If you’re old enough to remember the days where the only two highlighting options were either a cap (the horror!) or foils, we have some great options for you…

Not all highlights are created equal – the technique used can be the difference between monthly or quarterly touch-ups, and warm or cool undertones. While I was getting my own highlights touched up I had a chat with Shelene Shaer of Tanaz Hair about the latest international trends, the best value for money highlights, and what clients keep coming back for when they’re pressed for time.

Barely there balayage

The barely there balayage is a brilliant way to liven (or lighten) up any shade of brunette. Highlights are meticulously hand painted, delicaterly tapering from root and eventually ‘flaring’ towards the ends.

The end result is flowing flame-like patterns of highlighted hair that melts into your natural colour (or the colour your hair is tinted). It generally results in warmer highlight tones, making it great for medium ranges and sunshine blondes.

belchonock – @123rf.com

Upkeep depends on your preference, but the norm is anywhere between 3 – 6 months.

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As you may gather from the name, this technique is a balayage-foil hybrid.
It’s best for very delicate babylights, and a skilled stylists can artfully arrange the highlights in a way to mimic a balayage result.

If you’re wondering why you would choose foilayage over balayage, I don’t blame you. When we switched my highlights to this method I also wasn’t sure. Turns out the highlighting mixture is incubated in foil to minimise warm and gold tones. This is great if you want to move towards cooler tones, which I’ve been aiming for.

iconogenic – @123rf.com

Mimicking natural sun-kissed look – lighter around the edges of your face, and darker the around crown of your head. Shelene has never seen a picture of me as a kid, but my hair looks very close to what it looked like for most of my childhood (give or take a couple of extra highlights here or there).

Because the highlights are expertly positioned to create a frame while still giving a nod to the flow of balayage, they age really well. Again you can expect to touch these highlights up every 3-6 months.

The initial outlay of both these services are more than ‘standard’ highlights, but both are designed to minimise time and money spent at a hair salon in the medium-and long term, as well as being more conscious of the overall environmental impact of luxury services.


If you’re in need of a lower-cost, less-is-more solution, T-panel highlights are it. Highlights are thoughtfully placed around your hairline, sideburns and parting, leaving the majority of hair in its natural state.

This keeps you and your hair looking fresh, and can either be your permanent look, or a temporary solution to buy time if you need to stretch visits.

Haircut advice: Is the big chop a good idea?

Enhancing a tint

If you’re getting your hair professionally coloured and your stylists isn’t adding any depth to it, you’re likely not getting good value for money.

Adding a few strategically placed highlights before tinting (or after, if you want a less subtle effect) adds depth, movement and vibrance. It makes your hair look fuller and – for lack of better phrasing – more ‘done’.