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Hair · September 8, 2015

Hair Contouring: The New Color Trend Youve Been Doing All Along

Theres a new contouring trend making the rounds, and if your hair is highlighted, youre probably already doing it. Hair contouring has been popping up everywhere from our Instagram feeds to beauty websites heralding the technique as the next big thing. "Highlighting and shading certain parts of the hair can create the illusion of a different face shape, depending on what you want to accentuate," colorist Nick Penna told Allure recently. "Just like the makeup technique, light shades are for highlighting and darker shades are for creating a shadow effect," he explained.

The color placement will depend on your unique features, but there are a few guidelines for flattering your face shape: On round faces, place highlights around the hairline to elongate, and add darker color underneath the ears to bring the chin to more of a point. To shorten an oblong face, leave the roots darker and lighten the ends. And to play down the angles of a square face, layer multiple tones around the temples and jawline to create softness. Theres even an infographic that shows where your highlights and lowlights should go, based on your facial geometry.

But just like strobing isnt a invention so much as an old techniquehighlightingrenamed and taken to the extreme, hair contouring has existed for as long as people have been coloring their hair. If youve ever gotten foils, balayage, or even ombr, you colorist probably used light and dark tones to frame your face, so congratulations on being a ahead of the curve. New or not, at least this trend is lower maintenance than some of the other cheekbone-chiseling tricks weve seen lately (looking at you, clown contouring).


Wendy Rodewald-Sulz

Recovering gel manicure addict, amateur Spotify DJ, expert roller skater.