20 Fabulous Curly Hair Highlights You Can Try Right Now

Curly girls, listen up. Have you always wanted to try hair color, but don’t want to harm the gentle hair texture? Curly hair highlights are the best way to embrace a touch of color and make your luscious locks pop.

Choose which highlights will work best for you, get to know which techniques to use and how to prep your hair to minimize the damage. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know and inspire you with our favorite curly hairstyles with highlights.

Getting Highlights in Curly Hair

Color processing can affect hair texture due to the chemicals involved, making your curls less tight and…well…curly. Getting highlights is a much gentler way to color your hair, compared to all-over dye, and, if done right, they do not compromise the health of curly locks. This is why highlighting is often considered the best hair color for curly hair.

Balayage is currently one of the most popular coloring techniques that, thanks to flawless blending of hues, achieves a very natural look. Another great option for getting highlights that is specifically designed for curly hair is pintura highlights. This method means “painting” in Brazilian Portuguese and was founded by Brazilian hairstylist Dennis Da Silva.

Tight curls don’t reflect the light as much as wavy or straight hair, so with pintura technique, a lot more color is applied. Color is hand-painted from the tips upwards, where light would naturally fall, to create stunning highlights. And because no foil or heat is involved, it’s a healthier option for your curly locks.

To prevent any hair dye damage, work with a stylist who is a pro with curly hair. It also helps to have the healthiest hair possible before heading out for a dye job. Make sure your locks are well-nourished, use a good conditioner (and a lot of it!), and follow up with a good hair care routine.

20 Curly Hair Highlights to Fall in Love With

Here are 20 excellent examples of naturally curly hair with highlights to give you the confidence to make your curls light up! From blonde highlights on dark curly hair to rainbow hues in curly locks and everything in between – here is our pick of the best.

#1: Medium Length Curls with Caramel Highlights

Caramel balayage on dark hair creates a gorgeous gradient effect. The highlights are so natural that they give a true sun-kissed finish to the hairstyle, which looks authentic and flawless!

Voluminous Curly Hairstyles with Caramel Highlights

Instagram / @romeufelipe

#2: Deep Chocolate Curls with High Contrast Highlights

If you have deep chocolate curls, consider adding high contrast highlights to add texture, interest and layers. The contrast in color is great for those who want to make a statement with their curls.

Finger Coils with Random Blonde Highlights

Instagram / @romeufelipe

#3: Long Dark Brown Curls with Strawberry Blonde Accents

A subtle and understated finish is the perfect style if you are looking for a mix of highlights and lowlights. Treat luscious long brown locks to darker tones and strawberry blonde highlights to create a multidimensional finish.

#4: Curly Pixie with Light Blonde Highlights

Who says pixie cuts are just for straight hair? This adorable pixie mixes tight curls and gentle waves with a blend of honey highlights and light blonde tips. A warm and funky style for a contemporary short hair color.

Blonde Highlights on Short Natural Hair

Instagram / @urbanbloomcurls

#5: Tight Chocolate Curls with Caramel Touches

Draw attention to the richness of your chocolate brown curls by adding layers of sweet caramel and cinnamon highlights. Blended from the middle of the hair length downwards – these warm touches look naturally effortless.

Medium Length Curly Hair with Warm Brown Highlights

Instagram / @cuttlefishhair

#6: Painted Golden Highlights on Brunette Curls

Golden highlights can totally transform your hairstyle. Accentuating your natural color while taking away any dullness, they make you glow as if a summer sun is always shining down on your hair.

Caramel to Blonde Balayage on Long Curly Hair

Instagram / @motherofcurls

#7: Dark Red Highlighted Finger Coils

Black or dark brown hair tones have underlying red pigments in them. This is why red highlights complement these natural hair shades so well. When the color is applied to tight curls, it stands out even more, creating a halo of color.

#8: Curls with Honey Blonde Balayage

Rich and warm, a honey blonde shade makes balayage sexy, sweet, and super stylish. The soft honey hues show off naturally bouncy curls and add definition and lightness to natural hair.

Butter Blonde Coily Hair

Instagram / @urbanbloomcurls

#9: Blonde Balayage Ombre Hair

Natural, dark brown roots don’t only make this hairstyle low maintenance; they also flawlessly show off the stunning blonde ombre. The long loose curls are a great canvas for bright blonde highlights, and we love the way the curls frame and bring light to the face.

Blonde Balayage with Shadow Roots on Curly Hair

Instagram / @msnataliejean

#10: Copper Curls Balayage

Go bold or go home with captivating highlights for wavy hair. Long, luscious waves transform into a canvas of color with mesmerizing copper highlights, which add movement and a fun and flirty finish.

Copper Balayage on Long Wavy Hair

Instagram / @houseofhintoncf

#11: Ash Blonde Short Curls

Not all highlights have to be bright. For a subtle but pretty twist on naturally dark blonde curls, add some pretty ash blonde highlights. These simple touches catch the sun and balance some redness in your skin. Perfect if you want to try highlights for the first time.

Ash Blonde Curly Bob

Instagram / @motherofcurls

#12: Red Highlights for Type 3C Hair

Stunning red highlights add the wow factor to natural black hair. If you aren’t afraid to have a little fun, make your colored curly hair show off a bright shade. Red is perfect for warm and darker skin tones, and makes darker hair color pop.

Red Ombre on Big Natural Hair

Instagram / @naturally.endia

#13: Golden Blonde Balayage on Long Curls

Buttery and golden blonde shades look playful and full of life, especially when painted onto adorable long ringlets. Their natural bounce makes the color move and shine, while the dark roots add a little bit of drama and grit.

Curly Hair Ombre with Hand Painted Golden Blonde Coils

Instagram / @juci.ara

#14: Natural Curls with Caramel Highlights

Add some pretty caramel hues to brunette curls and give your hair the appearance of being sun kissed. These subtle highlights look natural, but they also add depth and warmth to your beautiful mane.

Light Brown Ombre on Kinky Hair

Instagram / @curlfactor

#15: Short Loose Curls with Subtle Ashy Highlights

A subtle color can be just what you need when you are looking for a little change in your hairstyle. These pretty ash brown highlights reflect the light and add dimension to the short, loose curls.

Curly Bob with Ash Brown Highlights

Instagram / @becurlyrussia

#16: Hot Pink Highlights on Gray Curls

If you’re looking for a way to make your silver toned or naturally gray curls stand out, go for a bright flash of color. The hot pink highlights in this hairstyle lift the base color and add a heap of personality and fun.

Gray Curly Bob with Bright Pink Highlights

Instagram / @transcurlcarolyn

#17: Blonde Balayage on Long Voluminous Hairstyle

This luscious mane of blonde locks is ideal for any curly girl who wants to stand out. With so much hair, you have a big canvas to show off a stunning balayage or ombre effect.

Dirty to Golden Blonde Balayage

Instagram / @tiffygotsthishair

#18: Middle-Length Hairstyle with Highlights and Bangs

This layered curly cut adds texture and movement, which is highlighted by the delicate milk chocolate highlights. The end result is a sophisticated hairstyle filled with body and perfectly blended colors.

Medium Brown Highlights on Dark Curly Hair

Instagram / @emma_agu

#19: Pastel Rainbow-Colored Curls

Coloring your hair is all about having fun and showing off your personality and style. We’re in love with this bold and playful hairstyle, which blends pastel rainbow shades into a creative do full of spring vibes.

Pastel Rainbow Ombre on Natural Hair

Instagram / @rebeccataylorhair

#20: Honey Kissed Highlights

Turn your curls from bland to BA-BAM with adorable bangs and honey blonde highlights. Perfect for reflecting light and warming up your skin tone.

Shoulder Length Curly Hairstyle with Bangs and Highlights

Instagram / @curlvision

Curly hair is beautiful and full of fun and personality. Highlights can get your unique texture at the spotlight without much harm to the tresses. As long as you get your highlights done by a trained hair colorist, there is nothing stopping you from getting the curly hair highlights of your dreams!