Ask any hairstylist about trending hair colours and you'll definitely hear this word from them: Balayage. A technique that involves highlighting hair by hand-painting sections, balayage has reigned supreme among hair colour trends since 2014 and it's certainly not going to stop anytime soon.
Hairstylists have in recent years been building upon balayage to deliver bespoke hair colouring that is tailored just for you. Using balayage as well as structured highlights, the hairstylist would design and use a colour palette that places different tones and depths of colour around the face to highlight and conceal different parts of the face, creating the “contouring” effect traditionally achieved by makeup.
Seeing how stylist techniques can make more of existing colours, many haircare brands have thus spearheaded the education of stylists in this technique. One of the contouring techniques that has impressed us the most in recent years is Illuminage by Wella.
Illuminage evolves from Balayage to give a soft blend, achieving seamless transitions of highs and lows at the crown area to give a super-natural sun-kissed look. While Balayage starts closer to the roots of the hair and creates an overall light look, Illuminage gives a much more luminous, lit-from-within and sun-kissed effect. To achieve that, Balayage completes with a classic toning or glossiness while for Illuminage, it needs to be light-reflective therefore Illumina Color is used.
The traditional answer is yes but as one of our favourite stylists from Wella flagship salon 99 Percent Hair Studio shows us, that's not exactly necessary.
The focus of Illuminage is to create a contrast within your hair to achieve the hair contouring effect. Bleach makes it easier for sure but depending on your hair condition, you MAY be able to achieve Illuminage WITHOUT bleaching. The key though is in the haircut. If the haircut is done well, it will be able to frame your face in a certain way and with illuminage, bring out the best of your face features. ~ Danson, 99 Percent Hair Studio
Well, Danson should know. He is after all one of the few stylists in Singapore selected to create works for Illuminage in Singapore.
Don't believe that you can achieve a similar result without bleach? We follow student Agent A to 99 Percent Hair Studio.
Hello I'm Agent A, a student still studying at University. I've always been interested in colour but bleach always scares me a little.
Everyone tells me about the damage it can cause and the limitations to my hair afterwards; it may turn frizzy and my hair won't be able to perm afterwards. Concerned about hair damage, I've therefore been reluctant to bleach or even colour my hair.
My hair therefore looks like this: boring, straight and black.
But I'm entering my 20s and some part of me is like... If I don't do something to my hair now, then when?
Knowing that I'm not keen to damage my hair, Agent G suggested:
Hey Airthrey, do you want to try the new Wella Illuminage? It's a balayage technique that can create highlights even without bleach! If you want to give it a go, I know who does it really well.
Balayage without bleach? Is it really possible?
I've never coloured my hair before and this new non-bleach balayage seems like a great way to start off my colour journey. So I said yes and made an appointment on a weekday morning at the recommended salon: 99 Percent Hair Studio.
I went to the outlet at Bedok Point.
It was a walk away from the MRT but was still easy to get to and pretty private.
99 Percent Hair Studio itself located at the 3rd floor.
Upon arrival, another stylist Kelly welcomed me before Danson came over.
He's this very friendly and cheery stylist with blonde hair. It looked really nice but for a moment there I was still quite nervous about what's going to happen. Will my hair be as bright as that?
No lah, don't worry! you need to bleach many times to look like this. I heard that you are worried about hair damage so today, I'll design an illuminage that doesn't require you to bleach.
Danson went ahead to explain what illuminage is.
Illuminage is this technique that we work together with other stylists to perfect. It basically uses a combination of haircut and colouring technique to better frame your face. It highlights the best features and conceals those you are less confident about with hair colour alone.
Sounds legit and honestly quite perfect for me since I don't like to put on makeup. Danson then went ahead to show me the colour chart and the kind of colours that can work well for my skin tone.
With everything settled, it was time to begin.
Danson explained that even though I was not bleaching my hair, he suggested the addition of WellaPlex; WellaPlex is a bond builder that creates bonds during the colouring process. This helps to strengthen the hair and reduce the damage.
As mentioned before, the colour used is the Wella Illumina Colour as it reflects the light better to give the translucent effect.
The first thing he does is therefore to weave in the sections for the hair.
At certain sections of the hair, he even used the airtouch balayage method to make the sections look more natural.
Once ready, he started applying the hair colour.
With his swift and practiced hands, Danson was really fast. He managed to apply all the colours in about half an hour.
To lock the colour in, he wrapped the aluminium foil around the sections.
To accelerate the colour processing though, Danson applied mild heat to my hair.
Now, it is time to let the colour works its magic.
Time to remove the foils and wash my hair!
That's not all though.
After the hair wash, Danson suggested adding a treatment to lock in the colour and make my hair look shinier.
I ain't no girl whose gonna say no to pampering so here we go:
Danson applies the Wella Colour Motion Structure Mask and System Professional Colourlock Emulsion and gently lathers my hair with them.
Once ready, I went under the machine for yet another mild heating as the treatment does its wonders.
Once the final hair wash is complete, Danson proceeded to cut my hair.
Can you see the gorgeous highlights on my hair already!!
Danson mentions that the cut is actually the secret weapon in this colouring technique. The cut works together with the colour to frame the face and brings out the best of my features.
Once he was done, Danson proceeded to add some curls to my hair.
I've been looking quite stoned in the morning but seeing the result just brings a smile to my face
Love how the hairstyle really brightened up my face!
It's my first colour but it looks so good, I wondered why I've never tried colouring before.
Loving this transformation!
I've had so many friends commenting on how good my hair looks, it's crazy.
All I can say is that I am really happy with how it turns out. I'm a first-timer to hair colouring yet Danson was so gentle and professional throughout the process that I didn't feel worried at all.
THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT JOB!
I would definitely recommend you to all my friends who want to get their hair coloured.
To thank Agent G for her recommendation, here's my review on Beauty Undercover.
Share your experience with us by leaving a review here.
Otherwise, 99 Percent Hair Studio is offering $50 off your first hair service. Check out their other deals here if you are keen.