Hair Highlight Trends For Fall 2016

Staying abreast of beauty trends can feel like keeping up with the Kardashians. There's always someone you spot IRL or on your social media who looks so trendy and current, that you wish they'd be your BFF and give you a makeover. The hair highlight trends for fall 2016 needn't be a well-kept secret and should be available to everyone, so you too can look like a modern, cool gal, even if you spend your weekends indoors with the lights off, having video game marathons, and eating your bodyweight in pizza. BTW, being cool is whatever you make it — just do what makes you happy because life's too short.

You may feel like being on-trend this season, or you might be looking for some rad hairspiration; whatever the reason behind the motivation for your new look, you're sure to find something you like in the top hair highlight trends of autumn. The best thing about highlights is, although they're likely created with permanent dyes, they're something you can change your mind about later. Instead of going all out and opting for a full head of a new color that you're unsure about, you can take baby steps and dip your toe in the water with highlights.

So here are the biggest hair highlight trend of fall 2016, according to professional hairstylists.

1. Dusky Alternative Highlights

Chelle Neff, owner of Urban Betty Salon in Austin, tells me over email, “Trends from this fall include highlighting subtle pieces of hair a duskier alternative color such as pink, baby blue, and gray. This trend stems from the all over brighter alternative colors that we have seen on everyone in the past year.” She adds, “This is a more blended, fun look without all the upkeep and commitment.”

Miguel Angarita, Senior Colorist at Mizu New York, seconds this saying, “Fall 2016 hair color/highlights take a subtle and understated tonal shift going into super soft hues and faded tones. We are seeing a lot of pastel grays, icy/cool light blue hues, as well as super lived in rose/pinks and burnt gold/buttery natural colors with darker roots that create a multidimensional effect.”

Neff explains, “The easiest way to achieve this look is by having your stylist pre-lighten a few pieces and then glaze them with the alternative color. If you already have blonde hair, you don’t have to pre-lighten! As times goes on you can let the color fade out naturally and the lightened streaks will blend in with your natural color.” As someone who’s wanted to try powder pink hair for a long time, this could be a great way to ease into it before going the whole hog.

2. Rich Autumnal Highlights

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If you prefer a more is more approach when it comes to your hair, you may be interested in the rich highlights trend. Lindsay Marie, Color Director at Antonio Prieto Salon tells me over email, “The trends of this fall and winter for hair color are rich tones! From the runways, September issues, and on the streets of NYC, warm blondes, matte brunettes, and vibrant natural reds are taking over.”

Marie elaborates, explaining how to work the rich tone trend into highlights, “Summer has ended and your summer color might not compliment your winter complexion. Hold on to your summer blonde by adding a bit of warmth to your highlights to create an endless summer glow. For our brunettes, take those dark chocolate tones and melt them into a matte milk chocolate finish. Vibrant natural reds can take your faded strawberry blonde and transform it into a decadent bronze-y, strawberry brunette. Change your look with little commitment by just changing or adding a gloss/toning service.”

Angarita agrees saying, “Everyone's hair is at the perfect time of the year to be toned, the summer did its job and everyone needs to go deeper. With that said, maybe just a great gloss/glaze/toner can work in your favor. Utilize what the summer left behind to your advantage. Glazes return the luster and shine back to the hair.”

3. Babylights

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Neff tells me, “Another trend we are seeing this fall is babylights. This is not a new trend, however it’s a lasting highlight technique that a good percentage of our guests are still asking for.”

If you’re unsure as to where the babylights trend came from, Neff explains, “Babylights originated from ombre really. With ombre everyone started out hand-painting these heavy highlights that were quite contrasting and dramatic. Over time they have become more and more subtle originating into what we call babylights. It’s as if your hair is naturally lighter throughout the ends just like a baby’s hair.” Personally, I don’t care if this is seen as an upcycled style, because it’s still a super sweet trend.

4. Multidimensional Highlights

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I spoke with Tyler Colton, Honey Artist Hair Stylist, over email about what’s hot in the hair highlighting world this autumn. Colton says, “This fall its all about dimensional color, which means the heavy ombre is out! You can be blonde, red, or brunette to have dimensional color. This color technique consists of having highlights and low lights with varying degrees of tones.”

To achieve this look, Colton provides some inspiration, “If you are a brunette, you might add baby highlights in a warm caramel tone while adding low lights with just a soft hint of auburn. If you a[re] blonde, you might have varying shades of cool natural blonde to balayaged strands of platinum blonde.” Colton adds, “Also, to create a dimensional color, clients will either get a base break which is a slight shift of the natural root area, or perhaps even a full new base color to either cool or warm up one’s natural tone.”

Over email, Angarita tells me a technique on how he’s been creating multidimensional color with highlights. Angarita says, “A technique I am doing a lot this fall is highlighting the hairline with a few super fine foils or balayage pieces and then painting or balayage the sides and back. The main goal is an ombre/sombre faded effect in which light to dark tones combine to create multidimensional results.”

So beauty babes, which fall highlighting trend will you choose?

Images: Dima Bilous (1) /Unsplash