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Shadow hair, also known as shadow-toning and shadow roots, is the latest hair color trend that we’re totally loving. This low maintenance highlighting technique is ideal for those who love the idea of highlights but want a natural-looking, cost-effective option. Here’s everything you need to know about shadow hair—from how to get this hair color to how to maintain it to the best hairstyles for your newly colored locks.
The shadow hair highlighting technique involves using a hair toner or gloss that matches the color of your roots, applying it to the mid-lengths of your hair to create the illusion of natural highlights. This highlighting technique will not only allow your highlights to appear more natural but it also allows you to go quite a while between touch-ups. This technique is often combined with two other popular highlighting techniques: balayage and babylights.
Editor’s note: Want to learn more about balayage and babylights? Check out our articles, Balayage 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Highlighting Technique and What Are Babylights? How to Do This Popular Highlighting Technique.
Since this highlighting technique involves the strategic placement of both a darker dye and highlights, this hair color is best left to the pros. If you want to be adventurous and attempt shadow hair at home, you'll need a permanent hair dye in a shade that matches your roots and an at-home highlighting kit.
No! You can choose to dye your roots and have your shadow-toning done with a hair color other than your natural hue. Keep in mind, while this will look equally as gorgeous as matching your roots, it will no longer qualify as a low maintenance look. Opting for an unnatural color means you’ll need frequent touch-ups when your roots grow in.
Creating a hair care routine that caters to your color-treated hair is the best way to maintain your color. Try using a sulfate-free line, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo, L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair and Defend Conditioner, and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair Remedy Balm.
Not sure how to wear your newly highlighted ‘do? Below, find three hairstyle ideas that pair perfectly with shadow hair.
Waves are undoubtedly one of the best ways to style shadow hair, as they’ll help emphasize the dimension of your shadows and highlights. The best part is, you don’t need to pick up a single heat tool to get the look! Spray the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray throughout towel-dried hair, braid it, then unravel your braid once its dry. Your mane will be left with natural-looking, loose waves. It’s almost too easy!
A fishtail braid is not only a super cute (and impressive) braid hairstyle, it will also showcase the different shades that make up this highlighted hair color. A little rusty on fishtailing? No problem—read our article, Our Easy Fishtail Braid Tutorial, for a step-by-step tutorial.
Equally as stunning as wavy or curled locks, super sleek, straight hair will highlight (pun intended) the intricacy of the shadow hair highlighting technique and show off how beautifully it blends with your natural hair color.
Editor’s tip: Before letting your straightener near your strands, be sure to use a heat protectant. Try the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray for 450-degree protection and a sleek look that lasts.
Calling all brunettes! Want more hair highlighting advice? Head over to our article, Best Highlights for Brown Hair to Add Movement and Shine.