Even the darkest of brunettes feel a little hair envy when it comes to summertime and the beachy, blonde waves the season inspires. Instead of soaking your hair in lemon juice and risking serious burns, or ruining your hair with an at-home bleach sesh (we’ve all been there), take your lovely locks to a professional for a Cinderella-esque ‘do. Check out our guide to the various techniques involved in switching up your looks and getting gorgeous, sun-kissed strands in time for summer.
Foiling is the process of separating strands of hair with sheets of foil to place highlights throughout the hair, usually starting at the scalp. Matt Rez from Méche Salon explains:
Traditional highlights are select strands of hair that are weaved out of a thin subsection of hair. Typically they are laid over a foil and some form of lightener is applied to lighten the hair. That weave of hair being lightened is the highlight, meaning it will be the lighter than the strands not weaved into the foiled and/or wrapped hair.
This is a controlled, precise process which gives a uniform look to the hair, and takes a fair amount of time (but is very much worth it when done right). Perhaps foils were even your first foray into hair experimentation (and the resulting failure – who didn’t have a chunky tiger-striped phase for a while?). To take your vibrant foils from “can I speak to the manager?” to sun-kissed strands, find a hairdresser you trust, and be prepared to spend some time in the salon perfecting your locks.
Balayage is the technique of painting colour onto sections of hair without foil sheets. It may be hard to pronounce (“balayage” comes from French, meaning “to sweep), but it’s a super easy, low maintenance way of “[stimulating] clients natural hair’s lift in extreme sun for a long period of time”. Want to reclaim the golden-tipped locks of your youth? Balayage is for you. As balayage is painted freehand, the effect is more natural and ensures a less noticeable line of demarcation. And touch up is far more manageable than the 6-8 weeks recommended for foils – your sun-kissed strands will last up to three months with this technique!
Ombré, like balayage, revolutionised hair lightening techniques in recent years, and while the two are often confused with each other, there is a distinct difference in these techniques (and the effects they produce). Instead of sweeping colour on the hair as is the case with balayage, ombré (meaning “shadow” in French – the hairdressing world really loves their French apparently) is the end result of applying colour to only the lengths of your hair, giving a shadow effect to your locks in contrast with your darker roots. Kylee from Style Lounge explains:
Generally, ombres work best on brunettes because it is the least subtle of all the techniques … Ombre is great for the more daring girl, it is definitely more noticeable and typically more maintenance. Ombre is kind of like color blocking, there are no dark pieces left on the bottom to help keep it natural, just a nice transition between the colors.
Ombré is less subtle than balayage, and produces a noticeable difference between the roots and the ends of your hair (unlike balayage where the effect is more gradual). If you want to try blonde but are still attached to your darker locks, give ombré a try.
So there you have it! There are multiple ways to go about lightening your hair, depending on the time, cost, and commitment you plan to put into your blonde ‘do. Have you tried sun-kissed strands for summer? Let us know if you had more fun in the comments below.
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