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WHAT TYPE OF HIGHLIGHTS ARE RIGHT FOR YOU? // DECODING STYLISTS LINGO ONCE AND FOR ALL

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explanation of the differences between balayage, ombre, foiling, highlights, tipping

It can be confusing to sit down in your stylists' chair, and discuss the myriad of possibilities when it comes to highlights. Plus there are new techniques popping up all of the time, not to mention buzzwords and trends that come and go so fast, it'll make your head spin! 

That being said- this post will clarify the techniques you can expect to hear about in your local salon, and the different results you'll achieve with them. Studio5 TV stopped in to my salon today, so I can give you the run down and hopefully lessen your confusion and help you to get the best results for your own individual needs.

Moore Hair Design  |  Salt Lake City

Why are some highlights processed in foils/papers, while others are left exposed?
  • Foil or paper sheets are used to separate hair strands from one another to prevent colors bleeding on to one another. It's a physical barrier and also a surface for the stylist to apply color onto for control and precision. 
  • Color that is processed inside a foil also processes to be brighter/lighter because of the heat that is created inside the packet of foil- resulting in higher contrasting highlights.
What are the different in-foil highlighting methods called? 
  • Fine Weave - Small (less than 1/2 inch) woven sections of hair are placed inside the foil and color is applied for a subtle and more blended highlight or lowlight.
  • Chunky/Wide Weave - Large (1/2-1 inch) woven sections are placed into the foil and color is applied for a bold pop of color that is high contrast to the surrounding colors.
  • Panels or Slices - Large sections of hair are placed without any weaving action prior to placement inside the foil. This results in the entire panel of hair receiving color, for a very bold color application. This technique is often used for fashion colors such as blues and purples.
  • Tipping - A technique typically reserved for shorter hair when the ends or tips of the hair are placed in a foil and color is applied in one of the above mentioned fashions. Leaving un-changed roots, but a visible color change in the tips of the hair. 

What about hand-painted highlights?
  • Balayage - [balāˈyäZH] A free form painting method where lightener is applied at the stylists discretion, slightly off of the scalp and typically more subtly at the root area, and more heavily at the mid length and ends. This results in a melted or graduated effect with more depth in color at the roots and lightness at the ends. Variations of this method are result in these often-buzzed about color patterns: Sombre, Flamboyage, Ombre, Color Melt. This method is typically processed in the open air resulting in a more subtle contrast between the surrounding hair. You may see stylists use cotton strands or plastic wrap to help separate the sections during the process as well.
I hope that gives you a good over view and understanding of what your stylist is talking about next time you are at the salon. Got a question? Just ask in the comments below. xo!

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