silk blonde trend
Hair

“I had my hair hand-painted to create a soft, silky blonde that’ll last all summer”

Silk blonde is the low-maintenance style that’s trending – here’s everything you need to know. 

Balayage may have started life as a hair colouring trend but after years of popularity, it’s become a salon staple, joining the ranks of classic status alongside bobs and curtain bangs.

As a lifelong blonde, I’ve frequently been tempted by the undone style. I prefer my hair a few weeks after it’s been coloured, with a bit more root on show, than when it’s hairdresser fresh and slightly too bright. But, because looking after blonde hair is so high-maintenance (and expensive), it can feel pointless to not go to the root with my colour.

In my head, this approach buys more time between appointments. In reality, I wear out the colour with wallpaper border-esque growth that divides brown and blonde around my ears for a few weeks before biting the bullet and booking into a salon. 

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But with summer on the horizon and my dark roots in their worst-ever state, I decided to take the plunge to find my dream, low-maintenance blonde.

What does balayage do to your hair?

I booked in with STIL Salon’s founder Christel Barron-Hough at her newest salon in Chelsea. Despite the fact I was so scared of change, Christel’s experience as a colour expert meant she immediately knew what would work for me. She took me through her favourite balayage trends of the moment – from chunky styles with thicker highlights and a more obvious root to feathery and light balayage for those who prefer a softer blend.

We settled somewhere in the middle: hand-painted silky blonde that looks sun-kissed but effortless. 

silk blonde before
silk blonde after
Chloe's hair before and after hand-painted silk blonde colouring.

Just like with any other blonde appointment, it involved a lot of foil and time. Christel began by painting the colour onto the ends of my hair and dragging the brush toward the root. This technique is used to give a more natural highlight as well as softness to the root, so the colour blends from dark to blonde in a subtle, grown-out way.

Christel advised taking the colour all the way to the root in the front few centimetres of hair to keep brightness around my face. It was a softer, more blended take on Dua Lipa’s chunky blonde strands. After painting the colour, my hair was wrapped in foil and left to set, then washed and rinsed with toner for the silvery finish. 

What does balayage look like? 

The result is really silky, blended balayage. The painted gradient colour keeps some of the undone chicness but without the outgrown, striped root that usually makes my hair look dull and dark. And I’m pleasantly surprised by the streak of colour at the front – a style that would have scared me if it wasn’t for Christel’s knowledge.

silk blonde before
silk blonde after
Silk blonde helps to gradiate the difference between root and tip.

The best bit is that I can see this colour lasting long into summer without the need to run back to the salon. Christel even told me that soft balayage is the perfect way to reduce the need for appointments, as the regrowth continues to look natural for an extra few weeks. Who knew a low-maintenance blonde really does exist? 

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Images: Chloe Gray