What is Brazilian Illuminage? The new balayage hair technique to ask for this summer

Nowadays if you want blonder hair, there are seemingly endless different highlighting techniques to ask your hairdresser for. And if you’re after the perfect face-framing colour this summer, we’ve got the latest hair trend to have on your radar: "Brazilian Illuminage".

A form of balayage – a method in which highlights are hand-painted or “swept” on to sections of hair – Brazilian Illuminage differs slightly from the traditional technique in that more hair is lightened, giving more contrast between light and dark shades throughout the hair. It’s also all about contouring with lighter pieces around the face, creating a flattering “illuminated” halo effect.

The Brazilian Illuminage technique is suitable for a range of hair colours, from light blonde to mid-brown, who want a natural, lighter look with plenty of depth and contrast.

Wella Professionals global ambassador Romeu Felipe explains that the effect is created in three stages. Firstly, the hair is lightened using a freehand, “feathered” balayage technique, focusing especially on the hair around the perimeter of the face. Ask your colourist to follow it with WellaPlex No. 2 at the back-basin, or a similar bond-strengthening treatment.

Next, a root shadow is created, using a toner to seamlessly blend your natural darker roots into the highlighted sections. This will ensure your colour grows out in a very natural-looking way, too.

Finally, the blonde mid-lengths and ends are toned, creating the desired amount of warmth or coolness.

Ever in search of the perfect blonde, OK! beauty editor Laura Mulley heads to the hairdressers to try out this new technique…

Laura says:

“I used to be a regular full-head-of-highlights girl, but over the last couple of years I’ve learned to embrace my natural root colour more. I now love a bit of contrast between my darker roots and lighter ends, and find that this ensures the colour grows out really nicely. I like going a bit lighter for summer, especially around my face, and all that I ask is that the blonde is more cool-toned than the warm tinge it naturally wants to settle on.

“Melissa at Melissa Timperley salon in Manchester used a combination of freehand and traditional highlighting comb techniques on me to add plenty of lighter pieces exactly where they were needed, focusing around my face. Unlike typical balayage methods, she used foils to ensure my naturally warm-toned hair lifted cleanly and brightly. She then applied a couple of different toners to blend my roots and create the desired shade of blonde.

I absolutely love the finished result. My hair looks bright and fresh around my face, which lifts my complexion, and there’s enough of my natural hair colour showing to give a very natural, multi-dimensional look. Any trace of brassiness has been well and truly banished, too.

“Melissa recommended I keep it up by booking in for a toner every two months, and a colour top-up every four months, and I’m happy to say 'olá' to Brazilian Illuminage all summer.”

To find your nearest Wella Professionals salon click here.

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