Yes, we'll well aware that hair trends can be rather fickle. What's in one minute, is outré the next. And it can be difficult keeping up with the latest colours sported by actresses, Instagram starlets and Victoria's Secret Angels. But while pastel colours, shocking platinum and two-tone hair may not be for everyone, babylights is something which anyone can wear. Why? It aims to mimic the natural, multi-gradient tones you would find in a 'virgin' — or undyed — head of hair. Granted multiple tones may not be that common in Asian hair, which usually tends to come in various shades of black or dark brown. But this doesn't mean that Asian women can't achieve this effect with their hair colour, whether they choose to go blonde, brunette or red.
I had to try the trend myself so I visited Hair Philosophy, where the extremely knowledgeable salon director Chester Wong, not only dyed my hair, but gave me a detailed rundown on what the trend was all about. Says Wong, "Babylights is actually a blend of all the different hair dyeing techniques, but woven together for a seamless, natural effect. On a client's head I might do micro-stitches of colour to create fine slices of light, or use balyage in other areas. This combination of techniques and shades creates a non-regimented finish so you don't see obvious strips of colour."
The best part of the trend is that it is totally customisable to a client's hair, face shape and even preferences. Wong looked at my face shape and said he would only weave darker tones around my face for a slimming effect and to 'extend' my face shape from its heart to the more perfect oval. In addition, Wong deliberately darkened my roots slightly — have you noticed how freshly-dyed tresses always looks too bright there where newly-grown hair seems to suck up the colour— for a more lived-in effect that would look less obvious as it grows out.
Using Redken's Chromatics hair dyes which uses an oil delivery system to give colour without ammonia, Wong assured me that this non-damaging dye would not alter my hair's quality for the worse. After consulting with me, he decided on a blend of beige gold and brunette shades using a total of three different tones to change my hair from its existing copper red. The effect he was after? "It will look almost like a solid colour but there will be a sprinkling of light in the hair". Wong had some great techniques like using a blurring brush to colour the roots so that regrowth would be softened. So meticulous was the process, that I ended up with a headful of foils. The final step was the application of a gloss to tone down and tie together the colour, before a post-colour treatment was applied.
The result? I was super satisfied with the finished colour as it was the best result that I've gotten after a colouring session, pretty much exactly what I had envisaged. My hair has not been 'lifted' that much in terms of the level of colour — it's still around a level 7, a medium blonde. Most people I met with didn't realise I had just dyed my hair, so it's definitely subtle. But upon closer inspection they could see the multiple tones that made up the rich brunette shade. Another plus? My hair looks thicker thanks to the different tones that add depth and dimension. This is the perfect hair trend for the woman who wants that expensive hair look or works in a conservative office, but still wants something flattering and trendy.
But having a beautiful head of highlights is one thing. Maintenance is just as key. Redken has a new range of products under its Blonde Idol range that do the job. After more than a week of colour, I've found these product helpful in keeping my blonde tones from going too brassy. The shampoo is gentle and sulfate-free and is able to restore your hair's natural pH level — dyeing it tends to make hair more alkaline so it needs to be rebalanced. The real star though is the customisable conditioner. The dual-chamber bottle releases a mix of colour-depositing formula (that's bright violet) and a conditioning product. Just click it with each passing week to adjust the formula and it will help to refresh and preserve your colour in the long run. Genius!
Check out the full range of Blonde Idol products below:
From $95 for a root retouch, $125-$195 for highlights and $65 for a full-head gloss. At Hair Philosophy, 129 Tyrwhitt Road, 6341-5990