Blusher… in your hair? Yes please! The make-up trends your locks will love

Instagram @kimkardashian

It started with Kim Kardashian, as so many of today’s trends do. A snap of her face sporting unblended contouring shared on social media sent Twitter, Instagram et al into meltdown. It suddenly brought a make-up artist’s secret – tailoring a variety of shades to help, for example, slim a nose or accentuate cheekbones – to our attention. And we couldn’t get enough!

The ‘make-up for hair’ trend has been fuelled by social media influencers showcasing not just amazing shades, but techniques, from contouring and glazing to strobing and frosting.

Of course, hair colourists are already creating bespoke shades for us clients in the salon, but this trend gives them a chance to talk to us in a way that will help us mere mortals better understand what overall effect a certain hair colour technique or placement can have. Genius!

“Colour is simply make-up for the hair and that’s what I tell my clients,” admits Laura Robertson, colour specialist at Sally Montague Hair Group in Derbyshire. “Explaining new colour techniques by using make-up as an example is a great way of explaining colour placement.”

“The surge of people using make-up to change not only the tones of their skin but also sculpt their face shape has meant that clients are much more aware that colour isn’t just about your shade choice but about placement, and how it can massively alter the shape of your hair cut,” says Headmasters colour ambassador, Siobhan Jones. One of the most common hair concerns Siobhan hears from clients is that their hair is flat and needs a bit of oomf. The normal go-to solution would be to change their cut or styling product. “Now with the power of contouring with hair colour, just like you would with make-up, you can give the illusion of structure and form,” she says. “With clever light and shadow colour placement you can make it appear hair has more volume.”

Oh man, we’re loving this! So what are salons offering that we can go and try?
Let’s take a look…


Hair by Aveda


This is a clever way to help make your face appear more defined and features more accentuated, as illustrated by Kim K on the Instas. “Contouring can be translated onto hair easily, it follows similar lines, using colour to draw attention to certain areas of the hair,” says Bloggs Salon’s Joe Hemmings. “Using light and dark tones in the right places can really change the shape of someone’s face and in this way the same principles apply to hair as you would with make-up.”

Ian Michael Black, Aveda’s global artistic director for hair colour, started ‘Eclipting’ to create subtle shading placed under a fringe and at times around the face to gently contour a client’s natural and individual beauty. Fie Karayannis, senior colourist at Jo Hansford in London, has helped create Contourage, a bespoke colouring method that uses light and dark tones to sculpt the face. “We use a combination of highlighting and balayage with lighter placement of colour around the parts of the face that naturally reflect light such as your cheekbones.”




We know, we know: gloss + hair normally = a sticky mess, but hear us out. Just as the resurgence in lip gloss popularity is down for its magical ability to make your pout look fuller and juicier, hair gloss is designed to make your locks appear shinier and healthier…  without any gloopy texture. It’s actually a treatment carried out at the backwash – a sort of semi-permanent, transparent shine service – that adds a microscopic protective layer over each strand, without weighing the hair down. It helps fill in any raggedy areas on the surface of the hair cuticles, creating a super-smooth surface that light bounces off like a mirror, and the effect lasts about four weeks. Oh, and it also helps to lock in any previously applied pigment, making it ideal for those looking to refresh their colour. But it doesn’t have to be an ‘add-on’ service, Redken promotes its Shades EQ colour range as like the ‘lipgloss of hair colour’, with Shades EQ Cream giving hair a richer colour similar to a lipstick, enabling you to colour and gloss in one step. Go forth and SHINE!



Hair by Samantha Cusick London


Similar to contouring, strobing highlights where the light would naturally hit the face. This means you can accentuate your best features and complement those we’re, um, well less keen on with contrasting colours, all with a shimmery, light-catching halo. Sounds divine! “Strobing works alongside contouring, we would mainly offer it for more of the natural look,” says Ashley Gamble, who has a salon in Shropshire.




Hair by L’Oréal Professionnel

The ‘no make-up’ make-up

This is the anti-contouring beauty trend, a look that whispers: “I’ve spent two minutes getting ready, life’s more important!” but in reality has taken an age to perfect that natural finish. Well, for hair, it’s all about the nude beige, strongly inspired by the invisible make-up trend. According to L’Oréal Professionnel, this shade is midway between ashy blonde and platinum blonde, offers subtle highlights and super-shiny results. Nude blonde is an easy look for you to wear, leaving your hair with an effortless glow. Just need to perfect your nonchalant pose…



Schwarzkopf Professional


Most often in pink and peach, blush is used to create a radiant glow, while also amplifying your facial structure or even correcting your face shape. “Rose Blush, one of the looks we created on the Schwarzkopf Professional BlondMe shoot, uses exactly the terminology of make-up. You’ll see in your mind’s eye the sort of colour and it gives a sense of enhancing and subtlety,” says Tim Scott-Wright from The Hair Surgery in Stourbridge. There are four Instant Blush Blonde Beautifiers in the BlondMe range (we’ve already given the Strawberry one a test drive), but what’s really exciting is that Schwarzkopf Professional has introduced a ‘blush and go’ shampoo – perfect for those who don’t want to fanny around with gloves and ruined towels. The BlondMe Blush Wash is sulphate free and gently cleanses and tones in one step, and you can take your pick from lilac, strawberry, apricot and silver.

Like a blush powder, the Foilyage technique from L’Oréal Professionnel lights up the face and is inspired by make-up layering. It enhances shine without the need for any radical transformation. “With pinker tones becoming the new ‘neutrals’, no one is being stared at in the street for these looks anymore. What is ‘the norm’ has shifted,” admits the 2017 Most Wanted Colour Expert, Sophia Hilton, owner of Not Another Salon.

Warren Boodaghians, TIGI’s global technical director, agrees: “Pastels have become classic, no longer a micro-trend, but the concept of using the tones found in blushers is a fast-growing trend.” He points to the ongoing Insta trend of #Blorange.


Headmasters launched a colour wash palette to cater for this blusher bounty – the Red Head Menu includes tones of Rose Gold, Burnt Coral and Dusky Fuchsia, which you can pick and choose from to finish off your already contoured and coloured hair. Sweet!

Smokey eye

Take a look at colour menus in the savviest of salons and you’ll increasingly see the word ‘smudge’ in usage. It’s this idea of blending colours to avoid harsh lines (and root regrowth) that’s really catching on. “A smokey eye in our words would be a root smudge,” smiles Ashley Gamble. “It can be noticeable or very subtle. It can give you the rock chick look or you can use more natural colours to get a Jennifer Aniston look.” (See our Root Smudge test right here). Redken has introduced Smoky Ombre by Josh Wood, global color creative director for Redken. This combines two of the biggest beauty trends to have ever come our way: ombre and the smokey eye. “Smokey Ombre is a way to think about hair colour as make-up. It’s a way of adding light and shade to make any style look amazing,” explains Josh.

Tricks of the (make-up) trade

Want make-up magic for your hair? This is what you need to do…

  • To enhance eyes… opt for the darkest colour shades on the under layers of a fringe. This helps make the line look stronger just above the eyes, which in turn makes their colour pop more.


  • To enhance cheekbones… ask your colourist to extend the colour with sectioning so the darker shades sit down near the top of the cheekbone.


  • To bring wide eyes closer together… colour should be extended down the sides, so darker shades sit at eye level.


  • To elongate a round face… ask your hairdresser to lighten the top of your hair and the ends using a freehand technique. To shadow the sides of the face, they need to use a darker shade to add depth.


  • To soften a triangular face…  Go for a darker shades at the top of the head and crown areas then ask for lighter pieces through the mid-lengths and ends to lighten under your jawline.


  • To widen facial features… keep your roots and the underneath of your hair dark to create shadow at the top of your head and around your jawline. Ask your colourist to apply a single highlight around your face to frame it and weave lighter pieces in front of your ears.

Sources: Aveda and L’Oréal Professionnel