The Terms Behind Highlighting Techniques

Highlights give hair dimension, a naturally sun-kissed look, and can even take years off your appearance. Although achieving the ideal look can be tricky, a colorist who's proficient in today's modern techniques can incorporate various colors and tones to create a natural and flattering hue that goes well with your skin tone.

Do you know what to ask for when you visit the salon? Here's a quick lesson in the language of highlights...

LOWLIGHTS
The opposite of highlights, lowlights use darker colors to break up over-highlighted hair or to make select strands a bit darker.

CHUNKING
If you're looking for bold highlights, chunking is the way to go. Your stylist will randomly section out large chunks of hair and apply color or bleach to them.

PAINTING
Painting uses a brush or comb to literally paint bleach onto the hair. This helps achieve a natural look, but because the bleach isn't encapsulated in plastic or foil, a larger amount is required, which can burn the hair.

BALAYAGE
A freeform type of hair-painting, balayage (or baliage) originated in Europe and is one of the most popular techniques. It results in a look that is more dimensional and multi-tonal.

TIPPING
This highlighting technique lightens just the tips of the hair, as opposed to the entire strand. It's best for straight or slightly wavy hair.

FOILING
A commonly practiced technique, foiling involves placing the hair in sheets of professional-grade tinfoil to prevent bleach from mixing with the rest of your hair.