Long gone are the days of going to your colorist and saying, “Highlights, please!” These days, there are at least eight different types of highlight techniques, with each producing their own beautiful results. So, it’s super important to know the difference.
To be certain you and your stylist are on the same page and that you leave the salon feeling happy with the end result, here’s a comprehensive breakdown of each type of highlight technique.
Teasylights are a hair coloring technique in which a colorist teases your hair before applying color. Working in small sections and backcombing the mane allows for a more diffused and seamless application, kicking any harsh lines to the curb.
Wondering how to get teasylights on your own mane? Ryan Pearl, Redken brand ambassador and celeb stylist, recommends asking your colorist for a foilyage technique to achieve a more precise color.
“When teasing the hair, it gives an automatic softer blend when you highlight...By putting [the hair] in a foil, it allows the hair to reach a lighter and brighter state,” Pearl says.
While this term may sound like something you hand over to your bank teller, it’s actually a newly trendy face-framing coloring technique. The money piece adds a pop of color and vibrancy to your mane while accentuating your hair color and facial features. Whether you’re looking to gleam like a mermaid basking in the sun or are going for a more subtle approach, Pearl says that the money piece can be customized to fit your taste and needs.
To achieve this look, your stylist will paint highlights onto the strands framing your face using a shade that’s lighter than your all over color. For those looking for an extra bit of panache, ask your stylist for a thicker money piece. Pearl adjusts the foil placement depending on what the client is looking for.
"Usually, for an extra pop, I will do three foils back to back to get a heavy money piece and less than that if I’m going for a softer look,” Pearl says.
The end result? Beautiful highlights that draw attention to and brighten your facial features.
Smoked Out Roots
Say what? While you may not have heard of this trend (yet), we’ve seen it gaining speed across social media. Instead of color that goes all the way to the scalp, colorists are leaving the root darker than the rest of the hair. Whether that’s done with a sharply defined contrast or a blended line, the effect adds dimension and ensures hair color that grows out seamlessly. If you’re a natural brunette who’s not lightening your roots, that’s all the less damage to contend with. By letting your color grow out between visits to the salon, you’re allowing new growth to come in.
This up-and-coming highlighting technique is taking over Instagram, with tons of women opting for the natural-looking highlighting technique. Whether you have dark brown hair or ash blonde locks, this might be the subtle color change of your dreams.
If you love the look of highlights, but don't have time to head back to the salon every six weeks, strandlighting may be the perfect technique for you. At first glance, the strandlighting technique is very similar to traditional highlights. Instead of applying foils to large sections of your hair, however, your colorist will apply foils to baby fine segments of hair. The end result? Thin, natural-looking highlights that create a seamlessly blended glow and subtly transform your mane
Victor Sergeev, L'Oréal Professionnel Russian brand ambassador, explains that balayage (balayage means “to sweep” in French) is a freehand color painting technique. Your colorist will hand-paint highlights to your ends and front sections of hair with less refined and more natural movements, which means the lightened pieces blend seamlessly with your base shade. This works to create a youthful and effortless sun-kissed effect.
Contrary to balayage, traditional usage of aluminum foil stacked and precisely painted allows your professional to separate highlighted strands from the rest of the hair.
“Foils are also used to get a maximum lightening effect,” Sergeev explains. “By isolating different strands of hair, maximum contrast between lightened and ordinary hair can be reached.”
Unlike traditional highlights that are placed uniformly throughout the hair, strobing is a more organic way of accentuating your features that can be customized for each client.
“I love the strobing trend because of its versatility, artistic freedom, and customizable applications,” Brooke Evans, L’Oréal Professionnel artist and brand ambassador says. “This is a trend that is going to be hot for a long time.”
To create the strobe effect, your stylist will use balayage or foil highlights to apply the color to your strands depending on your desired look. If you’re looking to dazzle with the lightest and brightest effect possible, your stylist will use foils or hair painting. For a softer appearance, a balayage technique will work best.
Think of foilyage as the best of both worlds. Combining foil highlights with a balayage painting technique, the color is painted on the hair a la balayage, but then each section is wrapped in foils. This strategy lends itself to a more amplified effect that grows with intensity from root to end, but it still looks natural, beachy, and beautiful.
Interested in trying a fresh, new take on highlights? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.