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How long do AirTouch highlights last?

Getting highlights can be an exciting and transformative experience. With so many options to choose from, AirTouch highlights have become an increasingly popular choice for those looking to add subtle pops of color and dimension to their hair.

What are AirTouch Highlights?

AirTouch highlights are a revolutionary highlighting technique that involves painting thin slices of lightener directly onto the hair shaft without using foil or any other barrier. This “air” application allows for very fine, delicate highlights that look incredibly natural.

Some key advantages of AirTouch highlights include:

  • Very fine, thin highlights that mimic natural sun-kissed hair
  • Less damage to the hair since there is no heat from foil
  • The color blends seamlessly and gradually into the natural hair
  • Less maintenance since regrowth is subtler

Overall, AirTouch highlights create a soft, understated highlighting effect that flatters most hair colors and textures.

How Long Do They Last?

When done properly by a skilled colorist, AirTouch highlights can last anywhere from 6-12 weeks depending on a variety of factors:

Hair Type and Texture

How long AirTouch highlights last largely depends on the condition, porosity, and texture of your hair:

  • Fine or medium hair: 6-8 weeks
  • Thick or coarse hair: 8-12 weeks
  • Chemically treated or damaged hair: 6 weeks
  • Virgin hair: 8-10 weeks
  • Curly or wavy hair: Longer lasting since dye washes out slower
  • Straight hair: Shorter lasting since dye washes out faster

Hair Color and History

Those with darker virgin hair and little previous chemical processing can expect AirTouch highlights to last longer, while lightened blondes may need touch-ups sooner. Here’s a general guideline:

Hair Color and History Duration
Dark virgin hair 10-12 weeks
Medium brown virgin hair 8-10 weeks
Lightened blonde 6-8 weeks
Previously highlighted hair 6-8 weeks
Color treated hair 4-6 weeks

Aftercare and Maintenance

Proper aftercare and maintenance in between appointments will help extend the longevity of AirTouch highlights. Here are some tips:

  • Use a sulfate-free shampoo and cold water when washing
  • Limit washing to 2-3 times per week
  • Use a deeply nourishing conditioner and avoid brushing wet hair
  • Protect hair from chlorine, sun exposure, and heat styling
  • Use a bonding product or weekly treatment
  • Get a gloss or toner after 4 weeks to refresh color

How Much Do AirTouch Highlights Cost?

On average, you can expect to pay between $150-$350 for AirTouch highlights based on these factors:

Factor Cost
Location and salon prestige Major city or high-end salon: $200-$350
Smaller town or budget salon: $150-$250
Hair length and thickness Short or thin hair: $150-$250
Long or thick hair: $200-$350+
Amount of highlights Partial highlights: $150-$250
Full head: $200-$350+
Specialty color techniques Additional $50+ for balayage, ombre, etc.

It’s always best to have a consultation first to get an accurate quote as prices can vary widely.

Maintenance Tips

To keep AirTouch highlights looking fresh between appointments, focus on nourishing hair and protecting color. Here are some key maintenance tips:

1. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Sulfate-free shampoos are gentler on color treated hair and help preserve vibrancy. Massage into hair roots only so length stays brighter.

2. Rinse with Cold Water

Hot water opens the cuticle causing color to fade faster. Rinsing with cool water keeps cuticles sealed and color locked in.

3. Limit Washing

Wash hair only 2-3 times per week max. The less you shampoo, the longer the color will last.

4. Avoid Chlorine

Chlorine from pools and hot tubs is very damaging to color. Always wet hair first and rinse immediately after swimming.

5. Protect from Sun

UV rays fade hair dye quickly. Wear a hat outside or use a protective spray containing UV filters.

6. Deep Condition Weekly

Nourish and hydrate hair by using a weekly mask or leave-in conditioner.

7. Use Bonding and Color Deposit Products

Bonding treatments and color depositing products help repair damage and refresh faded tones.

8. Get Glosses or Toners

Book a gloss or toner service every 4-6 weeks to maintain vibrancy between highlight appointments.

How to Make AirTouch Highlights Last Longer

You can help extend the lifespan of AirTouch highlights at home with these tips:

  • Shampoo less frequently – 1-2 times per week max
  • Use cooler water when washing and rinsing hair
  • Limit use of hot tools like curling irons and straighteners
  • Apply UV protection before going in the sun
  • Reduce chlorine exposure by wearing a cap in pools/tubs
  • Avoid abrasive styling like tight ponytails or harsh brushing
  • Use a bonding or color-depositing product 1-2x per week
  • Do a gloss or toner treatment every 4 weeks

Being gentle and staying on top of maintenance will help you get the most out of your AirTouch highlights!

When to Get a Touch Up

In general, plan to get AirTouch highlights touched up every 8-12 weeks. Signs your highlights need a refresh include:

  • Noticeable dark regrowth of more than 1⁄2 inch
  • Highlighted pieces feeling or looking brassy/orange
  • Loss of brightness and dimension throughout hair
  • Darker underlayer and crown beginning to show through
  • Undesirable tones peeking through like green or violet

Schedule a touch up as soon as any of these occur to prevent an obvious demarcation line between old and new growth.

How to Transition Back to Natural Hair

If you decide to go back to your natural color, there are a few options:

  1. Let it grow out. Over time the highlights will fade and blend as your roots grow in.
  2. Book a single process color to cover highlights with permanent dye.
  3. Do root smudging and toning. Using demi-permanent color to soften regrowth lines.
  4. Try balayage grow-out. Painting hair in sweeping motions for a seamless grow out.

Consult your colorist to determine the best technique. With patience and strategic coloring, you can transition back to your natural shade seamlessly.


When done properly, AirTouch highlights can last up to 3 months or longer with the right hair type and proper maintenance – making them a great low-maintenance option. Focus on aftercare, limit washing and heat styling, and use bonding and color-depositing products to get the most longevity.

With a few touch-up and transition techniques, AirTouch highlights can take you from summer to fall seamlessly. Consult your colorist to determine the optimal timing and maintenance plan based on your unique hair needs and lifestyle.