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Nowadays, it’s all about doing your makeup or coloring your hair in a way that makes it seem like you did nothing at all—even though you spent plenty of time to perfect your look. (Think: no makeup, makeup or sun-kissed highlights.) Basically, these beauty trends are all about enhancing your features without looking overdone—which is something we can all definitely get on board with, right? The latest hair color technique along these lines would have to be palm painting. What looks like perfectly grown-out, sun-kissed highlights from your last summer vacation is actually the product of this brush-free dyeing technique that just might replace balayage as our favorite type of highlight. So, what exactly is palm painting, you might ask? Keep reading to learn about this buzzy hair color trend.
This is one hair color trend that’s best left to the pros. That’s because palm painting is all about getting hands-on—quite literally. When you make an appointment at the salon, you can expect your colorist to apply the dye to your hair with gloved hands to create a fluid look. This technique is similar to balayage hair painting, as it creates sun-kissed highlights sans the use of foils. Plus, since the palm painting technique is completely free hand, it allows your colorist to create a one-of-a-kind look that’s smoother and more blended than typical highlights.
Where foils and balayage allow for patterns and structure, palm painting relies solely on applying color super-softly—that means it’s a lot less likely that you’ll end up with harsh lines of demarcation when your natural color starts growing out. With palm painting, the color is generally applied from your mid-lengths to ends, so as a bonus, root growth isn’t quite as noticeable as it would be with traditional highlights. Meaning: You won’t need to touch up your color all that frequently.
Of course, keep in mind that any time you have your hair highlighted, it’s going to require bleaching if you’re starting with a dark base. And depending on how light you want to go—and how dark your starting color is—you may need to commit to multiple sessions in the salon chair to achieve your desired color. A pro colorist will be able to guide you along in the process and manage your expectations.
Have we convinced you to take the plunge and try the palm painting technique yourself? Once you’ve highlighted your hair, it’s important to care for it properly. For starters, use a system of hair care products that are formulated for color-treated hair, like the L’Oréal Paris Hair Expert Color Vibrancy Intensive Shampoo, L’Oréal Paris Hair Expert Color Vibrancy Intensive Conditioner, and L’Oréal Paris Hair Expert Color Vibrancy Intensive Ultra Recovery Mask.
Then, pair your palm painted highlights with a braid or beachy waves. To rock waves without ever dipping your hair into the ocean, spritz the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray onto towel-dried hair, create a braid, then undo the braid once your hair has dried.
If you’d like to blow-dry your highlighted hair into a smooth style, make sure to use a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Blow Out HeatSpray, before picking up your heat tool. Wait until your hair has almost completely dried before starting to style it so that you can cut back on the amount of time your hair is exposed to the heat—and try using your blow-dryer on the lowest heat setting that you can.
Like we told you earlier, the good news is that the palm painting technique creates subtle-looking sun-kissed highlights that don’t extend to your roots—so that means you won’t have to book it to the salon all the time for touch-ups.
For more hair highlights inspiration, read our article, Best Highlights for Brown Hair to Add Movement and Shine.