section the rest of your hair into diagonal sections from the front to the back of your head. The width of these sections should be about two inches.

Starting at the bottom of your head, take triangular sections from each diagonal section and fully saturate them in color. Once saturated with color, wrap the section in foil to keep it separated from the rest of your hair. You can do as many of these triangular sections as you would like. Also, the thicker the colored sections are, the chunkier the peek-a-boos will look.

If you are doing vivids or blonde, color these sections with bleach first. You can leave the bleach on for up to 45 minutes. Shampoo and towel dry your hair once it is lifted to a golden blonde. You can then apply your toner or vivid color over the blonde pieces. Make sure to mesh this color into your hair very well with your hands. Let this sit for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing and blowdrying.

Maintain Your Color

Regardless of if you’ve colored your hair or had it done in the salon, you will need to take a few steps to maintain your peek-a-boo highlights. Washing your hair with cool water will dramatically prolong the life of your color. You should also use a heat protectant, color-safe shampoo, and a hair sunscreen or hat.

Even with using these precautions, blondes and vivid colors tend to fade fairly quickly. Therefore, you should use a toning shampoo and/or conditioner for these colors. Here are a few good toning shampoos/conditioners options:

  • L’Oreal Paris EverPure Brass Toning Purple Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Matrix Total Results So Silver Purple Shampoo
  • Celeb Luxury Intense Color Depositing Colorditioner Viral and Gem Lites
  • Keracolor Clenditioner Hair Dye

If your hair color has faded past the point of maintaining it, you may go over your highlights with a toner or vivid color again. Past the point of maintaining is when your blonde is very golden, or your vivid color is almost non-existent anymore. You can use the same toners and vivid colors listed above in the “Choose the Right Color” section.


Question: How much does it cost to get peek-a-boo highlights?

Answer: It depends on how much and what color you get. If you are getting a one process color, meaning one color in foils, it can cost anywhere from $60-$120. If you’re getting more than one process, such as vivid color or toning, it can cost between $90 and $200.

Question: Where do you put peek-a-boo highlights?

Answer: Peek-a-boo highlights are placed on the underneath sections of your hair. This can be just a few pieces near the bottom of your head or can be brought up to a couple of inches from your part. The higher the peek-a-boos are placed on your head, the more visible they are.

Question: How often do you need to touch up peek-a-boo highlights?

Answer: Peek-a-boo highlights should be touched up every 4 to 6 months. Since they are placed underneath your hair, you do not see them grow out. This allows you to go a long time in between touchups. The only exception is vivid colors that fade quickly. You may need to touch up the vivid color every six weeks.

Question: Are peek-a-boo highlights high maintenance?

Answer: No. Since they are placed on the underneath sections of your hair, they do not get much exposure that can cause fading. The only thing you may need to maintain peek-a-boo highlights is a toning shampoo. You can go a long time between touch-ups, so using tinted shampoo will keep your color from fading longer.

Question: Do peek-a-boo highlights damage your hair?

Answer: Generally no. You are coloring a small portion of hair with peek-a-boo highlights so the majority of your hair will remain in the same condition you started with. However, the majority of peek-a-boo colors require bleach to achieve. If done incorrectly or your hair is already compromised, you can damage the pieces that you color with peek-a-boo highlights.

Overall Best Peek-a-Boo Highlights

For something easy that will give you a new, edgy color, peek-a-boo lowlights are the way to go. You can do peek-a-boo lowlights with a large number of colors such as red, brown, and black. They give you some great dimensions without breaking the bank or requiring too much maintenance. You also don’t need to worry about the damage that could happen with bleach.

However, if you want something more exciting, peek-a-boo vivids are a good choice. They give you a lot more creativity in your hair color and are sure to stand out. They are a great way to experiment with fun colors as long as you don’t mind the maintenance and price tag that goes with vivid colors.

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