How Do I Choose the Best Chunky Highlights?

Andrea Cross

A hairstyle that continues to be popular is chunky highlights. Like thin highlights, this style focuses on lightening sections of the hair. In this particular trend, larger sections of the hair are highlighted, prompting the phrase chunky. There are different looks you can get with chunky highlights, so the desired effect, your face shape, and your hair color can all influence the look you choose.

Larger sections of the hair are highlighted when creating chunky highlights.
Larger sections of the hair are highlighted when creating chunky highlights.

When choosing the best chunky highlights for your hair, look around and see what the current trends are. These tend to change over time, and you want to avoid choosing a style that looks dated. Keep in mind that these types of highlights tend to look better on straight hair as the sharp definition lines provide the visual impact that is the intention of this style.

Gold, copper, and champagne shades of chunky highlights may work well for red hair.
Gold, copper, and champagne shades of chunky highlights may work well for red hair.

There are several different looks to choose from. If you want a more subtle but still striking look, then choose chunky highlights that are limited to a single portion of the hair, such as the bangs, the tips of the hair, or a small section on either side of the face. One single section can also be lightened and often can look quite sophisticated.

Small chunks all over the head is the most common style, with the sections of varying thickness. Very large, all-over chunks is another possible style. Choose these if you want a very bold look. Keep in mind that you are lightening your hair, and this both causes damage and requires upkeep. If you have dry or damaged hair, then fewer, smaller sections may be a better choice.

Face shape also must be considered in your choice. Chunky highlights tend to look best on round faces when they are kept away from the hairline around the face. When placed back from the hairline, the highlights emphasizes the darker strands around the face, making it appear slimmer. Another good style choice for round faces is to put the highlights on the last few centimeters or inches of the hair.

For square faces, choose larger highlights that are placed evenly throughout the hair, with more toward the front as this style is more flattering. Heart-shaped faces should choose highlights around the crown of the head because it balances out the narrowness of the chin. Finally, long, oval faces should only apply highlights at the ends of the hair — lightened sections from the roots tend to emphasize the longness of the face.

Color is the last decision to make. The colors for your chunky highlights can be either contrasting or complementary. If you are choosing contrasting colors, then you are more free to choose any color you like. Many colors are available, from the natural to electric shades of blue, green, and purple. If you are unsure of how the colors will look, clip-in colored highlights are available, and you can try these temporarily to see how you like the result.

For a more subtle look, choose shades that complement your natural color. If you are blonde, then choose a strawberry or silvery blonde. In brunette hair, caramel and copper tones work well. For red hair, gold, copper, and champagne shades can be good choices. Finally, for black hair, choose warmer shades, such as red, gold, and copper, although vivid colors in any shade tend to look best in black hair.

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