The L.A. Lowlights Trend That Will Last You All Summer

Photographed by Nate Hoffman/ Courtesy of Kyle David.
If you think every blonde runs around town sipping Cosmos on a Friday night, then you've never been in a salon past closing with foils still in your hair. Anyone friendly with a bowl of peroxide will tell you that the weekly upkeep for color-treated hair is less than ideal, and so is the damage that comes with it.
But not every dye job has to be a six-hour double process. In fact, there are a handful of L.A. colorists trying new techniques that keep you out of the salon longer while maintaining the health of your hair. Johnny Ramirez has "lived-in" color, Kari Hill has gloss smudging, and now, Sally Hershberger's Kyle David has "blooming hues."
What Are "Blooming Hues?"
Think of David's technique as your natural hair color, but with the Instagram saturation tool turned all the way up. Essentially, he brightens the natural highlights you already have, while deepening the base color all around them. The contrast makes the highlights appear as if they're "blooming," making this dye job especially ideal for those with virgin hair.
The inspiration — like many iterations of ombré color — came from looking at the natural dimensions of children's hair. "I was just sitting at brunch with my boyfriend one day and this gaggle of kids came into the restaurant," David says. "We live by the beach, so it was hard not to notice the sun reflecting off their hair. I thought, I need to recreate that."

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Because David's technique brightens natural highlights by deepening the color around them, he typically uses far less bleach — which results in far less damage. "When you look at children’s hair, the interior is always a little darker because the sun isn’t hitting it as much," he explains. With that in mind, he only places additional highlights on the exterior layers of the hair. "Most of the time, I can do this all in one process, just depositing more golden, richer tones," he says. That means his clients spend less time in the salon chair and more time enjoying their new color.

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What To Ask For
David says that anyone with blonde or red hair will benefit most from his lowlights-heavy approach, while deeper brunettes will need more highlights to achieve the right look. "If someone comes in and their hair looks solid, I’ll go through and build depth with their base color and lowlights," he says.
If you're a blonde, ask your colorist to smudge your base with a medium-blonde shadow and a few lowlights to break up the lighter highlights in your hair — whether they're natural or from your last salon visit. Redheads should ask for a similar technique, but with the addition of a gloss to pump up the color with a rich vibrancy.

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After the initial dye job, David says that most of his "blooming hues" clients don't have to make another appointment for almost three months, which explains why he's seeing an uptick in appointments before summer. Because who has time to sit underneath a heat lamp for three 20-minute intervals on a Saturday afternoon when you could be sipping bottomless mimosas?

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