‘Strandlighting’ Is The New Hair Color Technique Helping Stretch Your Summer Highlights Into Fall


Farwell foils. Bye-bye balayage. The latest hair coloring technique on the block? “Strandlighting,” a method that makes it easy to maintain gorgeous, sun-kissed color no matter the season (because, as much as we don’t want to admit it, it’s already August and PSLs will be cropping up any second now).

Like balayage, strandlighting makes for a super natural, ‘I just got back from a week at the beach’ effect. The main difference: Rather than hand-painting thicker pieces of hair, this new method involves applying the color onto teeny-tiny strands and using foils to separate them. The result is an all-over, sun-kissed brightness that’s subtle enough to work on all hair types and colors, explains New York City colorist Stephanie Brown.

That subtlety also means they’ll be no harsh or telltale line of demarcation as your natural color grows in, which is why this is an especially great choice for seamlessly transitioning your color between seasons. The only minor drawback is that strandlighting is a slightly more labor-intensive technique, “so you’ll be in the salon longer than usual given all the detail that’s involved,” notes Brown.

Still, because the grow-out is so natural, you’ll be able to go longer in between appointments — think fourth months, rather than the two months you get with traditional highlights, she adds. (Low maintenance for the win!) It’s also worth noting that because the technique is so new, some colorists may not yet be familiar with it; your best bet is to ask for finer babylights, since the two are similar, advises Brown.

And, as with any color appointment, remember that reference pics are always a good move.