31 Incredible Chunky Highlights

Give your hair an instant upgrade with these attractive and colorful additions.

Reviewed by Jessica Shults, Licensed Hairstylist Jessica Shults Jessica ShultsLicensed Hairstylist facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English) Bhumika Daga MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
Last Updated on

The chunky highlights of the ‘90s are making a comeback this year. Check your Instagram feed, and you will see that Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Jessica Simpson’s favorite zebra highlights are being sported by women of this decade. These broad, two-toned highlights add dimension, depth, and a rebellious touch to your haircuts along with framing your face.

Licensed Hairstylist, Jessica Shults says, “One benefit of chunky highlights is that you are only coloring some parts of the hair, so it’s less stress on the hair as a whole.”

Want to get a closer look at chunky highlights? Keep reading!

protip_icon Before You Get Started
  • Consider the size of the chunky highlight based on your hair density. The thinner your hair, the smaller you need to keep the chunks for a suitable look.
  • Chunky highlights can be done on individual curl sections for curly hair. For straight hair, they need to be placed strategically for a flattering contrast.
  • Maintenance includes touch-ups every 6-10 weeks, heat protectants, and color-safe hair care products.
  • Wash your hair with cold water to make the vibrant, chunky highlights last long.
  • You can use hair extensions if you are worried about damaging your hair with intense colors.

What Are Chunky Highlights?

Chunky highlights are exactly that – chunky! They are normally styled to create a stark contrast with your natural hair color and are done on large sections of hair. They are done using many highlighting or lowlighting techniques to give you that chunky look.

Licensed Hairstylist, Jessica Shults says, “One benefit of chunky highlights is that you are only coloring some parts of the hair, so it’s less stress on the hair as a whole.”

Chunky highlights are better suited for women with big facial features over women with delicate features. If you have delicate features, these highlights will look too harsh for you. On the other hand, these highlights accentuate big facial features and complement them beautifully.

protip_icon Trivia

Chunky highlights became a rage in the 1990s and early 2000s. Celebs like Lindsay Lohan, Mary-Kate, Ashley Olson, and Kelly Clarkson popularized this trend further.

Chunky highlights can simply be used as a style statement or as a face-framing technique. The colors you choose for the highlights depend on your preference. You may consult a hair stylist to find the right colors that match your skin tone, undertone, and eye color. Here’s how you can do them yourself without visiting a salon.

How To Do Chunky Highlights

How to do chunky highlights
Image: Shutterstock
What You Need
  • Hair coloring kit
  • Aluminum foil roll
  • Rat-tailed comb
  • Old towel
  • T-shirt
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Hair coloring brush
  • A bowl to mix the developer and activator
How To Do
  1. Start off by deciding which shade of highlights will suit your skin’s surface and undertone. Pick a cool shade if you have a cool undertone and a warm shade for a warm undertone.
  1. Put on an old T-shirt and drape the old towel around your shoulders to prevent any dye stains. Also, apply petroleum jelly to the skin around your hairline to avoid staining your skin.
  1. Mix the dye in a bowl as per the instructions given on the box.
  1. You are only going to be highlighting the top of your head. Part your hair to the side and pick up a thin horizontal section of hair.
  1. Place a foil paper underneath the section and apply dye to that section of hair.
  1. Fold the foil over the hair to prevent the dye from getting on other sections of hair.
  1. Keep highlighting chunky sections of your hair in the same manner.
  1. Once you are done, leave the dye on for the recommended time listed on the box. Use a timer to help you while you read or finish your chores.
  1. Keep checking your hair every 5-10 minutes.
  1. Wash off the dye after the recommended time. Use a toner shampoo as it will remove the brassy tones from your hair.

Once you get your chunky highlights done, you may style your hair in any way to desire to make the best of the look.

Now that you know how to do chunky highlights at home, here are 30 incredible styles that you can try out!

protip_icon StyleCraze Says
You can experiment with shades like golden copper or golden balayage to add a pop of color to your hair.

31 Incredible Chunky Highlights Styles

1. Beige Blonde Highlights

Beige Blonde Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Beige highlights are highly suitable if you have sandy blonde hair and a warm skin tone. You can add these chunky blonde highlights to your wavy long tresses in the front to frame the face elegantly.

2. Red Highlights

Red Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Vanessa Hudgens has been inspiring us with her hairstyles since her High School Musical days. She has jazzed up her black hair with stunning red highlights, leading to her glowing complexion. It adds dimension and depth to her medium-length locks.

3. Pink Highlights

Pink Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

The Girlfriend singer has sported the iconic pink highlights time and again since 2007. She inspires you to keep the hair blonde all over with some pink chunky highlights. The long pink highlighted tresses frame her face perfectly to draw attention to her smokey eyes.

4. Golden Brown Highlights

Golden Brown Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

These sexy golden brown highlights are suitable for all hair textures and types. It provides natural depth and dimension to your hairdo, making it easy for you to maintain it with a busy schedule. Who else could have rocked these trendy highlights than our Halloween Queen!

5. Sandy Blonde Highlights

Sandy Blonde Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Jennifer Aniston is a pro at sporting blonde hair with different elegant highlights. If you have straight and thin hair similar to Jen, you can also get these sandy blonde highlights with a quick visit to your salon!

6. Ribbon Highlights

Ribbon Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

The cascading ribbons of caramel highlights will blend well with your au naturale hair. These highlighted ribbons add depth, warmth, and movement to your hair. You can also add some babylights to level up your highlighting game.

7. Golden Highlights On Brown Hair

Golden Highlights On Brown Hair
Image: Shutterstock

If you are looking to experiment with some hair colors, get inspired by Queen B here. These chunky golden highlights complement her warm complexion while adding depth to your luscious brown hair. The color combination is highly suitable for women with brown, green, or hazel eyes.

8. Warm Honey Highlights

Warm Honey Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has captured our hearts forever with her fabulous hairstyles. The warm honey highlights accentuate her lovely cheekbones and strong jawline perfectly.

9. Sombre Highlights

Sombre Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Lily Aldridge sports these sombre highlights with class and confidence. Sombre highlights focus on keeping the roots their natural shade while gradually becoming lighter towards the tips. The good news is It looks gorgeous on all kinds of hair textures and skin tones.

10. Gray Blonde Caramel Highlights

Gray Blonde Caramel Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Kate Moss sports these gray blonde caramel highlights to make a fashion statement. It perfectly frames her heart-shaped face and draws attention to her fabulous cheekbones.

11. Golden Highlights on Black Hair

Golden Highlights on Black Hair
Image: Shutterstock

The American reality television star has shown us the reality of sporting golden highlights on black hair. The goldy locks complement her deep black locks perfectly. You can also make your black hair shine with the right highlight size and placement.

12. Heavy Blonde Highlights

Heavy Blonde Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Our love for blonde highlights also comes from the famous ‘Serena Van Der Woodsen’. She has rocked every blonde hairstyle with elegance. Her long side-swept heavy blonde highlights add a lot of texture and volume to her hair.

13. Ash Blonde Highlights

Ash Blonde Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Ash-blonde highlights are highly suitable for darker and warmer skin tones. Jennifer Aniston sports these chunky ash-blonde highlights that perfectly frame her face. This low-maintenance hue is a subtle way of adding color to your hair without making any major changes.

14. Babylights

Image: Shutterstock

If you want to return to your natural roots with some chunky highlights, Gigi Hadid has shown you the perfect one. The crown flaunts her natural color while the babylights on the long tresses draw attention to her strong cheekbones.

15. Blue Highlights

Blue Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

If you want to show off your badass side elegantly, follow Ariel Winter for some inspiration. The long, wavy, and edgy hairstyle with pure blue highlights perfectly complement cooler skin tones. Finish off the look with a shine serum and a medium-hold hairspray to add glow to those blue locks.

16. Chunky Streaked Highlights

Chunky streaked highlights
Image: Gettys

If you have thin hair, chunky highlights can make it look thicker and more voluminous. Opt for two-toned hair shades that go well with your skin tone and hair color. This will make your hair look thick and frame your face beautifully.

17. Dimensional Blonde

Dimensional blonde chunky highlights
Image: Gettys

Blonde hair can really make you feel like a queen. But, you can take it up a notch by adding some different blonde hues to your locks. It will make your hair look thicker and deeper.

18. Champagne Blonde

Champagne blonde chunky highlights
Image: Gettys

Champagne blonde has taken the world over, and it looks like it’s here to stay. If you have dirty blonde hair with a golden tint, opt for some champagne blonde chunky highlights to give it more dimension.

19. Bronde Mix

Bronde mix chunky highlights
Image: Gettys

If you have brown or olive skin, you need to be twice as careful when picking your hair colors. Go the JLo way and pick a bronde hue. It is a mix of blonde and brown that looks stunning on darker complexions. Notice how the blonde shade JLo has picked works well with her brown hair. Pick a blonde shade that matches your skin’s undertone and hair color.

20. Light Caramel Twirls

Light caramel twirl chunky highlights
Image: Gettys

Take that oozy goodness and shine of caramel to your hair. It will brighten up your face instantly and bring out your natural hair color. Style your hair in curls to give it a bit more style and volume.

21. Glossy Brown Highlights

Glossy brown chunky highlights
Image: Gettys

If you have blonde hair and a sharp jawline, add some brown highlights near your face. This will draw attention to your jawline. If you have a wide forehead, the highlights and bangs will cover it up.

22. Highlights To Ombre

Chunky highlights to ombre
Image: Gettys

Let’s be honest, there is something about this hairstyle that lends it a romantic look. You can’t really put your finger on it, but it’s there. Simply add chunky highlights to the top and ombre them out as you reach the tips. Leaving roots a bit dark helps in framing your face. Hairdressing at its best!

23. Strawberry And Blonde Combo

Chunky highlights with strawberry and blonde combo
Image: Gettys

Two-toned highlights look great on blonde hair. Opt for a shade of blonde that is darker than your hair color and then a playful strawberry blonde shade. It will make your hair appear thicker.

24. Beach Highlights

Chunky beach highlights
Image: Gettys

Who doesn’t want that perfect beach hairstyle? The sunkissed hair colors that remind you of all the fun you had over your vacation are sure to make everyone jealous. Take this look to the next level by styling your hair in beachy waves.

25. Golden Highlights

Chunky golden highlights
Image: Gettys

Kelly Clarkson was a big ambassador of the chunky highlights look for quite some time. She tried them in many shades and, in all honesty, she rocked them. Who else could pull off these lovely golden highlights?

26. Blonde Highlights

Chunky blonde highlights
Image: Gettys

I am going to be honest with you. If you are a brunette, getting blonde highlights is a big decision. It can make you look younger or a good few years older. Keep in mind your undertone, hair color, makeup style, and clothing colors when picking the shade of blonde for your chunky highlights.

Paula, a blogger, recounted her dissatisfying experience of doing chunky highlights at a salon. She said, “I asked for blonde chunky highlights with a black base. When my stylist was done, the highlights weren’t chunky, so I can barely see them. And there were areas that should be black that she missed (i).”

27. Zebra Highlights

Chunky zebra highlights
Image: Gettys

This is the trend that started it all again! Zebra highlights are done in contrasting colors to add style to your look. They help frame your face. If you are feeling particularly brave, you can try this black and white look sported by Christina Aguilera.

28. Front Highlights

Chunky front highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Front highlights are used for face framing (unless you are Rogue from X-Men and they are just there for style). Avril Lavigne made us all want to be a rebel with those pink highlights. So, try it this time around!

29. Defining Highlights

Defining chunky highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Defining highlights are used to focus on facial features. So, get some chunky highlights that will make your eyes pop and enhance your beauty. Make sure they draw attention to your eyes, mouth, and jawline.

30. Face-Framing Chunky Highlights

Face-framing chunky highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Highlights are mostly used for framing your face. This means that you can make your face appear longer, slimmer, or both simply by adding highlights. Sarah Jessica Parker did it perfectly by opting for some light blonde chunky highlights around her face.

31. Shoulder-Length Brown Hair With Chunky Highlights

Shoulder-Length Brown Hair With Chunky Highlights
Image: Shutterstock

Chunky highlights on brown hair effortlessly blend classic charm with a modern twist. When brown hair is enhanced with strategically placed chunky highlights, it adds movement and depth to your locks and results in a cheerful, vibrant look. We recommend you talk to a professional colorist to select the perfect hues that complement your skin tone and personal style. There are a lot of options for chunky highlights; from the popular warm caramel tones to the less common cool ash highlights. It is a fantastic way to refresh your look if you do not want to make any major changes to your hair.

Infographic: Top 7 Must-Try Chunky Highlights Styles

Chunky highlights are characterized by weaving light and contrasting dark colors to create a more contoured and voluminous feel. This 90s fashion trend is a rage among celebrities and complements big facial features beautifully. But if you are confused about which chunky highlights look to try for your next dye session, we have got you covered. Check out the infographic below for some stunning chunky highlights styles that can add dimension and depth to your tresses.

top 7 must try chunky highlights styles (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Chunky highlights are a ’90s trend that is here to stay. These highlights are perfect for those with prominent facial features looking to spruce up their regular hairdo. You won’t need to do anything to your hair to draw attention to these highlights; they will stand out on their own. Choose colors and tones that complement your skin tone and facial characteristics. You can also go for a two-toned style for an added impact. Pick shades that closely match your natural mane color, or go creative and bold by choosing contrasting hues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What year were chunky highlights popular?

Chunky highlights were a popular beauty trend in the early 2000s. Everyone sported them, from athletic mothers to high school students and some of the most talked-about celebrities.

How do you do chunky highlights without foil?

The highlighting kit’s instructions will tell you how to mix the color.
• Divide your hair into sections and clip the top half up.
• Use a hair tinting brush to apply color to a paddle brush’s bristles.
• Take a portion of your hair and run this brush through it, starting in the middle and ending at the ends.
• Run the brush across the back of the same piece of hair after flipping it over.
• As the ends of your hair need more color than the top of your head, saturate them with more dye.
• Repeat the same dying procedure on each section of hair.
• Keep the dye on for the amount of time recommended on the box.
•Use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner to wash off the dye.

What is the difference between balayage and chunky highlights?

A balayage is a highlighting technique, while chunky highlights is a hair coloring trend. Chunky highlights are normally achieved with the foil and brush technique. But, you can use the balayage (adding hair color to your hair in a sweeping motion with your hands) to get a more free-flowing and natural chunky highlights look.

What is the opposite of chunky highlights?

Airtouch highlights are considered the opposite of chunky highlights. You blow dry your hair to remove the newer hair strands. Then only color the older hair strands to achieve well-blended natural highlights.

When were chunky highlights a trend?

Chucky highlights were extremely popular in the 90s and early 2000s. Many celebs like Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson sported them.

What hair types are best suited for chunky highlights?

You can add chunky highlights to any hair type. Though they work better with straight and wavy hair.

Will chunky highlights damage my hair?

Over-processing the hair in an attempt to achieve perfectly chunky highlights in one go can lead to breakage and damage.

How do I remove chunky highlights if I don’t like them?

Its is best to head to a salon and have a professional stylist correct your chunky highlights.To avoid damaging your hair, pick semi-permanent dyes and go for a color that is two shades denser than your highlights. Additionally, you can use toner to darken highlights and reduce warm, brassy tones.

Key Takeaways

  • From Britney Spears to Jessica Simpson, many celebrities have tried chunky highlights.
  • These highlights are used to frame your face, and you can choose colors based on your preference.
  • Chunky highlights are ideal for women with big facial features.
chunky highlights

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn how to create beautiful chunky highlights in the video below. Get step-by-step instructions on how to achieve the perfect look for your hair and be ready to amaze everyone!

Personal Experience: Source

Jessica Shults
Jessica ShultsLicensed Hairstylist
Jessica is an expert hairstylist with over 20 years of experience. She specializes in all areas of hair color and is exceptionally skilled at balayage and best-in-class gray blending techniques. After two decades of hairstyling, she launched Twisted Scissors Salon, a full-service hair salon.

Read full bio of Jessica Shults
Anjali Sayee
Anjali SayeeAssociate Editor
Anjali is an associate editor at StyleCraze. She specializes in hairstyles and hair and skin care and has written over 200 articles in these domains. She has 7 years of experience, and her philosophy about hair and skin care is simple: if you love and care for it, it will be healthy.

Read full bio of Anjali Sayee
Madhumati Chowdhury
Madhumati ChowdhuryAssociate Editor
Madhumati is an associate editor with seven years of professional experience. She has previously worked as an editor, proofreader, and a writer with various organizations, helping her navigate through the various facets of content creation and refinement with ease.

Read full bio of Madhumati Chowdhury
Bhumika Daga
Bhumika DagaBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Bhumika is a content writer with 2.5 years of expertise in crafting articles across diverse genres. She graduated from the University of Delhi and completed her post-graduation from Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi.

Read full bio of Bhumika Daga