Searching for the perfect blonde is often a stylist’s biggest goal, but it’s about more than the colour. It’s about the maintenance, too. Thankfully, babylights are a perfect option for people who want to try some colour but don’t want to visit the salon for a touchup every 4 weeks.
What are Babylights?
Babylights are delicate, micro-fine highlights. Stylists create them by using a traditional foiling technique. The highlights are very thin in width and create a more natural, sun-kissed look.
Babylights and highlights both use the exact same technique of sectioning out weaves or slices of hair, painting on color, and encapsulating them in tinfoil to achieve lighter colors. So, what’s the difference between the two?
Traditional highlights tend to be thicker and thus create a bolder look. They may add dramatic pops of color or a statement splash of blonde.
Babylights are super fine (a fraction of the size of a normal highlight) and create a more natural, sun-kissed look. Because the sections are so thin, color is easily saturated. You can expect a higher level of lightness versus what your stylist would achieve with regular highlights. With these super fine sections, you can also expect a soft line of demarcation as your color grows out.
What Type of Style are Babylights Best For?
Babylights create a natural look and are a great introduction to color if you are a hair color virgin. If you are looking to make a subtle change, this is a great low maintenance way to add some pizazz to your color with a low level of commitment. Your stylist can add in some babylights around your part and hairline — areas that the sun would naturally hit.
This technique is well suited for platinum blondes who want to stay blonde, but also want to transition to a lower maintenance color. For a platinum blonde, maintenance is typically at 3-4 weeks, especially if your natural color is dark. With babylights you can triple that, with maintenance of 8-10 weeks. But since babylights are woven in with teeny-tiny sections, expect to be in the salon for a longer visit!
If you have finer textured hair, babylights can add texture and give the appearance of thicker hair. Sometimes traditional highlights can look stripy or chunky on fine hair, and actually make the hair appear thinner. Babylights are so delicate that a combination of both lighter and darker tones is a great optical illusion to make fine hair appear thicker.
Are They Only for Blondes?
Not at all! They are also a beautiful way to brighten up or add a little sparkle to darker hair. Sometimes dark colors can have a monochrome, helmet-like effect — especially if you have a lot of hair. Adding babylights will create some softer gradients and give movement to your hair.
If you have red or copper hair, adding a few babylights can add some depth and tonality to your natural color. Those with natural red hair tend to have paler skin. Adding a few babylights around the face is a great way to add brightness and an instant wake-up to your skin tone.
Wanting to embrace your natural greys? For people who no longer want to go for monthly, full-coverage touch-ups, babylights are a great middle ground. Your stylist can weave in a combination of lighter and darker babylights to blend the natural greys at your regrowth area with the artificial color throughout your mid-lengths and ends. This helps blend the new greys growing in with any existing color. You will have a much more diffused regrowth line and a lower-maintenance color. As opposed to touching up your roots every 4-6 weeks, you now will have the freedom to wait more than 8 weeks.
If you already have grey hair but are wanting to break it up, babylights are a nice way to create a more salt-and-pepper effect. In this situation, ask your stylist to add in some soft lowlights. This will break up areas that may feel too stark or silver.
Are There Variations?
Often times, babylights will be incorporated into balayage. Many stylists will apply babylights around the hairline to add optimal lightness, then use the freehand painting balayage technique throughout the rest of the hair. For a balayage touch-up, sometimes only a few babylights around the face and along the part line will be all that are needed.
Are Babylights Right for Me?
If you are looking for a natural looking hair color with low maintenance, then this is the technique for you! Babylights will give the illusion of a day in the sun. Since they are so fine, they will have a soft and graceful grow out. Your color appointments will be longer because of the detailed foil work babylights involve, but expect to have more time between salon visits than with traditional highlights or a root touch-up.
Victoria Carlson is a master stylist who has been in the industry since 2005 and has a true passion and enthusiasm for hair and fashion. She has spent her styling career training and working in top salons in Edmonton, AB and Sydney, Australia, and is currently located at Lavish Beauty Lounge in Regina, SK. Victoria’s specialties include precision cutting, curly hair design, and braidwork. She believes continuing education is of utmost importance and is always expanding her knowledge by taking classes and staying up to date on the latest hair trends. Victoria is Unite Hair’s Regional Educator for Saskatchewan. She loves traveling the province, connecting with other stylists and sharing her passion for the brand.