Hair color is an excellent way to change up your style without completely overhauling your look. However, with a new trend each week, it can be a bit dizzying to keep up with the terms and techniques. To understand the basics and ensure you’re able to communicate what you really want at your next appointment, we’re highlighting some of the top lightening techniques used in the salon. Read on to know exactly which type of highlights to ask for in the salon and the best way to communicate with your stylist.
Looking for: sun-kissed natural placement.
Ask for: Balayage
What it is: A French term, it literally means ‘to sweep’ or ‘to paint.’ This technique originally gained traction in the 70s, again in the 90s, and is now a staple in most salons. It is an open-air technique that involves painting lightener on individual sections of the hair without the use of foils. Due to its placement technique, it guarantees a truly bespoke finish for each client. This is a great option for curly or wavy hair or for anyone looking for a more natural finish.
Looking for: a soft transition with a major impact
Ask for: Baby-lights
What it is: A highlighting technique utilizing very thin sections and weavings, a stylist will apply many foils back to back throughout the head. This placement allows the stylist to create high impact color with a very soft transition. This look is slightly more upkeep than traditional highlights or balayage but can create great results if the goal is a very natural, yet highly lightened finish.
Looking for: a quick way to add lightness in all the right places.
Ask for: Face Frame or Money Piece
What it is: Utilizing highlights, baby-lights, foliage or balayage, this technique is used to create a lightened effect around the face. If you regularly visit the salon for gray retouch services or are looking for a quick, low-maintenance service, a face frame also known as a “money piece” is the perfect add on. Stylists will place a few highlights off the scalp and around the face to perfectly highlight your best features.
Looking for: a natural sun-kissed effect with high impact results.
Ask for: Foilyage
What it is: Similar to balayage, foilyage uses bleach to paint highlights into the hair with a very natural approach. The difference between balayage and foilyage is that hair is placed into a foil after application instead of left to process in the open air. This freehand approach allows for a soft transition and natural sun-kissed effect but can achieve much higher impact with the help of the foils. If your hair has a hard time lifting or you want to go much lighter, foilyage is the perfect balance of natural placement and a high contrast lift.
Looking for: low-maintenance upkeep with a high contrast effect.
Ask for: Ombre, Sombre or 'Color Melt'
What it is: The ombre or sombre is a highlighting technique that uses a specific placement. It often involves a high lift to show contrast between the base shade and highlights. Creating a shadow effect at the scalp area, this placement technique can work very well on a range of hair types and tones. The difference between ombre and sombre is simple, an ombre has a higher contrast while a sombre has a slightly softer transition. While natural palettes are popular, this look can also be designed with creative colors or pastels like blush or lavender.