Selena Gomez is the latest celeb to trade in traditional highlighting foils for the balayage technique that’s sweeping the starlet universe. She rocked the French lightening effect (which actually means “to sweep”) on sleek locks at the Teen Choice Awards. Painted on by hand with just a bit of color at the roots and more at the ends, the sunkissed style looks more like you spent the afternoon at the beach than in the salon, and is just as low maintenance as it appears (you can go several months without touch-ups since there aren’t hard lines of demarcation). And unlike the painstakingly precise process of applying foils, this is actually one color technique that’s DIY friendly. Stylist Kim Young Eun tells us how to get the look at home.
Step 1: Pick up a home highlighting kit (like L’Oréal Frost & Design Kit) and mix the dye as directed on the package instructions.
Step 2: Brush out hair that hasn’t been washed in a day or two. You don’t want to battle tangles when creating this look, and your hair’s natural oils will protect your scalp. Create a part where you naturally wear one.
Step 3: Since you’re going for face-framing highlights, tie back the part of your hair that you won’t be coloring.
Step 4: Instead of using the brush in your kit, buy some disposable mascara wands—they’ll prevent any globs of bleach from overlightening your hair (or from getting where they shouldn’t be).
Step 5: Choose various-sized strands in places where the sun would naturally hit, like near the face and crown, and brush on bleach from the roots down. The lightest, thinnest application should be at the roots, going heavier and thicker as you reach the ends. Just remember to never bleach hair that’s already been lightened or you’ll damage it. And don’t try to match the highlights on either side of the part—your goal is to look like you’ve been at the beach, not like a stylist spent hours creating perfectly symmetrical color.
Step 6: As you paint each strand, twist a long strip of cotton or piece of torn fabric (like an old t-shirt) around it to keep it from touching other hair and your skin.
Step 7: Avoid overbleaching by diligently watching the clock. Follow the directions in your kit, or start checking your color even a few minutes before your time is up to make sure the effect is subtle.
Step 8: After washing out the bleach and conditioning hair, skip shampooing for a couple of days to protect your new color. When you do wash, switch to products created for color-treated hair to reduce brassiness. Try:Redken Color Extend Shampoo and Conditioner.
What do you think of Selena's sunkissed look?
About the Author:Karina Giglio is a lifestyle, beauty and health writer whose work has appeared in numerous national publications including Women’s Health, Washingtonian, Ladies Home Journal, OK!, Allure, Fitness, Marie Claire, Bride’s and The New York Post. She was a regular contributor to makeup.com, and her articles and blog posts can be found on prevention.com, dailyglow.com, yahoo.com and huffingtonpost.com. Karina has worked onstaff at Cosmopolitan and YM, as well as being part of the original Sephora.com launch team