Hair Frosting Is the Trendy Way to Bring Back Early 2000s Frosted Tips

January 11, 2023
Jordan Julian
By: Jordan Julian | by L'Oréal
Photo of the back of a person's head with long brunette hair with cool blonde highlights

We’re only a couple of weeks into the new year, but it still feels safe to say that Y2K nostalgia is not going anywhere in 2023, and the latest hair color trend to sweep the beauty world is proof. We’re calling it now: “Hair frosting” is poised to blow up in the next few months. We spoke to Tylor Johnson, expert hair colorist and founder of Nous Haircare, to find out everything you need to know about this fresh take on early-aughts frosted tips.        

What Is Hair Frosting?

Hair frosting is a hair color technique that involves adding cool-toned highlights, usually to brunette hair, but you can try this look on any hair color. “Hair frosting typically focuses on the bottom of the hair and the face-framing highlights, keeping everything subtle and cohesive to evenly blend no matter how your hair moves,” says Johnson. “It’s one of my favorite ways to maintain dimension without being overly highlighted!” 

Concentrating the color towards the bottom of the hair is what makes this trend a playful riff on the oh-so memorable frosted tips look that reigned supreme in the early 2000s.

“When frosted hair became the hottest trend in the late ’90s/early 2000s, it had a much more pronounced look — the big chunky blonde highlights through the ends and around the face,” she says of the history behind the look. “Today, the revival of the Y2K aesthetic has brought us a more subtle, muted and modern take.”

The best part? It’s perfect for winter. “This is a great winter look because it has dimension but feels a little bit closer to most people’s natural color, which is typically what most people change going into winter seasons, something a little softer and natural looking,” explains Johnson. Plus, you can’t ignore the seasonally appropriate name for the trend — what better time to channel your inner ice queen than during the colder months?

How Do You Get Frosted Hair?

If you’re still not sure exactly what hair frosting consists of, we asked Johnson to break down the process. To determine the right color for the highlights, she begins by looking at the client’s natural hair color and starts with one shade lighter. Towards the bottom of the hair, the color fades to two shades lighter to get that frosted effect. 

“Once I’m ready to color, I like to add very fine sections of highlight at the bottom, and then a few sporadic pieces throughout the top layer and ends,” says Johnson. “The spotlight of this look is the addition of face-framing highlights that draw attention to the face while emphasizing the dimension we’ve already created.” 

If you want to try frosted highlights, Johnson recommends asking your hair stylist for subtle highlights with minimal contrast for a more monochromatic look. When in doubt, it’s always helpful to have reference photos.

Another pro to hair frosting is that it’s totally low maintenance once you leave the salon. “The great thing about frosted highlights is that they tend to grow out seamlessly because of the dispersed placement of color,” says Johnson. “To extend the life of this look, I love using Nous Haircare glosses, which give shine back to the hair and richens up the color!” For a drugstore option, we love the L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss.


Nous Haircare Gloss


You’ll also want to use shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for color-treated hair, like the Kérastase Bain Chroma Respect Shampoo


Kérastase Bain Chroma Respect Shampoo



Photo: @hairsecretsby; Design: Juliana Campisi

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