Tried and tested: Hair Contouring

The Beauty Crew team puts the latest hair trend to the test

There is absolutely no denying that contouring is a hugely popular makeup trend seen the world over. And when you look at the sculpted masterpieces makeup artists and vloggers create, it’s no wonder many believe the technique is here to stay.

With that being said, it’s a trend that has largely eluded me. Mainly because of the lack of time I have to spare to go into such detail layering products to perfection on a daily basis. But hair contouring? Now that caught my attention.

It involves strategically placing light and dark shades through the hair to add volume and slim down the face. The L’Oréal Professionnel technique is said to accentuate (or hide) your features without actually needing to contour with makeup. Needless to say, I was itching to try it.

The lowdown

To experience hair contouring for myself, I visited Simone Menenti and Jordan Hone at Sloans hair salon in North Sydney. Simone explained to me that “hair contouring is an evolving form of balayage,” however the newer technique is customised to each individual as everyone’s hair and face shape is different. “We’re using light and dark to frame the face and give the illusion of the perfect, oval face shape. Where we want to slim down the face we use darker shades and where we want to create body we’ll lighten it,” she says.

Before

Before

Before

The process

Before any colour was applied Simone assessed my face shape and decided I had an oblong face due to my strong jawline. “What we’re going to do is keep a little bit of darkness through the strands in line with your jaw, to slim the area down a touch,” she said. She added that it’s important not to lighten the hair around that area because it could add volume and make the face appear much rounder than it actually is.

Simone explained to me that she would use different shades of blonde around my face to soften the shape. “[It will] give you a little bit of volume in the forehead. We’ll also lighten the ends of your hair to stretch the face and create the ideal oval shape.”

During the process Simone left the naturally brown hair around my jaw as is and used two shades of blonde, a light blonde throughout the majority of the ends of my hair and two foils of a softer caramel colour at the crown of my head. Aside from the two foils, Simone placed strips of a thick, spongy fabric underneath sections of my hair before freehand painting the lighter blonde shade to the lengths. An additional strip of the fabric was then placed on top to sandwich the colour. These spongy strips “conduct heat a little bit more than foils, so the light blonde in the foils will be a softer colour, that lightly frames the face,” she explained. 

I was then left to my own devices for around half an hour before the colour was washed out, a treatment applied and my hair was styled into loose, textured waves.

After

After

After

The final verdict

I love my new colour and it seems the rest of the office does too as I was welcomed by a series of oooh’s and ahhh’s when I made it back to my desk. Whether or not the technique has made my face appear slimmer or more chiselled is up for debate but it’s definitely a technique I’d recommend trying if you’re looking for a personalised and more subtle upgrade to traditional balayage.

Hair contouring is available at selected L'Oréal Professionnel salons nationwide. If you're looking to try the technique out for yourself head to L'Oréal Professionnel's salon locator.

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Image credit: Getty

Kate has worked for BEAUTYcrew since early 2016, first as a contributor, before being named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine.