I'm always trying to learn exciting, new techniques to keep my stylist skills on trend and up to date. I especially love to learn about new highlighting techniques. Of course, the partial highlight is still the gold standard of highlighting applications, especially for long, layered hair. However, there are a few other fun and fabulous techniques to learn and perfect. Here are a few highlighting techniques that are popular in the salon where I work.
The partial highlight. Like I said before, the partial highlight is really the gold standard of highlighting techniques. It creates a beautiful looking highlight and works with many hairstyles and hair types. It involves a series of foils placed in the mohawk section of the hair, with a few added foils on each side. This is great for long hair because it allows the top-most layer of the hair to cascade over the rest of the hair, so that it looks like the entire head of hair is highlighted. The highlights can even be placed in such a way that the hair does not look streaky when the client puts her hair in a ponytail. Highlights can be thin, chunky, natural, or noticeable.
The Ombre technique. This is the latest and greatest technique among celebrities right now. It involves painting long hair with color or lightener in such a way that the roots stay a darker, natural color, while the hair gets lighter and lighter towards the ends of the hair. The tips of the hair are the lightest. The look mimics the effects of hair that has started growing out after a summer spent in the sun. It gives the client a youthful and radiant glow. Retouches are unnecessary because there is no regrowth to worry about. The highlights can easily be grown out and trimmed off after a few months, if desired.
Baliage. Baliage hair color is great for either very short hair or for very subtle, sun-kissed highlights. It involves painting the hair color directly on the hair, without the aid of foils. It creates a very natural looking highlight, similar to the look of a young child who's spent a summer in the sun. It can be applied to dry hair; it can also be applied while hair is processing with an all over color.
Shake highlights. Shake highlights are simple highlights added at the client's part. While the hair is processing with all-over color, the stylist pulls out a section of hair on each side of the part, and shakes a few pieces loose. What is left is put into a foil and lightened, creating a little bit of color and depth at the clients part. This is a simple, fast way to add depth and dimension to an all over color.
The cap. This is my least favorite type of highlight. It involves placing a thick plastic cap over the client's hair. Using a tool similar to a crochet hook, the stylist pulls small chunks of hair through tiny holes in the cap. Then the stylist paints hair color all over the cap, lightening every strand that has been pulled through. Sometimes this technique is necessary for very short hair, however, it can be uncomfortable for the client and prone to uneven color results.
The Shoe Shine. The shoe shine is another great highlighting technique for very short hair. Although it was originally created for men's color, it has branched into women's styles as well. The hair is spiked up, and then lightener is applied to a piece of foil. The foil is then rubbed over the tips of the spikes and left on to process. The effect is a funky, edgy look that works well with spiked hair and mohawks.
The Peekaboo. The peekaboo is a great way to add highlights to long hair. A few chunks of hair are separated into foils on either side of the head. Color or lightener is then applied to each foil. This effect is a bright pop of color that peeks through the hair. Because the hair is not highlighted at the part-line, there is no need to worry about frequent retouches or obvious roots.
The pizza wheel. The pizza wheel is a simple highlighting process. Using the top of the head as an apex, the stylist will add vertical slices of color around the head as if following the lines of slices of a whole pizza. This technique adds interesting chunks of color around the head, creating movement and depth with each move of the client's head.