Alterna Stylist 1 Night Highlights in Shimmering Blonde, $29, sephora.com

As in a death by a thousand cuts, many people end up blond by a thousand highlights. What starts as a few bits of light around the face becomes a stripy mass of Real Housewifian overdoneness. Some people make gorgeous blondes, but others (myself included) make hideous ones.

    So how many highlights, exactly, should you get? There is now a brilliant and complete answer to this question, and it costs $29 and takes five minutes max. This mousse gives you real, actual highlights that wash out; somehow, without bleach, without dye (minerals are reportedly the secret), they look utterly natural. It answers other questions too: Roots? A gray hair or two you don’t want to color your entire head because of (and/or don’t want to pull out)? Wonder if you should try red?

    You press a button and the mousse—looking disconcertingly fungal—shoots up into the brush. Wherever you want color, you brush. Wait for it to dry, then blend with a hairbrush, and you have perfect, totally natural highlights that last until you next wash your hair. Jaw-dropping, can’t-believe-it, shrieks-of-delight amazing. Very fun to experiment with, especially on another person.

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