What is hair frosting?

The new lazy girl colouring technique explained

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / January 25 2022

We’ve all fallen in (and out) of love with balayage at some point in our lives.

A tried and true hair trend, we’ve dabbled in both the rudimentary and well-executed elaborations of the hair colouring technique. 

We even threw it all the way back to the chunky dip dye hair trend that terrorised our high school careers in 2021.

But it’s 2022 and we’re officially ready for a new lazy girl hair colour to capture our hearts. 

And we think we just found it.

Introducing hair frosting: the strand lightening technique that imitates the frosted pattern left by snowfall on trees in winter. 

While you might be convinced that the name lends itself to a cooler time of year, the natural brightening effect is surprisingly transitional between seasons. Just think of hair frosting as the in-salon equivalent to sun-bleached strands “[which] are concentrated at the front of the head, they frame the face and create contrast,” explained the trend’s creator Stuart Marsh (Taylor Taylor London’s Colour Director) to Refinery29.

Image credit: @haileybieber

Image credit: @haileybieber

However, unlike the balayage we’re all accustomed to, "frosting typically uses small, cool-blonde tones to contrast the darker base color [rather than the warmer, buttery tones that tend to be used when creating balayage].” 

“It's easy to maintain,” Marsh assured, “as it's designed to blend into your natural hair color… [and] gives a more muted, subtle effect.”

Image credit: @sukiwaterhouse

Image credit: @sukiwaterhouse

According to the award-winning hair colourist, the technique rarely looks overdone and is the lazy-girl’s answer for “easy, manageable color without high commitment."

Simply ask your colourist for “'cool tones' that contrast your darker base color and explain that you would like a more muted effect than traditional foil highlights,” said Marsh to the publication. 

Hair frosting is also forgiving on a variety of hair types and textures according to Marsh, "including curly and coily hair". His only recommendation is to “clarify and condition” curlier hair a few days prior to your salon appointment, “as this will help retain moisture and keep it healthy after lightening."

Marsh also advised that you should ease up on the daily hair washing to avoid stripping "the lengths of their natural oils”, and steer clear of “heat styling and keep your strands hydrated with a deep conditioner.”

After a chic cut to flatter your new frosted hair? The boy bob hair trend should be on your radar.

Main image credit: @sofiarichie

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).