Lightening Your Hair Naturally: The Expert’s Advice

Lightening Your Hair Naturally: The Expert’s Advice

The same sun-kissed effect you get after a great holiday at the sea. That same blond can be recreated with the help of your hairdresser. How can you get the best results? Estetica asked Italian hair guru, Cristiano Filippini, for all his advice on lightening hair naturally. by Daniela Giambrone.

The natural trend is now one of the longest-lived over recent years, even more so during 2020, the year which made us rediscover the importance of natural things and led us back along the path of simplicity. Lightening hair naturally is a frequent request made by salon clients. Cristiano Filippini, a hairstylist since 1996 and founder of  [#1]Hairlab in Rome, answered all the relative FAQs:  “Lightening hair naturally means using those colouring techniques where the hairdresser’s intervention is barely noticeable, so all those colourings that differ no more than three tones from the natural base. This means all those techniques we use to evoke or imitate the effect of sun and sea on hair,” confirms Cristiano.

At this time, which are the solutions that enable you to get this kind of result? 

 It may seem overly simplified, but the technique trending now is balayage, so the use of de-colourants and bleaches to lighten hair and brighten it more or less naturally along the lengths and tips. We can get this effect by using various methods. The most common are definitely backcombing and free-hand lightening in papers. SunStripping and Colour Contouring are interesting variations and less difficult in terms of costs and time.

If we think about colours other than blond, like browns and reds, what type of services can be offered?

Luckily, various celebs and influencers are focussing on more natural tones and nuances. The techniques we use to reach the result can be the same, but what changes are the products used and the development time. If we should work on natural hair we would not longer be required to use decolouring and toning products, but just a standard oxidising colour might be enough. With browns and reds, attention must be placed on the tones and highlights of colour in relation to the client’s complexion.

What measures must be taken to adjust the results to the client’s characteristics? 

Certainly balayage is the most common requested by those clients who love long hair: the more hair there is, the more eye-catching and fluent the colour, the more the final result will be optimal because it enables us to play with light and shadow, which is fundamental for a natural look, but above all the hide e

For example, if we have a client with a particularly round, plump face, we try to avoid lighter parts in correspondence to her cheeks or jawline. Instead, we will work on the darker part so as to slenderise the face. Being a balayage and lighteners, in general it is used more often on longer lengths, so it is extremely important to keep hair healthy.

As regards the effect on hair, how healthy are these techniques nowadays?

I believe that a fundamental point for hair health care is a careful consultation based on the state of the hair and on listening to desires and lifestyle habits of the woman who intends to approach this service. We must try to respect the hair structure as much as possible, above all because we are using products – like decolourants  that tend to modify the structure. It is also our duty, however, to say that today all the leading manufacturers are paying close attention to these aspects. So it’s up the professional to avoid products that are too aggressive and chose the technique that is best-suited and less invasive… One piece of advice: It is better to opt for a few minutes of development extra, rather than use a high volume of bleach. Having said this, I can assure you that, given my personal and direct experience, that a good product in the hands of an expert guarantees a perfectly healthy head of hair. 

Would you advise asking for this service before going on vacation to the sea or does it risk ruining the effect?

Absolutely! On the other hand, why should a woman not have beautiful hair during the magical months of summer? If we are near the holidays, I advise using slightly darker tones, because the sun and the sea will contribute to the lightening without ruining the effect, leaving hair looking more natural.

What do you recommend for maintenance at home?

There are many things we can do to keep this effect looking fresh longer. If we speak about cool blonds, one suggestion is to use an anti-yellowing shampoo, that will help us to remove all those undesired highlights that occur with the bleaching of the colour that takes place at high temperatures. Instead, if we speak of warmer and more natural tones, my advice is to use products specifically formulated for coloured hair or cleansers that contain a low concentration of sulphates, which are mostly responsible for dehydrating hair. Another good habit is to use protection every time you expose your hair to the sun, or before going for a swim in the sea or a pool, because the chlorine and salt are not the best allies for our hair.

From a professional viewpoint, what do you think is the technique that guarantees the best performance?

I wouldn’t say there is any one in particular, each choice is linked directly to the woman sitting in our chair and the desire that she expresses at that moment in our salon. I can say that for a while now we have intentionally set shatush aside, although it was a technique of reference up to a few years ago. Now in all my salons it has been replaces by balayage, created with a lightening technique obtained with a combination of highlighting and backcombing at the root, because it allows us to lighten the base delicately without leaving signs of unnatural colour that might stand out too strongly.