Highlights, lowlights, shadow tones, balayage... There's a reason why these hair colour trends reign supreme in salons. They have the ability to impart warmth, give limp hair dimension and provide lift without the use of tools or excess heat styling. Practised by colourists all over the globe, the techniques (typically using palms or employing a small brush to literally paint on dye from root to tip) are pretty much failsafe when it comes to achieving great colour – but they're also super old.
In 2019, a brand new approach to transforming hair with colour is set to take the industry by storm. Enter: herringbone sectioning. Okay, it might not sound as buzzworthy as strandlighting or toasted coconut hair, but it's even more innovative, and it'll save you heaps of time and money in salon appointments. And we've got proof.
"Herringbone sectioning is basically the application of highlights on a horizontal angle rather than a standard straight line," Francesca Dixon, senior colourist at Hari’s, told R29. "The technique allows you to follow the hairline, catching any fine, baby hairs, making it great for those with difficult hairlines. It also allows you to get as close to the scalp as possible, so the results create an overall much softer colour, with regrowth coming through at a diagonal angle. Because of the way the colour grows out, you don't see any of the harsh, straight lines or 'stripes' which are typical of highlight colour regrowth, which means you get more out of your colour – I'd say around two weeks extra without those obvious roots coming through."
"Not only will you be saving time and money by not visiting the salon as often as before, but there will also be less damage to the hair, as application of colour is reduced over time," continued Francesca. "The colour is developed using foils, much like you would do with highlights, but it’s all about following the hairline in the herringbone pattern."
The best part? The method isn't just for blondes. "Herringbone sectioning is suited for everyone as the colour is really tailored to you," said Francesca. "It’s a great method for brunettes who want to frame their face with lighter shades, like copper tones. It's also a great addition for those who have balayage and want to add brighter, lighter hues around the face to lift the hair and warm up the complexion."
Of course, regardless of the technique, coloured hair needs a lot of care. "Invest in a salon professional shampoo to prolong the hair’s wellbeing as well as a longer-lasting tone," advised Francesca. "Rahua's Color Full range is fantastic for anyone looking for vegan, natural and sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner. They are safe on coloured hair and work to prolong colour." R29 also rates Olaplex's new shampoo and conditioner duo for keeping colour in tip-top condition between treatments and salon appointments.
But back to the clever technique. Even though the colour tends to last nearly a fortnight longer, Francesca told us that herringbone sectioning costs the same as regular highlighting and you won't have to spend any longer in the salon chair. "Half a head will take up to one hour and 30 minutes, while a full head of highlights done in this way will take up to approximately two hours. Depending on the base colour of your hair and your desired result, how long you need under the heat will vary. However, usually, clients will need approximately 30 to 40 minutes."
Sold? Hari's are trailblazers but the technique is slowly filtering into salons across the UK. Just ask your colourist.