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(David Arnal)

The natural brightening that results from hair’s exposure to the sun is the inspiration for most modern color techniques. Ombre, balayage, and babylights are all artistic takes on sun-kissed strands. This season, a new method involving blocked placement is taking a super-subtle approach to replicating natural color variation. It’s fast to apply, looks super natural and works on any hair color. Learn more about this emerging technique in the notes. –– Laura Martin

Theory: Hair around the front hairline is usually a bit lighter, while hair at the nape, which is hidden away from the sun, is darker than the rest.

Formulas: A base shade is selected first, then two additional shades, a lighter color for the hair around the face and a darker color for the hair below the occipital bone. Both colors are only 1-2 levels away from the base shade.

Application: A panel of hair is sectioned off at the front hairline and a separate section is divided off at the occipital bone. The lightest shade is applied to the front, the darkest to the underneath, and the base shade to all remaining hair. All three colors are applied root-to-end and processed together.

Result: A soft, dimensional look the appears natural, with subtle variation that flows seamlessly together.

Special thanks to Laura Martin for this post. Laura is a professional hair stylist, former senior educator at ARROJO cosmetology school, and a creative non-fiction MFA student at Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA. Follow her inspirations on twitter  @LarMarStyle  

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