What’s the best way to draw attention to great bone structure or a beautiful face? If we go by current trends, the answer isn’t cosmetics or even clothing.
Instead, it’s a simple, one-to-two hour hair salon service that’s popping up in more places than we’ve ever seen before: face framing highlights.
Why Face Framing Highlights?
The eye is naturally drawn to lighter, bolder, and brighter shades; when given the option it will wander to “the light” versus dark. By placing highlights on focal points (like just by the chin, by the eyes, or along the edge of the face), you will instantly draw the eye of others to those areas, too.
This can be used in two main ways: to emphasize or minimize. For example, face framing highlights that are especially bright near the chin do an excellent job of drawing attention to a great jawline. But they also help to draw the eye away from a large or high forehead if you want better balance.
Ultimately, face framing highlights are as unique as you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t borrow a little inspiration from others. Check out these examples and get to know the biggest hair trend of 2020 firsthand!
Burnished Blonde with Plum Lowlights
There’s a common misconception that highlights HAVE to be all blonde. Nothing could be further from the truth!
By varying the shade of the highlight and interspersing it with another richer color (like the plum shown in this example), your stylist can create a look that mimics burnished metal.
By placing the blondest highlights along the sides of the face, she can also create the illusion of elongation – perfect for a round face.
Soft Caramel Balayage with Blonde Highlights
Fair skin and freckles often looks best in soft caramel or copper shades, rather than harsh blacks or platinum blondes. You can see just how much it warms up the skin and draws attention to those gorgeous little pigment flecks in this example!
It all starts with a basic soft and subtle balayage; then, the stylist weaves in blonde highlights at key points around the face. The result is fun and flirty with just a little dash of sunkissed beauty for good measure.
Soft Honey Blonde Highlights for Updo Lovers
Most people think of face framing highlights as something for people who usually wear their hair down. While this is mostly true, it’s also possible to specifically place color where it will frame the face best while the hair is up.
Just ask J-Lo! It may be subtle, but this picture shows she definitely has a few placed along her crown. This creates the illusion of a heart-shaped face, even though her face is typically on the long side. More highlights in her top knot also help!
You’ll also notice she’s wearing a few additional piecey, well-blended highlights down around her ears and temples; these, too, help frame and widen her longer face.
Bright Highlights for Ladies Who Love Bangs
One of the other big trends of the year, curtain bangs, also works spectacularly with face framing highlights. At the risk of playing favorites, here’s another example J-Lo sported a couple of years ago that’s once again making a big comeback.
The stylist weaves honey blonde highlights into the bang itself, then extends them down in a graduated fashion along the temples, stopping near the chin. This works because it widens her face, making her appear softer and prettier.
It’s also super youthful, yet mature enough that it doesn’t appear silly or contrived. Beautiful!
90s-Inspired Face Framing Chunk Highlights
The 90s are back in a BIG way – and we’re seeing that a lot in hair trends. But where the techniques used years ago were super damaging and even a little questionable from time to time, today’s hair tech makes bold, vibrant looks safer and easier, too. You don’t have to decide between “frying your hair” and getting bold highlights or chunks, if that’s something you’re into.
Take the rediscovered rogue streak for example. It might seem simple; two bold, bright highlights run down either side of the face on an otherwise black bob. It’s the perfect choice for people who love both dark and light (or even those who play both sides every now and again).
Bold face framing contrast like this screams, “Look at my face – you’ll fall in love with it, too.” It’s also a confidence statement that tells the world you demand respect, but aren’t afraid to laugh a little and indulge your inner rebel, too.
Bold, Vibrant Face Framing Brights
Hey, here’s a little insider secret: face framing highlights do not need to be blonde. In fact, a lot of people opt to weave in a brighter or bolder shade instead, especially if the highlights are being placed over dark hair.
Need an example? Check out how gorgeous this cherry red looks woven and blended in from the tips of a bob to around her temples! The stylist who created this look also masterfully drew just a few lower-intensity red pieces up to the root. This creates a fiery illusion that’s a big attention-grabber.
Not into cherry red? That’s okay – the main takeaway here is that you can choose virtually any color for face framing highlights and it will still work.
Dimensional Ice Blondes with Face Framing Lights
When hair is a solid color, it can begin to appear flat or even limp regardless of how much volume you have. This is especially true for people with thin hair, people who have experienced hair loss, or anyone who maintains ice blonde, silver, or grey.
The best way to kick it up a notch is to create an all-over balayage that works in a subtle shadow root. This breaks up the hair and kicks that “faux wig” look some people get after a bad bleach to the curb. The stylist can then weave in blonde-white face framing highlights around the temples, cheekbones, lips, and chin, as shown in this example.
Adding more soft midlights and lowlights takes this look into artisan territory. The only caveat is that it does work best on hair that’s shorter than your shoulders – especially long bobs.
Face framing highlights is a unique customized trend to indulge in this year so why not try it? With the right hair stylist, you really can’t go wrong!