Hollywood’s summer blondes make peace with their dark side
Angeleno, July 2009
“California beach blonde” is the holy grail of highlights. And with the recent onslaught of celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Erin Wasson and Madonna all showing more than a little root, the crusading style is utterly au courant. “Around award season, I started seeing pictures of Cameron Diaz and Jessica Biel with 6-inch roots. The ‘fade’ has now become the most current and sexiest thing in hair color. My Midwestern mother can’t get over the fact that people are paying top dollar in Beverly Hills to look like they haven’t touched up their roots,” says Chris McMillan colorist/stylist Chase Kusero.
Diffused highlights dispersed throughout darker regrowth is not only seashore chic, but recession-friendly, given that time between big-buck touchups is increased. Some clients are going three to six weeks longer between foils, notes Stuart Gavert, co-owner of Bev Hills’ Gavert Atelier and the colorist for the film Twilight. His own spin on the grown-out look (which he dubs “twilights” after the movie that inspired them) are “unhighlight” highlights that texturize hair with meticulously placed foils, starting about 5 millimeters from the part and slightly back from the hairline. This mathematical approach to color allows regrowth to occur seamlessly. Says Gavert: “We’re starting to see the end of highlights as we know them. We are having to stretch them out, giving more time in between visits. Few people have plain blond hair anymore.”
For the artistically inspired, there’s balayage, the increasingly popular, hand-painted highlight treatment (versus traditional foils). Starting at the root, often with just a strand or two of hair, the highlight increases in width—and bleached-out color—as it moves toward the ends, mimicking the way the sun naturally lightens hair. Given the look’s no-fuss attitude, “it’s easy to maintain,” according to balayage expert and Cristophe colorist Fabrice Henssens, a lifetime surfer and the scion of the salon’s legendary hairstylist. “It grows out really well with no line of demarcation and ends up looking better as it grows out. You spend less money and less time visiting the salon, leaving you with more time to spend at the beach!”