If you pay as much attention to the hair world as we do, it can sometimes feel like there’s a new hair color trend or technique every week. As much as we love to learn about new colors and techniques, however, it can be hard to figure out which are here to stay and which you’ll never hear about again. If you’re looking for a hair color technique with staying power, we’ve got just the thing for you: midlights.
Not sure what midlights are? We’ve got you covered. We sat down with Matt Rez, Redken brand ambassador and creator of the midlights technique to get the scoop on everything you need to know about midlights, including what they are, how to ask for them, and some gorgeous looks to try now.
What are midlights?
We love the look of fresh highlights, but every once and awhile the contrast of the highlights on our base color can make them appear a bit stripe-y. Midlights eliminates that problem altogether by connecting the highlight color with your base color with a hue in between.
“A midlight is the color that connects your base color to your highlights, connecting your color in between the two,” the creator explains. “There's a specific placement because again, it's a connecting color so it has to be weaved in specifically to fall between your base and your highlights.”
The ultimate goal is to give your hair a naturally highlighted look—much like when you were a child. That makes midlights perfect for anyone—no matter your hair type, texture, length, or color.
“Children's hair is just so beautifully tied together because they have all elements, they have a neutral tone, they have a warm tone, and some cool tones running in their hair. And they just blend so seamlessly,” Rez explains. “Anyone that wants the most natural-looking color whether deeper or lighter, you can achieve it with midlights.”
How do you ask your stylist for midlights?
These days, the midlight technique is so popular, you can go into just about any hair salon and ask for midlights! If you’re not comfortable using the term or the technique hasn’t quite made it to your salon, Rez has a simple way to describe the service.
“Basically you want to always ask for a seamless blend, a multi-dimensional seamless blend,” he says.
How do you maintain midlights?
You have to make some changes to your hair care routine after any color service and midlights are no different. While midlights are a different hair color technique than your run-of-the-mill highlights, maintaining them is pretty similar.
“I have clients coming in every three to four months,” Rez says. “They can go longer in between because it creates such a seamless connection from the root to end, but I would say typically three to four months depending on how light you are.”
Salon care is only half the battle. How you care for your midlights at home will determine how great your midlights look every day. First, Rez recommends swapping out your regular shampoo and conditioner system for one formulated for color-treated hair, preferably one that’s sulfate free. The stylist loves Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner. This system for color-treated hair includes Redken’s exclusive RTC Protein Complex to treat hair from the root to the core to the tip.
Next, Rez recommends adding a heat protectant and treatment to your hair care routine. It’s always important to use a heat protectant, but it’s particularly important to use a heat protectant on color-treated hair. The stylist recommends Redken’s Extreme Play Safe 3-In-1 Leave-In Treatment For Damaged Hair. Formulated with plant protein and tourmaline, this innovative hair treatment reduces damage caused by hot tools, strengthens the hair fiber to reduce breakage, and protects hair from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you decided to go really light with your highlights, Rez recommends adding a weekly anti-brass mask like Redken Color Extend Blondage Express Anti-Brass Mask to your hair care routine to keep unsightly brass at bay.
Interested in trying midlights for yourself? Here are five inspiration pictures for you to take to your next appointment.
The Best Midlight Looks To Try Now
Good hair day by @colorbymattrez.
Midlights are a great way to help grow out an old color. Use midlights to blend your old caramel hair color with your dark brown roots for an all-over glow.
Good hair day by @coloredbycaitlin.
Cream Blonde Midlights
Platinum blonde highlights on a dark brown base can sometimes look bit stripe-y. Blend the two hues together with cream blonde midlights.
Good hair day by @hairmeroar.
You don’t have to go blonde to add dimension to your dark brown hair. Ask your stylist for chocolate midlights to add some much-needed dimension to your color without completely changing your hue.
Good hair day by @curl_iq.
Soft Auburn Midlights
Go red without completely giving up your light brown hair with these soft auburn midlights. The midlights seamlessly blend the light brown base with rich red tones to create this vibrant but natural-looking auburn hue.
Good hair day by @laura_dugaeva.
Bronde MidlightsMidlights in equal parts blonde and brunette make this rich bronde shade pop.
Interested in midlights? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.