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What Are Midlights? Everything You Need to Know About This Highlighting Technique

The world of hair color is like an umbrella that houses many different subcategories under its wide canopy. From knowing the different types of hair color to learning various professional techniques like balayage, ombre, root smudge, all over color and more, there is certainly a lot for stylists to master. When it comes to highlighting in particular, learning different techniques can help stylists diversify their list of offerings and reach more clientele. 

As a response to bold highlighting techniques like balayage and traditional foil highlighting. A newcomer in the highlighting game has emerged. Named for their subtle yet noticeable look and flattering appearance. Midlights are the happy medium between natural hair and a full head of highlights or balayage. When applied using professional hair color, midlights create a look filled with gorgeous texture, dimension and healthy-looking color. Here’s the lowdown on midlights, how to apply them and ways to showcase the look!

Tetiana Tychynska

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What Are Midlights?

In terms of traditional highlighting, most clients opt for a range of colors to balance out the look and avoid bright highlight stripes against a much darker color. By adding in a middle tone and a lowlight, stylists can make the results look more natural while still giving the client the lightness they desire in their highlights. The middle color, also known as the midlight, has risen to power as the latest top highlighting trend. While it’s not as light as a traditional highlight color. The midlight still offers dimension, depth and natural-looking color that will make the hair look like it has just returned from a 10-day beach vacation. 

In short, midlights are the more natural version of a classic balayage. By using semi or demi permanent hair color, they can be customized to client preference and applied more or less intensely depending on the desired results. For those hoping to grow into their natural color, shift to a more natural-looking set of highlights or just want to try something different, midlights are the perfect choice. 

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Midlighting Techniques

Thankfully, stylists won’t have to open a whole new bag of tricks in order to master the application of midlights. In fact, most knowledge stems from other highlighting techniques like foiling and balayage. The real mastery lies in getting the perfect midlight shade for the client in order to create a balanced, dimensional look in the end. 

Since midlights can be applied to just about any hair shade. It’s important to brush up on color theory for brunette and auburn shades, as well as blondes. Knowing which lowlight and highlight shades work best with the client’s hair color will help narrow down the options when it comes to choosing the optimum midlight shade. 

While keeping the natural shade visible, stylists should use a professional lightener on the sections of hair where the midlight color will be applied in order for it to be easily seen. It’s important to avoid lightening the hair too much, as this will create a brighter or more cool-toned look instead of warm, balanced midlights. In terms of actual application techniques, stylists should utilize high-quality salon tools and accessories in order to provide the best results. Based on the client’s hair type and thickness, either a foiled highlighting process or hand painting technique can be used. If the client asks for a super-natural look, applying the color by hand painting technique is the best option. Heavier or more pronounced midlights would best be paired with a traditional foil technique. 

Making the Most of Midlights

As with any type of hair color application, it’s extremely important to take care of freshly midlighted hair between salon appointments. This means using only color treatment-friendly professional hair care products like serums, oils and a shampoo and conditioner combination that won’t strip the hair of any professional color. To keep midlights looking healthy and shiny, don’t overwash the hair or use hot tools excessively. 

Though midlights look good with any amount of styling, it’s possible to create both casual and more elegant looks that will show off the natural-looking color. For an easy everyday look, try a simple blowout with a medium or large-barrel round brush. This will give the hair extra bounce and some added body that can be worn up or down. Wait a day or two in between washes and use dry shampoo to get the most out of the blowout. For a bit more drama, treat your midlights to some big barrel curls! The midlight color will make the curls look more defined and full of movement all day or night long.