Halo Highlights Are the Small Hair Color Tweak With a Big Impact

  • Halo highlights are when hair color is placed around the face to frame it.
  • The hair-color trend is subtle and low maintenance.
  • Celebrity hairstylist George Papanikolas explains more about the technique.

If you’ve ever color processed your hair, chances are you’re pretty familiar with highlights, but what you may not realize is just how many types of highlights there are out there. Each technique can give you a completely different look, and knowing your options is key to getting the results you’re after. For example, if you want color that delicately frames your face, you should consider halo highlights.

What Are Halo Highlights?

In a way, halo highlights, aka ring highlights, make it look like you’re walking around with a spotlight on your face. “[It] gives a lighter face-framing effect by adding highlights closest to the face, leaving the rest of the hair darker,” says George Papanikolas, celebrity hair colorist and Matrix brand ambassador.

As opposed to traditional highlights, which are distributed throughout the entire head, halo highlights are concentrated around the face. However, unlike the money-piece hair color trend, which also sees color framing the face, halo highlights traditionally are very subtle and only a few shades lighter than the rest of your hair. The color should be delicate at the rots and gradually get thicker and heavier toward the ends of your hair. “Going very strong and chunky at the roots can look harsh, so it’s recommended to soften the root area with a toner so that the highlights are just a few shades lighter than the base color,” Papanikolas says.

To get the color just right, Papanikolas says to stick to the universal rule of highlights: color should be “within four shades of your base color to be the most flattering.” When done properly, halo highlights are very low maintenance because the root color is so soft. “If you go with a stronger root, then the regrowth will be more obvious.”

See examples of halo highlights ahead.

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