“Money Piece” Highlights Are Back In A Big Way This Summer

As summer's platinum trend begins to wane — with people quickly coming to terms with the fact that maintaining single-process blonde is no joke — we're seeing a comeback colour trend take off on Instagram: chunky, face-framing highlights, with a 2020 twist.

"In a way, I feel like I'm back in high school on Staten Island," laughs NYC-based colourist Stephanie Brown, who tells us that what she calls the "money piece" is a hot request in safely-reopened salons this summer. But instead of those orange-y, peroxide streaks you might remember from back in the day, these bright, face-framing pieces are created with softer, subtler shades of blonde as well as fun fashion colours like blue and rose gold. "I've actually seen so many different variations lately, and they're all cheap and easy to DIY," says Brown. "You can just order a bleach kit off Amazon — and because you're only touching the front pieces around your face, you don't have to worry about ruining your whole head of hair in the process."


Whether you're bringing an example to your colourist or going for it in your own bathroom, scroll ahead for a visual guide to the summer 2020 highlight trend none of us saw coming.

Hairstylist Justine Marjan told us that she's been noticing a face-framing highlight revival around LA, too. "A few pieces around the face really brighten up the skin and open up facial features," Marjan explains, pointing to fashion influencer Brittany Xavier's crimped, golden-blonde strands as reference.
According to Brown, the face-framing highlight should start right at the root. "You want the colour to look even from root to tip," she explains. "Which is why in the salon, we use foils as opposed to balayage. Even if you have a little bit of a root growth, it's still going to look cool and purposeful." Case in point: Miranda Kerr's long, face-framing highlights that fall a bit off her centre part.
Malcolm Cuthbert, a colourist out of Baja Studio in SoHo, challenges customers to think beyond blonde. "I like creative colour that's bold and intentional," he tells us. "Since the dye tone is so extreme, the piece-y highlight becomes this chic accessory." This particular example — a fresh mint-tinted lift — comes to us courtesy of colourist and Arizona-based salon owner Linh Phan.
If you're trying creative colour at home — like this aqua tone on model and influencer Irene Kim — Brown recommends ordering a colour dye from Bleach London or Manic Panic. "If you just keep that jar of Manic Panic on hand, you can keep touching up your dyed strands as the colour fades or grows out," she explains.
Brown tells us that a deliberate face-framing highlight works well on all curl patterns. "The bounce of the curls — plus a pop of highlight — will emphasise your features," Brown explains. See how this baby-blonde face-framing highlight draws the eye to influencer Eman Osman's brows and cheekbones?
Jordyn Ashley, a colourist out of Brooklyn's Cutler Salon, and her client prove that a simple change in placement is a great way to repurpose the pink hair dye you bought early on in quarantine, and make it feel fresh for summer.
You can get the same two-toned effect with a protective style, like these white-blonde face-framing braids that come to us by way of hairstylist Tiffany Hunter.
If you're into the warm caramel-tinged highlights on Norwegian influencer Nnenna Echem, Marjan recommends trying a wig or clip-in extensions. "For highlights without commitment or damage, extensions are great," she says. "Go just a few shades lighter than your natural colour for a subtle, colour upgrade around your face."
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