This one’s for the pros, not for doing your hair at home. Trying this out at home could seriously end up damaging your hair, so please don’t even attempt it. I get emails every single day from fellow hair colorists wanting to know how to achieve super natural highlights that fade into a lighter color toward the ends. So this is for them. Also, we took these using my assistant’s iphone and the pictures aren’t exactly… stellar. In the future, we’ll be doing more color posts in studio, but I figured we should get this up now since this is the time of year when our clients want to start lightening things up!
1. You’ll need: foils, clips, lightener with 20 volume (I use Schwarzkopf Igora Vario Blonde Plus Dust-Free Powder), fine tooth highlighting comb, a regular comb and a color brush.
2. I start with air-dried hair so that I can see the natural wave pattern. If hair is blown out straight, mist it with water to get the natural wave back. I like to choose sections that would naturally lock together. I start at the back in the bottom and work my way to the front. This way it’s easier for me to rinse the foils as they reach the desired color. Lightener is progressive so your sections will be ready at different times.
3. Here I’m showing you a highlight toward the top of my client’s head because the light is better, but the technique is the same throughout. Back comb lightly about 2 inches away from the root (or where ever you and your client wants the highlight to start). Light teasing before applying lightener breaks up the more prominent line that’s typically created when using normal highlighting/foiling technique.
4. Apply lightener liberally about half way down the section. Make sure to saturate well to avoid inconsistencies in your color.
5. Now flip your brush from painting lightener horizontally to painting with your brush vertically. “Feather” up toward the back combed section and overlap into it just slightly. Be sure to stay on the foil so that it doesn’t bleed into the rest of the hair.
6. I always like to lightly smudge the very top of the lightener with my thumb to make sure the fading effect is soft. (Be smarter than I was! Use gloves when you do this.)
7. Fold your foil into vertical thirds, this way there is no crease in the middle of the foil. Creasing your foil can result in inconsistent color, skips or bands when doing this kind of highlight.
8. I usually put my clients under the dryer for 5-10 minutes on med-high heat for a little boost, but that’s it. Volume and dryer time are up to you as a professional.
**I always like to finish these highlights with a toning gloss in the appropriate shade, which is your call as a professional! I do this to seal down the cuticle and make the desired tone last longer.
This post is for professional colorists only and should never be attempted at home. It is intended to fulfill the inquiries made by professional colorists. Kristin Ess and/or thebeautydepartment.com are not responsible for any attempts or results of this or any other hair color tutorial.