Hair Color | Hair Color Trends

The New Color Technique: Strandlights

Bored of your hair color, but don’t want to do anything too drastic? Strandlights, invented by Texas-based hairdresser Liz Haven O’Neill, are the answer! A lot subtler than its cousin, blonde balayage, strandlights involve separating and dyeing a few strands of hair at once, meaning that the result is more understated as well as reminiscent of the way the sun lightens your hair during the summer. Strandlights work together with your natural hair color to give your tresses that extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ without changing too much. While traditional highlights are chunky, strandlights are the exact opposite, and are perfect for a subtle change.

How is the look achieved?


When it comes to strandlights, diagonal partings actually work better than horizontal or vertical partings as dyeing the hair this way produces a more natural-looking result. Just like with highlights, foils are used to separate sections. It’s best to take strands from around the hairline if you want strandlights covering the whole length of your hair. Alternatively, you can start mid-way down (like with ombre hair); this effect looks just as amazing and eye-catching. Thin sections are chosen to be highlighted and placed on a foil, then the next section of strands are placed on a different foil using a slightly different color dye. These multicolored strands lighten your entire head and result in a collection of perfectly blended colors.

Who can pull off strandlights?

The great thing about this new color technique is that anyone can pull it off! Strandlights suit any length of hair, although they do stand out more on medium-length to long hair. Due to the natural finish, strandlights suit all hair types and colors. Despite the most popular shade being blonde, brunette and darker hair types can also take advantage of this new type of highlighting. If you want a subtle change, this is a perfect way to discreetly alter your color and lift the overall look of your hair. Another great advantage of strandlights is that you don’t get the telltale stripes that you sometimes have with highlights. Also, as your hair grows, there will be no horizontal grow out so you don’t need to visit the salon as often; every three to four months is recommended. This technique is very low maintenance and fits perfectly into busy lifestyles.

The magic of strandlights

Strandlights can work on their own or also in collaboration with other hair coloring techniques:


  • Ombré hair or blonde balayage: if you have ombré or balayage hair, you can use strandlights to detail them and make the techniques stand out even more.
  • Highlights: they can be used for touching up hair highlights if your roots are coming through and you would prefer something subtler to hide them rather than getting highlights again.
  • Gray hair: strandlights are a great way to sneakily hide those pesky grays without having to dye your hair completely. The different colored dyes blend in with the grays and utilize their natural pigment, making them a whole lot less noticeable.

How to care for strandlighted hair

If you’ve opted for strandlights, there are a few things you can do to make sure they look fresh for as long as possible. It’s essential that your hair is in good condition, so before taking the plunge, it could be worthwhile trying out a hair mask such as the Gliss® Anti-Damage Mask. which restores your hair by replacing lost keratin and makes it easy to comb.

It may make sense to switch from your usual shampoo and conditioner to Gliss® Color Guard® shampoo and conditioner, which locks in the color for as long as possible. The anti-fading properties protect your color for up to 12 weeks.

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