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Friday, 10 May 2013

Lighten Up!


Now that the wet weather seems to have subsided, we're met with bright skies and blustery winds.  No longer forced to cover our hair with a hat or pin back into an all-weather bun, it's time to turn up the heat in the Spring style stakes.

Highlights are one of the most popular Spring treatments, and if you want the most natural-looking highlights possible, it’s important to get colour applied in salon. A professional hairstylist has a much better chance of mimicking how the sun hits your tresses than you do squinting into the mirror, trying to smear a mascara-style brush in the right places.  Although it costs more to have highlights applied professionally, the results are worth it, particularly when a visit includes a full consultation process to define your perfect look.

All salon colourists use basically the same formula for hair highlighting: a mixture of peroxide (which opens the hair cuticle) and persulfates- salts derived from persulfuric acid which strip the colour. Peroxide does damage hair, but it’s very important to visit a good salon to limit the amount of damage- too long a development time by an inexperienced stylist could lead to frazzled follicles!

When it comes to applying the highlights, it’s all about location.   In a treatment such as a half head of highlights, the colourist focuses on the areas where the sun would naturally hit, like the top layers, around the face, and the crown.  And, if you often wear your hair up, tell your colourist- they’ll also place a few streaks on the bottom layers, above the nape of the neck.

Regardless if you're a rich brunette or a dark blonde, using foils is the most efficient way to apply bleach to the hair. Your colourist will brush on a highlighting formula, and then wrap the strands in pieces of foil until they reach the proper shade.  While you're sitting in the chair, the metal is reacting with the chemicals in the bleach to create heat, which helps strip out colour more quickly and deeply- perfect for those who have more pigment to begin with.

After the peroxide has lifted the right amount of colour, a good colourist will apply a toner to remove brassiness and blend the bleached areas. Toner will affect only the colour of the lightened strands, leaving your base colour intact.   However, it’s still important to maintain your colour at home.  Personally, I recommend L'Oreal Professional Serie Expert Silver Shampoo: a great product to prevent those brassy tones from sneaking into the hair.

Equally, it’s important to keep your lightened locks shiny and natural-looking by visiting the salon for a touch-up every 6 weeks or so. And, when wet weather returns and the sun fades away, you can always let your blonde streaks do the same!

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