What Happens If You Box Dye Over Highlights? How to Get Great Results

Glam Girl Gabi
by Glam Girl Gabi
3 Materials
40 Minutes

Today, we are going to learn what happens if you box dye over your highlights.

Maybe you don’t have the time or the budget to refresh your faded highlights at the salon. So, if you want to know how to tone your hair darker at home without toner, then this easy and affordable method is for you!

Let's get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Color gloss
  • Disposable gloves
  • Claw clip
Grown-out balayage

Here is a before shot of my grown-out balayage.

We’ll be using a direct deposit color, also called a color gloss. This is gentler on your hair because it just coats the outside of the hair shaft and does not require a developer.

This method will work for anyone who wants to add tone to their hair at the same level or to go a couple shade darker. It’s also suitable for blondes who want to ash out their hair (remove the yellow pigment). This method will not lighten your hair or offer any gray coverage. 

Be sure to choose the correct tone to compliment your natural, base hair color as well as your skin tone. For some guidance here, check out my video: Here’s a Simple Way to Figure out the BEST Hair Color for Your Skin Tone.

Optional: Prepare your hair

Following the instructions on the box dye, start by washing your hair.

The easiest way to do this is to apply it in the shower, right after shampooing. But since I’m a hairdresser who loves breaking the rules, I’m going to apply the dye to dry hair!

The reason I’m doing this is because the color will come out richer and darker when applied to dry hair. 

1. Pin back hair that isn’t highlighted

As you can see, my hair only has highlights on the top portion. If your hair is the same, clip back the untouched hair so as not to waste any color gloss.

Applying color gloss

2. Apply the color gloss

Apply the gloss section by section, making sure to fully saturate the strands.

This is important for even color. For best results, use more of the product than you think you’ll need. 

Applying color gloss

Don’t leave any section dry, like this piece below. If dry, that means that the hair won’t receive the same depth of color. 

Applying color gloss

3. Let the dye sit

Pin up the dyed hair.

Letting dye sit

Depending on your desired amount of pigment, leave the dye on anywhere between 2-15 minutes. I left the gloss on for 15 minutes for a very deep pigment.


4. Rinse

When the time’s up, if you applied the gloss to wet hair (per the instructions) then you just need to rinse the residue off, without shampoo, and then style your hair as usual. 

Rinsing hair

Since I worked from dry hair, I shampooed and conditioned before styling.

Drying hair

What happens if you box dye over highlights?

Here’s the end result of my DIY highlights for dark hair. It’s rich in color, soft and super hydrated.

Depending on your hair type and lifestyle, the DIY temporary hair dye can last for up to 10 washes.

After photo

Now that you’ve learned what happens when you box dye over your highlights, you have a damage-free and commitment-free method to change up your hair.

If you liked this tutorial, check out my post on Do You Know How to Wash Your Hair Properly? 6 Common Mistakes.

Suggested materials:
  • Color gloss
  • Disposable gloves
  • Claw clip

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation