Clients who want full-head highlights or just a blonde flavor will love these simple summer ideas.
Super-slim slices, face-framing foils, balayage and cooler highlights that anticipate inevitable sun-lightening are some of your best bets for summertime-natural blondes that allow easy color changes come fall. Here, Abby Morganstein, who gets raving Yelp reviews for her Concierge Hair Services studio in Rockville, MD, shares her secrets to smartly summerized blondes:
Curly Blonde Balayage
Moderately curly or wavy hair can be a challenge when summer humidity makes it frizz. On top of it, Level 4/5 brunettes just can’t wait for highlights, which could abrade the cuticle even more. For beautiful, sun-kissed highlights sans damage, Morganstein always adds Olaplex to her formula. For the curly girl shown here,
she mixed Wella Blondor Freelights with 40-volume developer and Olaplex, then processed for 45 minutes.
“For fast, natural-looking highlights, I use a 1½-inch wide balayage brush with ends cut on a diagonal,” says Morganstein. “First, I blow-dry the hair smooth for control. Then, working from the bottom up, I take zigzag partings that are 1½ to 2-inches wide, hold my brush vertically—parallel with the hair—and apply the formula at the midshaft before sweeping down to the ends. Below the parietal, I use wider sections and diffuse the lightener to avoid any demarcation lines.”
For a better hairline blend, start at the midshaft as usual but after sweeping downward, blend upward, closer to the scalp. “Hair that is brightest at the ends is always the most natural-looking,” she adds.
Tip: For super curl, hand paint right on the curls to accent and define natural movement, texture, key curves and dynamic shapes. Foiling looks unnatural with this hair; tri-toned highlights looks best, and color, not bleach, helps tighter curls and coils stay healthier.
Foiling for Control
Special-occasion clients, like June brides, want guarantees that their highlights will showcase their face and be perfectly placed. In this instance, reach for foils. “I always make sure my slicing is paper thin and leave enough free hair on both sides of the foils,” says Morganstein.
When a natural Level 6 wants a full head of foils, start with lightener, 30-volume developer and a bonder. Morganstein adds 40-volume developer to the mixture as she works, so that all the foils complete processing at the same time. For consistent work, the lightening formula should be creamy, not runny or thick.
For the bride shown here, Morganstein alternated macro- and micro-slicing. “I followed the part line as I worked,” explains Morganstein. “First, I applied the lighter about one inch off the scalp down, then I gradually worked my way up to the root area. I also kicked the ends of the hair out of the foil. After folding it, I positioned the tail of my comb underneath the lip and gently pushed up before folding the sides.”
Tip: For clients who want more obvious highlights with contrast, rely on foils but keep the overall feeling natural with balanced placement and wider pieces near the face.
Your Secret Summer Weapons
When your client wants to go full-on blonde just for summer and you don’t want to do a double process, reach for hair extensions. For a natural Level 5 with some highlights, Morganstein adds a dozen or so sliced foils on top to facilitate blending. Then she adds platinum blonde and beige Cinderella hair extensions.
“They’re great for creating a strong blonde look without using chemicals,” she says. “Using individual extensions with an organic protein-molded bond can also protect the natural hair because all you need is a medium heat setting to get the bonds to mold around the hair.”
Tip: Smaller attachment sites around the face and on top make wearing individual extensions more comfortable. Where needed, cut the extensions in half before you install them and apply heat for less time—a count of four instead of six.
“When clients want highlights before summer, keep in mind that they will be in the sun and most likely, extend retouches,” says Morganstein. “To accommodate the warm undertones that will be exposed within a month, lift slightly higher than your desired goal. If you are working in air conditioning, which can affect processing times, put the client under a dryer for a few minutes. Also, when working with lightening products that contain blue, don’t be fooled into thinking brass has been eliminated—before rinsing, dry the first foil and double check it.”