Score Subtle Summer Highlights

It’s that time of year, summer is just around the corner, and that means brightly coloured pedicures, patios, cute dresses, and, of course, highlights.

If you count yourself among the salon-goers who routinely lighten up their tresses during the warmer months, or if you’re just looking for a change, getting highlights is a great way to infuse a little summer into your look.

Whether you’re a first-timer, or a highlighting aficionado, here are some tips and tricks to pick your perfect sun-kissed shade and style, and keep it looking fresh.


Highlights today are a lot less scary (and damaging) than they used to be. Colourists have adopted a much more natural approach and have long since ditched the dramatic, sometimes skunky-looking streaks of past years. The effect now: subtle and sexy. To properly pull off this sultry look, you shouldn’t go any more than one or two shades lighter than your base. In this case, less is definitely more.

Another tip: don’t forget to pay attention to your skin tone. Warm skin tones should stick to warmer colours (like auburn, red, copper and gold) and cool skin tones should choose cooler, ashier hair shades. Confused about where you fit in? Check the veins on the inside of your wrist. Greenish veins mean you’re probably warm, while bluer ones put you more on the cool side.


When it comes to highlighting, an important thing to consider is placement.

Salons offer many techniques, including basic foils, balayage (a more free-form colour placement, applied via brush), or the still-hot ombre trend (if you’ve been living under a rock: a gradual lightening of colour starting with a dark root and leading into brighter ends, currently sported by the likes of Rachel Bilson, Alexa Chung and Lauren Conrad).

Talk with your colourist to see which look will work best for you. Use how often you want to drop in for touch-ups and how you usually style your hair as deciding factors.

Blondes and lighter shaded brunettes can also choose to skip the salon and get their highlights from a box. Deeper brunettes are advised to get their man-made streaks from a professional (for you, attempting this at home can often end in some scary and very orange results. Not pretty).


Once you’ve got your tone and placement covered, remember to give your tresses some TLC to keep your colour-treated strands fresh, bright and healthy.

Any time spent outdoors (including lounging on the beach) can wreak havoc on your hair’s condition and vibrancy. To help combat these less than desirable warm-weather effects, be sure to swap your normal shampoo for one made for colour-treated hair (try stylist favourite Fekkai), and look for styling aids that contain sunscreen. You may also want to invest in a good, deep conditioner (the Biolage line by Matrix is a good choice), and apply it once a week.

Also make sure to keep up with trims because split-ends tend to be more noticeable on highlighted strands.

Lastly, the overall best thing about natural looking highlights? They won’t be as noticeable while growing out, so you won’t have to worry about the dreaded shock of tacky root”which means more time between colour appointments. It also helps that ombre is still a hot hair look, so, luckily, a little re-growth is a little more on-trend than faux-pas.

Sympatico Image


Tags: balayage, Beauty, foils, Hair, highlights, ombre, summer

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