Open Monday thru Friday 9:00 am – 4:45 pm


Trying to decide between highlights, single-process, or double-process color is stressful. Take the anxiety out of the decision with this guide.

Highlights vs Single Process vs Double-Process Color: Which Is Best?

If you’re looking to color your hair, you’ll be picking between three ways to do it: single-process color, double-process color, or highlighting. Which one you pick will depend on what end result you’re looking for.

Here, we’ll go through the options and which might best suit you.

Single-Process Color

The clue is in the name for this color treatment. A single-process color involves an all-over color application to lighten or darken hair. It only gives a one-dimensional tone which can be as light or dark as your natural or current color allows.

This color option is popular for covering or blending grays because of its natural look. It’s great for adding warmth and richness to your color. It can also be great for uniformly darkening hair tone.

Due to its uniform nature, root growth will present problems down the line. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you’ll have to get a single-process color touched up every four to eight weeks. Whereas highlights can last up to two to three months.

Single-process color is usually the most affordable option at salons. It’s also generally the most gentle option for your hair. So if you’re looking for an affordable and gentle option for a new color, single-processing may be the best route.


There are a few different options for highlights. We’ll take a closer look at them below.

Foil Highlights

This is the traditional option for highlights. It adds uniform color to hair which can be as blended or streaked as you like. You can opt for a mix of different colors for a more natural highlight.


Balayage is the best option for regrowth, as it adds natural strips of color to the mids and lengths of your hair. It’s excellent if you already have a base color you like and want a naturally sun-kissed look.


The clue is in the name. Chunking is thick chunks of highlights. These were really popular throughout the 90s and seem to be making a comeback!


This adds darker shades to your hair, often in combination with highlights. It gives your hair more dimension.

Highlights are a great option if you have a color you already love and would like to add some depth and dimension. They look the best when you use a mixture of shades.

Double-Process Color

The final option for coloring your hair is a double-process color. Much like single-process coloring, the clue is in the name. Double-processing involves two different color treatments.

These color treatments can vary. You could get an initial lighter color and then add some highlights to give it depth, or you could simply have it lightened or colored all a second time.

It’s a popular choice as it essentially gives you the best of both the previous two treatments. It’s also frequently used when people wish to lighten their hair considerably.

But it comes at a literal price. It’s usually the most expensive of all the treatments, and also the harshest on your hair. Your professional stylist will be able to advise you on caring for your hair after double-processing and protective styling products.

Leave It To the Professionals

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of whether single-process, highlights, or double-process coloring would be the best for you. But your best advice will come from a fully trained professional.

The Tenaj Salon Institute is a professional beauty school offering a variety of programs including hair school. We’d love to help you learn the best techniques from our professional cosmetology experts. Get in touch to find out more about our great programs.

Leave a Reply