This spring hair colouring is more creative than ever. Today the trend is for effortless, quick and changeable looks. Colouring has more personality; it’s not one method suits all anymore. Whether you want a painterly technique that imparts a subtle, glittering effect or pretty “pastelising” that allows you to change your hair colour almost as often as your clothes, a new you has never been so easy or fun to achieve.
It’s time to find your perfect match, gown up and take the plunge; read on for the ten techniques you need to know about now…
Best for: Short to mid-length hair with layers
This is highlighting, but not in the traditional sense. The Halo, which is available at the Hair, Body & Mind salon owned by Mark Leeson, is all about placement of colour within a haircut. This technique uses colour to emphasise the shape of your cut, add texture and flattering hues around the face; because colour is only placed around the front, to lift your complexion, it is quicker and more purse friendly than other methods. “It is an instant pick-me-up with a low level of upkeep” explains Mark. Working on the top surface layers, colour is smudged through the root and mid lengths of the chosen sections, while more tint can be applied to the ends to give a more dramatic grown-out effect.
“This is a quick fashion technique and really easy to change” explains Mark. The Halo suits mid-length bobs and shoulder length styles best, “especially haircuts with longer layers, this allows the colour to be placed underneath for added interest” says Mark.
The Halo, from £28 at Hair Body & Mind Enq: 01623 622283
Best for: Short, textured hair.
This hair technique, created by the team at Hob salons, is not for the faint-hearted. The hourglass is for anyone who wants a bold or more vibrant look than the traditional techniques can offer. An hourglass section of hair is taken and applied with one colour; the rest of the head is then targeted with a contrasting shade. Although this tends to be a bold technique any colours can be used so you can go as conventional or daring as you wish.
"The careful and intricate hourglass placement allows the completed look to have a creative feel and is great for those wanting to make more of a statement" explains Christel Lundqvist, HOB Salons' Colour Expert. Unlike many of the new hair techniques, this works better on people with shorter, textured hair as "this would really show off the technique" says Christel.
As only two colours are used and they are applied as a block colour, rather than fiddly foils, the whole application takes 30- 40 minutes, not including your cut and blow-dry.
Hourglass, from £80, by
Best for: Any length (except super short) and any hair colour
Headmasters have been using tissue lights since 2006 when Herman Ho, one of its Art Directors, introduced the technique to the team. It was originally created in Paris for the discerning clientele who wanted something softer and more chic than the effect created by foils. “Traditional highlights can look very harsh. Tissue lights create a very sun-kissed result, they look more natural,” explains Herman. “You normally get a softer re-growth too” he adds. Where foil highlights offer a really bleached out effect, tissue lights give hair a warmer tone, which tends to look less striking, albeit healthier and shinier. “Use of tissue, instead of foils, during application means oxygen sneaks through the material causing oxidization, this brings an extra tone to the hair, resulting in a natural, softer look” says Herman. This technique suits all lengths and styles apart from really cropped hair and all hair colours work too, although dark blondes will get the best results. “Charlize Theron and Renee Zellweger look as though they have had tissue lights” says Herman.
Tissue Lights, from £83 for a half head at Headmasters. Not all colourists are trained in the art of Tissue Lights, contact your local salon for more details.
Best for: Naturally blonde or light brown hair
While foil highlights definitely do the trick, the uniform effect and obvious re-growth blight its greatness as a colouring technique. Jose Molino, Celebrity Colourist at Neville Hair and Beauty, has invented a lightening technique that does away with harsh peroxide and foils. “I wanted to give women a safer option when it comes to brightening hair over the summer months. Many reach out for a lemon and squeeze it on to their hair and then bake it in the sun…Also, many products that claim to lighten contain high amounts of peroxide and bleach…this can do untold damage”. Lemons are a high source of vitamin C and when used in the right way will nourish and moisturise your hair.
So how does it work? Jose starts by bathing your hair in organic lemon juices which lifts the colour all over. He then reapplies the lemon through strips of your hair giving it a naturally highlighted look. The lighter pieces also give the illusion of thickness and texture to hair, this makes it a great technique for fine locks which find peroxide a little too harsh, but still need some depth of colour. Oh, and the citrus regulates the sebaceous glands, if you suffer from greasy roots this should help solve that problem without dulling the shine on the rest of your hair.
Organic LemonAid Technique, from £95, at Neville Hair & Beauty Salon Enq: 020 7235 3654
Best for: Any length hair, except for short crops
This technique, created by Billie Crago, Director of The Chapel salon in London’s Islington, offers a look that can be as subtle or stunning as you wish. The colour is graduated through the hair, “imagine the colour is barely there at the roots, and then slowly, slowly builds up in intensity down the length of the hair shaft” explains Billie. “You can create a real contrast (if you wish) but still allowing very little commitment” she adds. The looks suits fine or thick hair; for thinner hair “it adds much needed illusion of bulk and more of a 3D feel; for thick hair, where normal highlights get lost, you achieve a colour that appears to have just evolved rather then looking like it was done by the hairdressers” says Billie. And it’s not just blonde, plenty of different colours and tones can be applied, so Billie will take into consideration both your skin tone and eye colour to ensure a perfect match. “The overall look is natural and the complete antithesis of over-styled ‘dos”. This is also yet another version of colour being applied away from the root, as Billie explains “this allows for a longer re-growth which means for you, your hair looks better for longer”.
Colour with Billie Crago, £68 per hour, at The Chapel. Enq: 020 7520 0460
Best for: Mid-length to Long hair and for anyone wary of colour
Jo Hansford, otherwise known as the ‘First Lady of Colour’, invented the ribbon technique for her clients who “expressed a desire to really experiment with colour but are apprehensive because a colour change can be really high maintenance” explains Jo. The look is created by taking 2cm ribbon sections of hair from beneath your parting and highlighting them to a shade that compliments your natural colour. “These highlights appear as flashes of colour throughout your hair giving the illusion of multi-dimensional texture and movement.” says Jo. “I best describe it as cascades of ribbon” she adds. Yasmin Le Bon and Liz Hurley have already tried The Ribbon and Jo notes that “Kate Hudson and Eva Longoria are sporting a colour effect that is very similar”. As with many of the new colour techniques out there, this suits mid-length to long hair, “these lengths offer a chance for you to see the colour as it flows giving the full effect” explains Jo. And as for maintenance, it’s simple. “As no colour is applied to the scalp you do not experience the paranoia and hassle of re-growth” Jo reassures us.
The Ribbon, from £200 at Jo Hansford Enq: 020 7495 7774
Best for: Any hair colour or length
If you’re a fan of the effortless surfer-girl look, then chances are spending hours in the salon isn’t your idea of fun. Lockonego has the answer in the form of its very own Clever Colour technique, which Jonathan Long co-owner of the salon, claims is “the quickest colour treatment there is” taking just 85 minutes. Not only is it quick, it works on every hair colour and length.
The technique involves backcombing triangle sections of hair throughout the head. Colour is then applied through the underneath and surface of each section allowing the inner part of the triangle to remain colour free. The effect? “A fantastic seamless finish; the results are very natural, ‘beachy’ and textured” explains Jonathan.
Luckily this isn’t a ‘natural’ look that takes a deceiving amount of maintenance; you can go a couple of months without needing to touch up. More time to devote to the waves then…
Clever Colour, price on request, at Lockonego
Best for: Blonde hair
Pastel is a big look this season, thanks to designers Giles, Jeremy Scott and Proenza Schouler sending models down their spring summer 2010 catwalks sporting the pretty hues in their hair. It has gained momentum with Pixie Geldof toning her hair down to a silvery grey and most recently Kelly Osbourne going lilac. Percy & Reed’s Colour Director Andrew John explains that the pastelising technique is used to “soften and modernise blondes”. The hair needs to be a pale blonde to carry the pastel dye, which is layered over the top, and to allow the true colour to shine through. But it’s not just lilac, “this season we’re going for soft latte tones, pinks and coppers”. If you think this isn’t for you, Andrew assures us there is a shade to suit everyone “because the tones can be intensified or subdued to suit your personality”. “It’s a really nice, fresh, soft modern look” adds Andrew. Oh and the pastel colour only takes for 6 weeks, then you’ll be back to your original blonde and you can pick another shade. The world is your rainbow…
Pastelising, from £100, at Percy & Reed. Enq: 020 7637 4634
Best for: Mid-length to long hair with layers
Balayage isn’t a new technique but it has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to Alexa Chung’s balayaged locks. The technique is French and the name comes from the root word “to balay” which means to sweep, which is exactly how the colour is applied in a sweeping motion with a brush. The freehand technique, which doesn’t involve foils, was designed to give people a more natural finish and less time spent in the salon. Clare Lodge, head colourist at Paul Edmonds explains “there are less roots and it's not uniformed so you don't get that line that you do with ‘normal’ highlighting, instead you get a soft level of lightening through the ends for a low-maintenance look.”
It does, however, look polished which is why Clare explains stars like Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Aniston opt for this technique. While Jen’s hair is smooth, it has movement which is key to getting this look right. “Hair should be mid length to long, with layers or texture, which allows the colour to settle on the hair and blend in more easily” explains Clare.
Balayage From £130. Paul Edmonds 217 Brompton Road, London. Enq: 0844 770 9410
Best for: Long, wavy hair
Toni&Guy are leaders in innovation, which is why their interlacing technique is well worth knowing about. The effect is of glitter sprinkled on the surface of the hair and it’s achieved by the colourist plaiting your hair (different numbers and sizes of plait will affect the outcome) then painting, freehand, colour on the surface of the plaits. The dye is always lighter than your hair, which gives a glistening effect and depth to your hair cut. We spoke to Jane Stacey, Toni&Guy’s International Technical Artistic Director who explained that this technique isn’t for everyone, “It won’t work on poker straight hair as it needs a slight wave in order to catch the light and shimmer”. A hair colour this inventive, you would imagine takes a lot of upkeep but Jane assures us it is “very wearable and easy to maintain. As there is no real structure it will grow out very well.
“It’s a very subtle effect so more is definitely better and overtime, with repeated applications, the glitter effect will increase.”
If you’re not sure this look is for you Jane tells us that it will suit the “it-girls of today – think Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe, with their relaxed ‘Boho-chic’ undone styles”.
Interlacing, from £80 at Toni&Guy. Enq: 020 7921 9000