So, you have a guest with super short hair and they ask for highlights. This can be a scary task for us hairstylists, so check out this how to for fail safe highlights on short hair. 

This look is something we want to achieve a natural lightness, kind of like a sun-kissed effect with our blonde pieces through the hair, gradually getting lighter towards the face, as this is the area of the hair that catches the light the most. Check out the video link below for a tutorial on how to highlight short hair. 

Use a balayage technique and a good blonde lightener. 

We're using Paul Mitchell skylights and 40vol to achieve a controlled optimum lightness, we mix the hair lightener nice and thick like a toothpaste consistency. 

We are using the same highlighting technique as you do with your usual balayage, except we are shrinking the technique down smaller. We are using a big paddle, and out timing to give more dimension to this look. 


Utilize your tools. 

Start around the face and load product on to the balayage paddle. Keep product on one side of the paddle and utilize your tools like you do with classic balayage techniques. 

Work backwards, visualize how you want the lightness to look overall, Brian is working by creating heavier lightness around the face. Initially Brian is working with the front quadrant that falls onto the face. 


Highlight the hair being aware of timing. 

There are three stages to this highlighting technique for short hair. First our front longer quadrant, second our lengths and third a more overall lightener. 

This first stage is processed for ten minutes and re-applied for a thicker saturation. Then we work backwards looking through the lengths of the hair to lift areas that naturally would highlight in the sun. Then over the back Brian breaks into the base to create a lightness that marries the 2nd stage with the base color. 


Highlight the lengths of the short hair 

After you have heavily saturated your front quadrant, work on the lengths in the back wanting to hit them first. 

Brian is not focused on hitting the root area and just lifting up the ends. He is mindful of the direction of the brush strokes to give a more natural blend. He paints his highlights with the brush strokes on a vertical angle instead of a horizontal manner. This avoids creating hard lines in the lightening effect. 


Use the tip of your highlighting brush to find loose hair. 

Brian uses the corner of his brush to 'pick up' longer hairs. This helps him with control rather than getting his hands covered in product. 

Brian didn’t work all the way into the back at this stage. He wanted to leave the space for a slower process in the back. This is to blend the color better going from the darker base through to the lightness in the top and the super blonde around the face. 


Create surface highlights in the back. 

After the hair has processed for 10 minutes, work in the back area. We don’t want a heavy saturation; this will dictate less lift. 

After it is all applied you can leave it to lift. Brian likes to break it all apart and re-apply color. This is to find out any parts that have been missed off when coloring. Pull everything apart with the brush and re-paint areas that have been missed. 


Check out the image of the finished result. 

The look has an overall blend from dark to light. It creates a nice natural blend of color. 


June 15, 2021 — evelyn davies

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