How to frost hair

There are different techniques a hair specialist can use while dyeing your hair. The method used depends on the results you want from a coloring session. If you’re going to change your hair color completely, it’s pretty straightforward.

Conversely, if you want only some parts of your hair dyed, a stylist can either use frosting or highlighting techniques. While frosting and highlighting are both hair-dyeing methods, they’re not the same.

Many people mistake frosting and highlighting as the same because they have similar applications. But, the results show a clear difference between frosted hair and highlights.

In this guide, we’ll discuss frosting and highlighting while showing you the differences between the two hair-dyeing techniques. It’s important to compare hair frosting vs highlighting, so you don’t walk into the salon misled. Let’s get right into it!

Frosted Hair: What is Frosting?

How to frost hair

Usually, frosting is a word you can relate to icy temperatures. But in the case of hair coloring, frosting has nothing to do with cold temperatures.

Your hairstylist will color your hair strands individually during hair frosting, leaving the adjacent hair strands in their natural state. Once a strand has color, the next strand won’t have that tint.

During frosting, you’re not exactly losing your hair color to the new tint you’re introducing. Instead, your natural hair color will blend in perfectly with the new tint. It’s a combination that makes for a cold-like, beautiful look — hence the name, frosting. The cold-like look is a major difference between frosted hair and highlighted hair.

During hair frosting, it’s best to choose a shade darker or lighter than your hair color. For instance, if your natural hair color is black, you can frost your hair with a light brown color.

Since you’re not completely losing your hair’s natural color, you can frost all of your hair. With the frosting method, both the light brown color and the dark color of your hair will combine exceptionally.

After frosting, you won’t have a hair color change that will announce itself to the world. Instead, the new hair tint and your natural hair color will blend to give a unique overall appearance.

How to Frost Your Hair

How to frost hair

Although contacting a pro is better, you can try frosting your hair by yourself using the plastic cap method.

  • Start by wearing a specially designed plastic cap with holes. These holes will be adequately sized to fit your hair strands.
  • One by one, pull out the hair strands you’re looking to dye via the holes in the plastic cap.
  • While pulling out the hair strands, take care not to pull out sections close to each other. If a particular strand is getting a tint job, the one next to it should remain untouched. That’s the best way to get the frosting look.
  • Mix the hair dye product while following the instructions on the packaging. strands outside the plastic bag. after the recommended wait period.

What are Hair Highlights?

How to frost hair

In the frosted hair vs. highlights debate, the latter offers more distinct results. The highlighting technique of hair coloring makes the new hair color distinct.

If you’re going for highlights, the hairstylist will apply dye to larger portions of your hair. The main idea is to change the color of enough hair strands to make a noticeable difference. By doing so, the part of your hair with a different color calls the attention of others without effort.

The main difference between frosted hair and highlights is the noticeable hair color change the latter offers. You can use hair highlights to draw attention to a particular section of your hair. Many people prefer to highlight the front parts of their hair.

For the best results, you should choose a very light color for your hair highlights appointment. For instance, if you have dark natural hair, it’s better to highlight your hair with a light brown shade. That way, when your hairstylist finishes the job, you can spot the change.

Highlighting your hair doesn’t change your hair color completely. However, it steals the attention your natural hair color used to get.

The amount of hair you choose to highlight depends on the type of style you desire. We find it’s best to start with a small portion of your hair if you aren’t sure how hair highlights will look on you. When you’re confident of the results, you can highlight a larger section of your hair.

How to Highlight Your Hair

How to frost hair

The process of highlighting your hair isn’t too different from frosting your hair. The major difference between frosted hair vs. highlights is that you’ll be working on larger sections of your hair.

  • Decide on the sections of your hair you’re going to highlight.
  • Separate the sections you’re looking to dye from the rest of your hair.
  • Cover the rest of your hair with a plastic bag so it remains untouched.
  • Dye the target sections, following the instructions on the packaging.
  • Rinse the hair dye.

Frosted Hair Vs. Highlighting

How to frost hair

When you compare the process of doing frosted hair vs. highlights, you’ll find more similarities than differences. But when the hairstylist finishes their job, it becomes easier to tell the distinct properties of frosted hair and highlights alike.

Some of the key differences in the results of hair frosting and highlighting include:

  • Frosted hair offers a cool and calm look, while highlights give you a pronounced look.
  • The process for frosting your hair deals with strands of your hair while highlighting deals with large sections of your hair.
  • Frosted hair has an almost unnoticeable color difference. Highlights, on the other hand, will give you a distinct hard-to-miss look.

Final Thoughts

You’ll mostly notice the difference between frosted hair and highlighted hair in the final results. The result of frosted hair is a cool look, while that of highlighted hair is a more pronounced look.

Whichever one you want to try, it’s better to speak to an expert for advice. Also, instead of trying to frost or highlight your hair yourself, you may want to contact a hairstylist. That way, you can save yourself from mistakes during the hair coloring procedure.

How to frost hair

Have you been searching for a new look in terms of coloring your hair? Do you not want to add color to all your strands, frosting and highlighting and looking for more options. The technique you choose depends on how defined or natural you want the color to be. There are also complimenting treatments that you can add to your new style so that the color enhances your hair and skin tone. Here are a few frosting hair color ideas and types of hair highlights to consider before making your appointment with a professional stylist.

What Is Frosting?

Frosting the hair gives it a salt and pepper look, which makes the color blend with your hair seamlessly. During the frosting process, some of your strands are bleached. Many of the strands next to the treated hair are left untouched. This combines your natural hair color with the frosted color, which helps to lift the overall color of your coif. Your stylist may separate your hair in small groups of strands and apply the frosting color to the strands that are lifted from the rest of the hair using a plastic cap with lots of small holes. The hair that will be frosted is pulled through the holes, so the color can be applied to the right places. Or, your stylist may use the tin foil method, where the separated hair is placed in foil so that the color can be applied precisely. You can also opt for frosted hair tips. This is when the color is applied near the end of your strands to add a subtle color contrast. This is especially pronounced when you style your hair with lots of curls or volume.

What Is Highlighting?

Highlighting involves larger sections of hair. These sections are separated from larger portions of the hair and color. Color is applied to add more dimension to the hair. Highlights tend to be chunkier than frosted hair pieces and are much more defined, This is why some people choose to get highlights in the front of their hair; people often request the frosting method for all parts of the hair.

Streaking and Lowlights

If you decide to add color to your hair, your stylist may also talk to you about lowlights or streaking. Lowlights are often added to your highlights to keep the color from appearing too stark. This is especially true if your highlights are significantly lighter than your natural hair color. Lowlights can also be used to deepen the hue of your natural hair. Streaking is a more defined form of highlighting. Color is applied to a section of the hair in a bold stripe and doesn’t have to coordinate with your natural hair hue. Such as (i.e. pink or purple streaks in brown or blonde hair).

Consult with your stylist to find the hair coloring techniques that will work best for you based on the color of your hair. The overall look you’re going for, and the coloring effect you want to achieve need to be considered.

If you are located in the tri-state area, give Blu Salon a call. We are located in Edgewater, NJ right on the Hudson River. Our color hair stylists are extremely knowledgeable and professional in both frosting and highlighting. We can help you make the right decision as to what you want and what will be best for you. We take extreme care and pride in all of our clients. When you leave our salon looking fabulous and feeling great, we are happy. Contact us to schedule your appointment. You will be very happy you did.

How to frost hair

Yes, most salons are back open again, but if you’re not quite comfortable with the idea of going back in just yet, you may want to try touching up your color at home. While proper root coverage or basic at-home hair color isn’t easy, it’s a bit of a walk in the park when compared to highlighting your own hair. The pros will all tell you to try and wait it until you can get back to them—but desperate times call for desperate measures.

That said, we spoke to expert colorists to get their best tips and tricks for how to do your own highlights at home. One more quick tip, though—you may want to reach out to your local salon, or the colorist you go to. Most have gotten accustomed to using FaceTime or Zoom and can give you a personal consultation or even walk you through the process. Some are even offering custom color kits that you can pick up curbside instead of playing a guessing game at the drugstore. It’s a win-win—you get to support your favorite stylist and you get to make sure you don’t hate your hair more after you add highlights than you did before.

Here’s what you need to know before getting started:

1. Choose a kit made for highlights.

No matter what kind of at-home highlighting kit you select, it will always include a lightener—not your standard hair dye. “All-over color kits won’t lift, lighten, or remove other permanent color, so if the hair is pigmented, “highlighting” with all over dye won’t work,” explains Shvonne Perkins, Manager of Training and Education at Madison Reed. Also, the creamy consistency of all over dye is not the same as the thicker lightener used for highlights. All-over color can also move through the sections, transferring the color to areas you didn’t want it to go—resulting in a blotchy finish.

When deciding on which shade to go with, “choose a kit that’s labeled for your starting point rather than your desired highlight color,” says Kyle White, a colorist at Oscar Blandi in New York City. If you grab a box that says “caramel highlights,” it will look totally different on someone with a brown base versus someone with red strands. So look for highlight kits that say things like “for brown hair” instead.

Bridgette Hill, a colorist and trichologist in NYC, suggests keeping your expectation to “natural highlighted tones” when doing at home highlights to keep hair at its healthiest. “Most at home highlighting kits don’t offer lightening agents that have the controlled power to achieve the lighter tones,” says Hill. “So I don’t recommend going more than two shades lighter than your natural hair color otherwise you could end up with brassy, unflattering orange colored highlights.”

How to frost hair

Balayage, shadow root, melt, tone, gloss, glaze… There are many different techniques out there with many different names. We as hairstylists are always working through the creative process to come up with new and different ways to color the hair. With all of the trends from the 90’s coming back, it should be no surprise to you that the term “frosted” is coming back with them.

Don’t worry, we aren’t bringing back Justin Timberlake’s frosted tips (I know that’s what you all were thinking). If we aren’t talking about frosted tips, then what are we talking about? Let’s get down to it.

What Does the Term Frosted Hair Mean?

Frosted hair is the up and coming trend of 2022 and is a great way to accentuate your natural hair color. It is a little bit softer than balayage and is applied from the root area all the way to the ends. I would describe it as sweet and subtle. Specific areas of the hair are lightened delicately, creating a soft, sunkissed look.

How to frost hair

It is a great technique for someone who is new to coloring their hair. Think super subtle face framing highlights. This technique will grow out super natural allowing for low maintenance. A guest who is receiving a frosted look will typically return for a “frosting” appointment about every 6 months.

Here is an example of just how natural frosted hair can look like. There are very fine natural highlights accentuating her features.

How to frost hair

It is possible to create the frosted look with gray coverage clients as well. This what has been done for this charming lady.

How to frost hair

How is Frosting Different from Balayage?

I would say frosting is a different form of balayage. With balayage, we tend to see bold ribbons of dimension created throughout the hair. While balayage started out as a super subtle highlighting trend, it now tends to show a bolder look, while giving a low maintenance style, as it allows for more time in between appointment visits. A guest who is receiving a balayage service will typically return for another balayage appointment about every 3-5 months.

Here is an example of a balayaged look. There is a soft grown-out root with a bold face frame. Ribbons of dimension are placed throughout the hair for a natural but brighter look.

How to frost hair

Another example is of a frosted look featuring a very subtle dimension throughout the hair for a low commitment color.

How to frost hair

Here is a frosted look compared to a balayage look side by side. On the left there are some pieces framing her face, but they are very subtle. On the right you can see that there is a much bolder look around the face and hairline.

How to frost hair

And below, there is a before and after. Very subtle highlights were added into her hair to create sunkissed dimension and soft face framing. A great example of what a frosted brown hair look can be.

How to frost hair

How Is Frosting Different from Traditional Highlighting?

A traditional highlighting technique is done when a guest wants a high maintenance look. This means that the blonde goes right to the root area. There can still be contrast and dimension left throughout the hair or enhanced with the help of lowlights, but the light pieces will go all the way to the root. Most traditional highlights tend to be bold and bright. A guest who books for a traditional highlight will typically be back in the salon for a lightening service about every 6-8 weeks.

The photo below is the perfect example of traditional highlights. Here you will see that this is a very light and higher maintenance blonde. The highlights go up to her root area and you can visibly see the dimension in her hair.

How to frost hair

How Do We Create the Frosted Look?

Frosting is delicately applied to specific strands of the hair. It is applied from regrowth to ends. The goal is to create a salt and pepper effect in the hair. Think sprinkled in highlights on very small strands of hair. Smaller hair sections allow for cooler tones to be created in the hair. Placement is also important. The stylist should be considering different factors. It is important to note where your guest parts their hair and if they tend to put it up often.

Traditional lightener or clay lightener can be used to create this look. The type of lightener depends on the hair type being worked on and stylist preference. The result is an extremely soft multidimensional look with very low maintenance. Low maintenance means low commitment.

How to frost hair

A mix of techniques can be executed to create similar looks. The softness around her face is the goal idea of frosting the hair.

How Do I Ask for this Technique?

I always say photos are important. Having a visual aid makes it so much easier to communicate what exactly you want. Sharing an article that describes the technique (like this one) will also help with communicating this to your hairstylist. Our version of a tone or a style and your version may be completely different, which is why I love seeing inspiration photos.

Will this Technique Work on Anyone?

Yes! Hair frosting can be customized to each guest. Curly, straight, wavy, textured, you name it- we can frost it! So you need to decide for yourself what level you want to brighten your hair to.

Again, a bolder face-framing look like the one on the left is balayage, and will require more frequent visits and using a toning shampoo to maintain blonde brass free. On the right, you will see frosting, which gives a much softer framing look and is easier to maintain.

How to frost hair

If you are someone who has never colored their locks before or are looking for a soft and subtle look, frosting is definitely something to consider. It is the perfect thing for the guest who wants that subtle glow. I would love to connect with all of you, follow me on Instagram @brittanysblondebeauties for more tips and tricks on the latest hair trends.

If you’ve always been hesitant to even consider trying frosted hair because it’s a little too 90’s-reminiscent for you, you’re not alone. Not all 90’s trends can or should be revived, but today we’re making a case for frosted hair. There are a range of options available for choosing if you’ve decided to say ‘yes’ to getting on board with reviving this icy blonde trend.

Each of these styles requires different levels of commitment, intensity and transformation. Some options are more subtle while others will quickly take you from 0 to 60. Have we convinced you to get in on this trend revival? Read on for inspiration:

10 Trending Frosted Hair Looks

1. Thick Bleached Highlights

Lighten up to a bleach blonde color for a classic frosted look. Photo credit: Arianna Sharfman

Take it straight back to the original way this look was worn with thick bleached highlights. Maintain your dark brown color on the bottom layers of your hair for a high contrast impact.

2. Super Thin Highlights

A more subtle way to wear this look. Photo credit: Roisin Murphy

If you’re not quite ready to go all out, then consider a more subtle way to wear this look. These subtle highlights help you nail this trend in a lower impact way.

3. Thin Streaks

How to frost hair

Understated and chic. Photo credit: Arianna Sharfman

If the previous look is still a little too much for you, then consider taking an even softer approach by evenly scattering a few subtle highlights throughout your hair.

Suave Dry Texture Finishing Spray

Combine this understated look by using your curling iron to create beautiful curls and hold them in place with a few sprays of Suave Dry Texture Finishing Spray.

4. Just in the Front

How to frost hair

Keep the highlights up by your face. Photo credit: @angeliica

Brighten up your face and your hair by adding a few strategic highlights just to the front of your hair.

5. Frosted Bangs

How to frost hair

Make frosted hair work with any style.

If you’re not planning on growing out your bangs anytime soon and you’re not sure how to make frosted hair work with your style, then use this photo as inspiration. Carry the highlights over into your feathered fringe for a soft and easy look.

6. High Contrast

Mix brunette and bleach blonde for a high contrast look. Photo credit: Roisin Murphy

Go all out and really get into this trend by asking your stylist for high contrast style.

Though we’re not far into 2022, salon experts have been busy predicting (and cementing) the haircut, color, and styling trends that are going to take the year by storm.

For color services, there’s ‘French glossing,’ a modern take on the ombré look, which promises to transform dull, dry hair. We’ve also seen a trend towards ‘expensive brunette,’ with many people embracing the roots that grew out over the past two years. But one LA-inspired hair color movement is slowly trickling down into top salons — and it’s set to take over from one of the most-requested color appointments, balayage.

Enter: hair frosting.

What is the hair frosting color trend?

Dreamed up by Stuart Marsh, award-winning color director at Taylor Taylor London, hair frosting is not to be confused with frosted tips reminiscent of ’90s boy bands. The buzzy blonde technique consists of bleaching individual strands of hair a cool shade of blonde from root to tip, while leaving the adjacent, darker strands untouched. This intricate technique creates a multifaceted finish that juxtaposes light and dark hairs, which, the salon says, lends a ‘salt and pepper’ effect. The lightened strands fall, very delicately, among the darker hairs, resembling how frost settles atop trees — hence the phrase ‘hair frosting’.

So who’s the inspiration behind hair frosting? There are quite a few people, actually. Hailey Bieber’s recent sun-kissed hair (created by hairstylist Bryce Scarlett) is a perfect example. Mostly brunette, the wafer-thin, bleached strands that sit at the front of her face impart a contouring effect — think of the technique as a modern-day alternative to using Sun-In hair lightener. “If bleached strands are concentrated at the front of the head, they frame the face and create contrast,” explains Stuart.

Halle Berry is another celebrity championing hair frosting lately, with multiple blonde strands scattered throughout her brunette. Courtesy of colorist Tracey Cunningham, the trend creates a glow to her hair. Then there’s Sofia Richie, Suki Waterhouse and Sarah Paulson, all of whom are firmly on the hair frosting bandwagon this year.

How does hair frosting differ from traditional highlights or balayage?

Balayage is arguably the biggest hair color movement of the past decade. But there’s a big difference between balayage painting and hair frosting. Stuart explains: “While balayage, foil highlights, and hair frosting are all types of hair lightening techniques that don’t involve coloring every single strand of hair with the same color, frosting gives a more muted, subtle effect.”

Balayage means ‘sweep’, so hair is lightened in larger sections. Stuart adds: “Frosting typically uses small, cool-blonde tones to contrast the darker base color [rather than the warmer, buttery tones that tend to be used when creating balayage]. It’s easy to maintain, as it’s designed to blend into your natural hair color.” Stuart says that hair frosting creates a really soft, multidimensional look. “The results can create full layers of color with a detailed finish that never appears ‘overdone’.” He adds: “It’s the best result for clients who want an easy, manageable color without high commitment.”

Does hair frosting work on all hair types and textures?

Hair frosting is bespoke, too, depending on where your hair falls naturally or which style you prefer to wear it in. Center parting? Cool blonde face framers will amplify your hair color and accentuate your face. It’s also perfect for all hair types and textures, provided you nail your aftercare routine. “The technique can be used on hair of any texture, including curly and coily hair,” says Stuart. “If your hair is curly, in the days before your salon appointment, just make sure you clarify and condition the hair, as this will help retain moisture and keep it healthy after lightening.”

Bleached hair is prone to becoming dry and brittle. “In the first three weeks after bleaching, try to wash your hair less often so that you don’t strip the lengths of their natural oils,” says Stuart. “Avoid heat styling and keep your strands hydrated with a deep conditioner. R29 also loves Amika’s The Kure Intense Bond Repair Mask, Olaplex No 3, and BLEACH London’s Reincarnation Mask, for reversing damage and breathing life into weakened, bleached hair.

How do you explain hair frosting to a colorist?

All colorists would recommend collecting some pictures of similar styles for inspiration ahead of your consultation and appointment. But here’s exactly what to ask for, according to Stuart: “If you want to try hair frosting, ask your stylist to add ‘cool tones’ that contrast your darker base color and explain that you would like a more muted effect than traditional foil highlights.” The latter may appear chunkier and disconnected from the darker pieces of hair. Hair frosting is all about achieving a dainty softness — and it’s going to be everywhere this year.

This story was originally published on Refinery29 UK.

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How to frost hair

Skip the salon and create custom highlights at home using our all-in-one highlighting kit! Create more precise blonde looks with the help of our easy-to-use LightZones Cap and Hook. This highlighting kit is formulated with Bond Restore Complex , an anti-breakage technology that causes less damage after achieving subtle or dramatic highlights. Finish your custom highlights hair journey with our violet-pigmented conditioner to banish brassy blonde tones. Choose the ammonia & paraben free shade to complement your hair color: Honey for light brown to dark brown hair and Blonde for blonde to light-brown hair.

  • Create salon-worthy, customizable highlights at home with this all-in-one highlighting kit
  • LightZones Cap & Hook helps create precise highlights
  • Formulated with Bond Restore Complex , an anti-breakage technology that causes less hair damage after achieving subtle or dramatic highlights
  • Ammonia-free and paraben-free permanent hair lightener formula
More Information

Product Name Revlon Color Effects Frost And Glow Hair Color, Honey
Sub Brand Color Effects Frost & Glow
Package Count 1
Container Type box
Color Specs Tab Honey
Country of Manufacture Mexico
Ingredient Preference Paraben Free
Prop 65 No

Please follow the box instructions closely, but here are a few important points you might want to know right now about this at-home hair bleach kit which includes everything you need. Our hair experts advise not washing your hair right before you color it. Apply the Color Effects Frost & Glow formula when your hair is clean and dry. Put on the cap provided. Pull hair strands through where youd like highlights. Slip on the gloves provided and apply the formula to the hair that has been pulled through the cap. Put on the provided Over Cap over the hair. Check your hair every 5-10 minutes until youve reached your desired highlight color. Do not exceed 60 minutes. Once your desired lightness is reached, rinse hair, shampoo, and apply violet conditioner for anti-brass results.

Highlighting Powder Ingredients/Ingrédients De La Poudre De Reflets:Potassium Persulfate. Sodium Stearate. Sodium Metasilicate: Sodium Chloride. Sodium Silicate. Hydroxyethylcellulose. Ethylhexyl Pelargonate. Hydrated Silica. Sodium Persulfate. Sucrose Silica. Edta. Aqua/Water/Eau.Parfum (Fragrance). Cellulose-Sodium Acetate Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Sodium Sulfate. Amyl Cinnamal.Benzyl Benzoate: Citronellol.Hexyl Cinnamal.Limonene.Ultramarines (Ci 77007). Bo1253 Cream Developer Ingredients / Ingrédients De La Crme Révélatrice: Aqua/Water/Eau.Hydrogen Peroxide. Cetearyl Alcohol.Ceteareth-23. Ceteareth-60. Cetyl Alcohol.Pentasodium Pentetate. Phosphoric Acid. Sodium Hydroxide Sodium Stannate. Sodium Benzoate. Bo1250 Moisturizing Violet Shampoo Ingredients / Ingrédients Du Shampooing Violet Hydratant:Aqua/Water/Eau. Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Sodium Lauryl Sulfatecocamide Mea.Cocamidopropyl Betaine Butylene Glycol. Citric Acid. Coconut Acid. Ethanolamine. Glycerin.Keratin Amino Acids. Panthenol.Ppg-28-Buteth-35. Propylene Glycol. Sodium Chloride Tetrasodium Edta. Parfum (Fragrance) Amyl Cinnamal. Benzyl Benzoate: Citronellol Hexyl Cinnamal Limonene Benzyl Alcohol Phenoxyethanol. Ext. Violet 2 (Ci 60730). Bo1255 Anti-Brass Conditioner Ingredients / Ingrédients Du Revitalisant Anti-Jaunissement:Aqua/Water/Eau.Cetearyl Alcohol. Glycerin. Behentrimonium Chloride. Dimethicone Butylene GlycolCitric Acid. Dimethiconolisopropyl Alcohol.Keratin Amino Acids.Parfum (Fragrance). Amyl Cinnamal Benzyl Benzoate Citronellol.Hexyl Cinnamal.Limonene. Benzyl Alcohol.Phenoxyethanol.Basic Violet 2. Hc Blue No. 16. Bo1251

Do not use this product at all if: You have sensitive, irritated or damaged scalp. In this case, consult a doctor before using any haircolor product. Avoid contact with eyes. Rinse immediately if product comes into contact with them. Do not use on eyelashes or eyebrows. Rinse hair well after application. Wear suitable gloves. Keep out of reach of children. This product is not intended to be used on children. Enclosed insert contains important health and safety information. Read accompanying directions prior to use. This product contains persulfates and other ingredients that may cause serious irritation, respiratory and/or allergic reaction. Prepare and use in a well-ventilated area. This product must not be used for bleaching eyelashes or eyebrows – to do so may cause blindness.

How to frost hair

Balayage, who? Hair frosting is swooping in as one of the go-to 2022 hair trends, and you’ll be anxious to accentuate your color with this new method.

As seen on the likes of Hailey Beiber and Suki Waterhouse, the frosting technique is a gentler approach to balayage and is applied from the root to the tip of your strands. It’s meant to contrast your hair’s hues and provide a natural differentiation between locks.

Considering Gregory Patterson, celebrity stylist and DIY expert for Sally Beauty (opens in new tab) , believes that warm colors are all the rage right now, it’s no surprise that frosting is beginning to gain traction. If you’re toying with the idea of trying something new, here’s what you need to know.

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  • 10 golden rules fordyeing your hair at home, according to the pros? A complete guide for all lengths and types

What is hair frosting?

Don’t let the term fool you—frosting is a sweet and subtle look.

“Frosting is another technique used to lighten areas of the hair, but unlike balayage—which incidentally means to ‘sweep’, and where color is painted on the hair in a sweeping motion, frosting involves a more delicate application,” says hairstylist Neil Moodie. “Wafer-thin sections of hair are lightened and this results in a cooler blonde, as opposed to a warmer blonde.”

It’s a great consideration for those who are new to dyeing their hair, according to some experts.

“Add a little pop of color to your already natural color,” Kristina Dimoplon, stylist at Live By the Sword Salon in Brooklyn, New York, says of the trend. “It’s more of a face framing technique, so it’s still highlights, but a more muted effect.”

Hair frosting on celebs

Raise your hand if you’re swooning over these strands! We’re totally guilty. While they’re subtle, they’re just loud enough to make a statement—a seemingly perfect balance.

Hair frosting is not to be confused with one of the latest TikTok beauty hacks—adding actual frosting and food coloring to your ‘do. Let’s add that to the list of wonky viral trends right behind applying lube as base makeup. Save the real frosting for the cupcakes, folks.

How to frost hair

Highlighting the hair is probably the most commonly used coloring method for adding some visual interest and enhancing the look of the hair without completely changing the hair’s color. This may be traditional highlighting. That is where a color that is one or two shades lighter than the natural base color are applied to add some brightness in the overall look of the hair.

It could be low-lighting, where a color that is a shade or two darker is applied to add depth to the color of the hair. Finally, this technique may even involve accenting the hair with a different color altogether.

Whatever the desired goal, the methods of highlighting application vary from the very basic to very advanced. Today, we will discuss the easiest method for the application of highlights to the hair: the cap method.

The “cap method” refers to the use of a plastic cap (frosting cap or tipping cap) that fits snugly over the skull. Thin locks of hair are then pulled through the cap using points that are marked on the cap. The number of “holes” used determines the amount of highlighting that takes place.

The hair is pulled through the cap using a long slim tool with a small hooked end. The tool resembles a thin crochet needle, and in fact, a crochet needle can be used in many cases. The needles come in many sizes, allowing for finer control of the amount of hair that is gathered and pulled through the cap.

The caps are usually marked with patterns to help individuals space the highlighting evenly over the scalp. This helps to avoid unbalanced results in the finished look. These patterns may be color-coded, and a cap may have a variety of numbers of holes, depending on the kind of highlighting effect that is desired.

The success of traditional cap highlighting has led to adjustments in the cap design to allow for different effects to be created. The most readily notable variant of the highlighting cap is called a “streaking” cap, which allows for larger, bolder streaks of color to be applied to the hair. Naturally, this involves using a large tool to gather and pull the hair through the streaking cap.

How to Get Your Best Results

In spite of the fact that the highlighting cap is the easiest method of applying highlights to the hair, there are still ways in which the process can be poorly performed. The following are some tips to help you get the most of your highlighting cap usage:

• The cap method of highlighting works best with short to medium length hair that is cut in layered styles. Longer hair can become more easily tangled and knotted up when trying to pull it in thin locks through a highlighting cap.

• Comb or brush the hair thoroughly before applying the cap. This will help keep tangles and snags from blocking the hair being pulled through the cap.

• If your hair is coarse in texture or prone to tangles and snags, use a light spray of detangling spray or a shine oil to lubricate the hair before applying the cap to the scalp.

• Use the smallest tool necessary to gather the amount of hair you want to highlight and pull it through the cap. It is important to keep the holes in the cap as small as possible so that they form a secure collar at the base of the locks of hair that are sticking through the cap’s plastic. This keeps the color that is later applied from seeping through the holes and spreading onto the rest of the hair.

• Carefully use the patterns on the cap to keep your locks of hair evenly spaced. Failing to do so may result in uneven color application or a splotchy look in the finished style.

The greatest benefit of using a highlighting cap is that it does help to reduce the risks of error in highlighting the hair. In many cases, an individual may find that he or she can actually perform their highlighting service all by themselves. If the intention is for all-over highlighting and the assistance of a friend is required, you can be assured that there is more confidence in doing the highlighting.

Once you’ve pulled the hair you wish to highlight through the cap, the rest of the process is simple. Apply your haircolor as directed on the package instructions, only take care to avoid pressing the color around the holes in the cap.

Once processed, the color can be rinsed away, then shampooed in a preliminary wash and the cap removed for a second shampooing and conditioner application.