Balayage may still be the most popular color service in the salon, but right now is all about highlights. The must-have technique in the 90s and noughties is having a resurgence, as clients look for something low maintenance, natural and luxurious.
“Highlights are perfect for clients looking for a more multi-tonal, blended root effect,” explains London-based Brooks & Brooks stylist Marlon Hawkins. “While balayage is applied freehand, highlights are traditionally isolated with foils or meches. There are many different techniques and are great at achieving lightness through the hair.”
So why are they becoming popular again? “People aren’t afraid to amp up their maintenance at home. I think many clients are starting to get bored of a softer regrowth and are missing lightness on top.”
Marlon’s three tips for creating brilliant highlights:
- Don’t be afraid to put just a few highlights in – sometimes less is more.
- Keep nice and consistent.
- Bespoke toning always works on a diagonal for seamless results.
The five highlight techniques every salon should know:
Foil highlights are the traditional highlighting technique, using foils to separate each colored section. These give a fresher, brighter look to the overall finish.
Balayage literally means to paint. This freehand technique is usually applied through the ends rather than the roots for a grown-out, casual finish. It’s ideal for clients looking for a natural color, with no regrowth. It’s incredibly low maintenance which makes it a favorite with clients.
Soft, super-fine highlights placed around the face to add a sun-kissed effect. They add a multi-dimensional effect and are perfect for more mature clients.
These thin sections of contrasting colors are placed around the roots for added depth. Perfect for fine hair and curls.
Lowlights add depth to the one-shade color, adding multi-dimensional tones. Use a few shades darker than the hair for a full finish.