HOT NEW HAIR TREND: Is splashlighting the new ombre?

We've had ombre hair, dip-dye hair and rainbow hair, so it's hardly surprising that the latest hair trend also revolves around colour.

The splashlights technique was pioneered by New York-based colourist Aura Friedman, and comprises a streak of horizontal highlights which gives the impression that the wearer is standing under a spotlight.

However, it's not just a case of simply bleaching one area of hair. The trend, when carried out correctly, involves lightening a horizontal ring of hair, starting from the under layers and working outwards, and then dyeing the hair below and above with a colour similar to the natural shade.

Aura Friedman is widely credited with creating the ombre hair craze, and has, in the past, showcased various new hair trends at fashion weeks around the world.

A recent tweet by Friedman included a link to a photo of the colourist carrying out the splashlight treatment with the hashtag  #nyfw, prompting many to speculate that splashlights will dominate the catwalk when New York Fashion Week kicks off in just a few weeks' time.

Savvy splashlighting

"We tend to refer to this technique as panelling," explains Jon Kinsey of Leeds-based Jon Kinsey Salon. "Done properly it can look great. It’s really a more technical and sophisticated alternative to dip dyeing - we use differently-shaped sections to create veils or layers of hair which show as the hair moves."

So how easy is the splashlights trend to carry off? The answer, unfortunately, is not very. "Using bleach will always put strain on the condition of the hair and it would be fairly difficult to maintain," points out Tai Walker, head of colour and technical development at Mahogany Hairdressing. "It’s also important to get the colour topped up."

Regular salon visits are a must for those keen on trying out the trend, but nourished, healthy locks are equally important. "The sharpness could be lost when the hair starts to grow and would need to be redone sooner than other trends," warns Joe Allen, salon director at Bournemouth-based Hush Hair and Beauty.

"The most important thing about maintaining the look is to condition the hair properly afterwards and to use a good after-hair care regime."

The long and short of it

The length of hair is also important.

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“Medium to long hair will look best with a splashlight as the ‘halo’ effect could look a little severe on shorter hair," says Laura McCool, a creative stylist for Supercuts' Edge artistic team.

“Layered hair also looks fantastic with this trend as a more subtle colour can be put through the middle section so that the colour shows through when you move.  By using a colour which isn't that different to your natural shade, the splashlight will create lots of depth and make hair look thicker and generally more voluminous."

Laura also points out that one of the advantages of splashlights is their versatility. “Although splashlights aren't ideal for short hair, the technique can be still be adapted to suit different hairstyles, perhaps with one through the fringe, though it's best to consult your stylist on how to make this work for you.”

Hair colour is another factor which should be taken into consideration. "It works amazingly on natural brown hair but it can be adapted to most hair colours," points Karine Jackson. "If you're a follower of fashion and want your look to stand out this is a great trend."

The good news is that according to the experts, there are easier, less high maintenance alternatives for those looking to copy the splashlights trend.

"The splashlights trend is similar to the shine line trend that was around a few years ago," points out Tai Walker at Mahogany Hairdressing.

"This involves bleach being placed in bands throughout the fringe or areas of sharp graphic cuts. The bleach is then toned with a colour slightly lighter than the natural base. The shine line trend uses colours within the same tonal family, giving the effect that light is reflecting off the hair."

"Personally, I think using similar tonal colours in the hair looks more natural and glamorous than a large band of contrasting colour."

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