The sex, politics, religion and philosophy of fashion, esp. of hair, by session hairdresser
and stylist Ian Robson


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Highlights and lowlights

Highlights are lighter and lowlights are darker than your hair colour (I'll call them Streaks to save typing), and are an excellent alternative to an overall tint. Streaks add shine, dimension, texture, body and colour to the hair. They look best when complementing the movement of wavy or curly hair, the effects one can achieve are beautiful. Highlights are wonderful for adding colour, texture and body to thin mousy hair.

The Baliage (balayage) Technique, Chunky Highlights

Baliage is the American name (and spelling) used for the freehand application of hair colour to create very natural and chunky highlights. Baliage gives a natural beachcomber effect. Of course it's a French method of highlighting - le balayage - and means 'strands of colour' in this context, not 'to sweep', as most Americans think. However, the technique comes to us via the west coast of America. Baliage highlights, because of the 'freehand' method of application tend to be much softer than the usual 'tin foil' highlights and when applied onto select sections of hair, really emphasises the style. Personally I'm into the not glaringly obvious, so mine are subtle!

My Advice

Because of the high degree of technical skill needed to put in a set of highlights or lowlights, they should always be done by a skilled professional hairdresser or technician. I was taught my technical colouring skills by Lester Baldwin at Ricci Burns and consider myself highly proficient (Lester is now one of the worlds great technicians). Never attempt to put them in yourself.

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