We consider gorgeous hair color a work of art, hand-crafted by some of the most talented colorists in the industry. When a hair color trend comes along that’s literally inspired by real-life art, we pay even closer attention—which is why we’re obsessed with the negative space hair color trend.
How exactly does negative space hair color differ from traditional balayage? We’re breaking down everything you need to know about the hair color technique and how you can try it for yourself.
Good hair day by @tabetha_and_co.
What is negative space hair color?
In art, negative space refers to the area of space around or between the subject of an image. When it comes to hair color, negative space simply means putting the focus on your base color. Just like adding the illusion of depth in a painting, this balayage technique can add depth and dimension to your hue. To achieve the negative space hair color technique, your colorist will apply hand-painted highlights or lowlights throughout your natural base color—mainly focusing on the strands framing your face.
The result is a high-contrast look that makes your base color pop while also adding brightness to your strands. If your negative space look requires highlights, your colorist will need to use bleach to lift your current hue first. It’s important to note that bleach will always cause damage, but your colorist can help to improve the look and feel of your strands.
Good hair day by @hairbyamybee.
Who does negative space hair color work best for?
What we love most about balayage is how versatile it is—and the negative space hair color technique takes that a step further. The technique focuses on enhancing your base color—which means it’s perfect for any blonde hair, brunette, or redhead looking to add contrast and dimension to their hue while staying true to their roots.
Good hair day by @hairbyamybee.
How do you maintain negative space hair color?
Now that you know all about negative space hair color, let’s talk about maintenance. The good news is if you’re on a tight schedule, you’ll only need to see your colorist every four to six months for a touch-up.
Whether you’re brightening a dark brown base or adding depth to your naturally blonde hair, you’ll need to make a few key changes to your hair care routine. Begin by swapping out your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system formulated for color-treated hair. We recommend Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed Clarifying Volumizing Shampoo and Shine-Enhancing Conditioner. This system cleanses and conditions to help protect against fading and extend your color vibrancy.
After a bleach session or two, your strands might be feeling more dry than usual. Add a weekly hair mask like Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Nourishing Strengthening Mask to your routine. This hair mask intensely nourishes, revitalizes, and strengthens hair in just 60 seconds.
If you decide to try negative space hair color, we'd love to see your final look! Use the hashtag #HairDotCom to share your photos with us.
Ready to try the negative space hair color technique? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.