Pintura Highlights Will Give Your Curls New Life This Winter

The minute it was safe to reunite with our hairstylist, our wheels started spinning. After months of sitting at home, it was tempting to cut all our hair off and start over with something drastic. Baby pink tips? Or a platinum-blonde buzzcut, perhaps?

That all went out the window when we noticed a surge in the popular color technique Pintura highlights. The method, which translates to "paint," is by no means new, but continues to increase in popularity — especially post-quarantine.


"Pintura is a technique that colorists and stylists use to apply hues and tones directly to your curls to "paint" them without the use of the traditional bleach-and-foil method," Devachan Salon Colorist Nicolle Lemonds tells us. "The Pintura method allows colorists to pinpoint exactly which strands of curls look better with different shades of color."

Consider your curls a colorist's canvas: Everyone's results will look a little different depending on their coils, cut, and desired color. "The method is tailored to each client's hair in order for the best illumination," MATRIX Artistic Director Michelle O’Connor says.

Because of the freehand nature of Pintura, you can go super-bold or barely-there with your highlights. And the grow-out is seamless, making them ideal for the cold winter months. Ahead, we rounded up different ways to rock the color technique, so you can start screenshotting them to send to your stylist.

Trending hues like warm cinnamon, bronze, and gold are a hot request among clients this fall, says Lemonds, who created this look. "Warmer tones are fitting for fall, and they make the hair appear more healthy and shiny," she explains. "Curls tend to get dryer during fall and winter, so warm tones can be very complementary to your complexion and your curls by helping them appear healthier."

With any new hair color, though, moisture is the real key to keeping your strands bouncy and your color fresh. Add a hydrating deep conditioner to your routine to get ahead of damage and dryness.
Depending on your preference, your stylist can go bold and cover most of your strands with hand-painted color. Lemonds says to come to your appointment with inspiration, but to be open to creating a custom color tailored to your complexion. "Your stylist should be well-versed in recommending a flattering shade that's specific to you," she explains. We especially love these pumpkin-spice curls by Naeemah Campbell-Williams of Jersey Curl Salon.
O'Connor says that your haircut is equally important. "Modifications and adjustments should also be made if the curl is looser versus tighter, or if it hangs or defies gravity, since this will impact how the final color appears," she says.

Lemonds, who frequently works on tight, type 4 textures, like the coils pictured, says that Pintura isn't exclusive to loose curls. She recommends researching a stylist who is familiar with various hair textures before sitting in anyone's chair.
You can get your highlights as close to or far away from your roots as you like. Canadian blogger Amanda of Glow Gettr shows how the color looks when it starts right above the ears. "It's common to leave some of your natural hair color at the roots so that your new shade seamlessly melts into your existing color," Lemonds explains.
If you feel like your current hair color is lackluster or dull, Pintura might be a great way to update your hair without drastically changing your look. "The Pintura method can add dimension and versatility to your hair texture," Lemonds explains. Take these curls on her client Heather Banie, for instance, which pop with chunky blonde pieces carefully placed throughout the ends.
The best part? Pintura is pretty low maintenance, which will save you lots of time and cash over the next few months. Just look at this 'fro, colored by Lemonds, which now has cool-toned blonde pieces that still pop towards the ends and make the style look fresh.
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