Hair Smudging Is the Breakthrough Way to Highlight Hair

Remember when highlighting your hair involved mounds of foil and a heat lamp? Fortunately, the days of this gruesome process no longer exist as the only option. There are many new innovative techniques like hair painting and balayage. While these methods are tried and true, another trend called gloss smudging is paving the way in the realm of hair color ideas.

What is Gloss Smudging?

The name may sound a little messy but this technique is anything but disorganized. In fact, hair smudging highlights hair in a way that blends colors seamlessly throughout your gorgeous mane.

Kari Hill, blonde highlights expert of Meche salon in L.A. has been innovating the technique for some time now, taking the secret of celeb hair stylists into the mainstream. Trust us, you’re about to see gloss smudging everywhere. She tells Refinery 29 that gloss smudging “takes away the line of demarcation we all had when we got highlights when we were younger.” Creating the look involves more freehand than balayage highlights, but it’s absolutely based on the same idea. By adding highlights in a more organic manner as they would appear on natural hair, instead of in strips, the smudging effect is achieved.

Brown Layered Hair With Gloss Smudging

Instagram / @karihillhair

The Process

Gloss smudging, as you can imagine by the name, involves the process of applying the highlights as well as  the final step of the hair coloring process. While staying in the same color family, a stylist will employ hair painting techniques at the root to seamlessly blend different tones to create a truly flawless effect. As hair grows out, that dreaded line of where your natural hair comes in and salon color meet is gone for good.

The final crucial step of smudging involves the ever-important glossing step that stylists cannot function without. After you finally make it to the wash basin after hours in the salon chair, any excess color is washed out. Where your stylist normally applies a gloss or toner to the entirety of your new hair colors, stylists like Kari Hill take the opportunity to gloss smudge.

The gloss is applied with a brush just to the roots of the hair, effectively hiding the potential root stripe that never fails to show up a few weeks after your dye job. By applying the gloss or toner just to the root, it fades better into the surrounding hair, naturally blending right back into your roots, giving that gorgeous dye job the longevity that it deserves.

Who Can Rock It?

The beauty of gloss smudging is it’s ability to look fantastic on any hair color, length or style, as long as you’re planning to go lighter. It’s especially great on short or pixie cuts because the tones create beautiful texture and interest. If you want to ask your stylist to give gloss smudging a try the next time you’re at your salon appointment, keep in mind that your highlights have to stay within the same color range to keep the effect looking seamless and natural.

When you finally decide to rock the gloss smudge look-because let’s face it-this trend is about to explode, add deep tones for impact and lighter highlights for vibrancy. If you’re looking for brown hair with blonde highlights, keep your brown a warm and light color like milk chocolate and add caramel highlights for a richer tone. That way when your natural, darker color comes in, the gloss with blend the caramel seamlessly. If you have darker brown hair, deepen the rich tone with a mahogany color.

Smudged Hair With Caramel Highlights

Instagram / @laura_stangier

If you’re a red head (natural or not) and you’re looking to add some depth to your color, then smudging is ideal for you. Brighten copper hair with light rust or strawberry tones or add golden hues to strawberry blonde locks for added shine. The gloss smudging will help the highlights blend seamlessly into your already existing color as the weeks go by.

Strawberry Blonde Smudging

Instagram / @laura_stangier

Smudging is even possible for more unique colors like lavender and electric blue. Any hair color you choose can benefit from different tones. Last but not least, the blondes know better than ever how awful growing in roots can look. The beautiful smudging process can incorporate a range of highlights to add depth that will grow out elegantly. Try platinum highlights painted all over to keep a yellow blonde cool-for longer!

Blonde Hair With Gloss Smudging

Instagram / @kellimillerbeauty

And Finally…

Not only does smudging create a better look for your hair-it also saves you time and money. Because your roots won’t grow in as noticeably, you won’t have to head back to the salon quite as often, stretching your appointments from 6 weeks to 8 weeks or longer.

When it comes to smudging, your stylist may already know about the technique. It is a good idea, however, to make sure they are at least versed in painting and/or balayage. So getting this done at your go-to salon shouldn’t be a problem, but Hill reminds us that the gloss smudging technique does take a little more time and patience as it involves viewing each hair job uniquely. However, smudging will switch up the monotony of constantly highlighting hair all day, giving your colorist time to express their creativity!

If you’re not fully sold on the breakthrough hair coloring technique, there is no doubt you will be once all of your friends start rocking the most natural and long-lasting color you’ve ever seen. Smudging color and gloss is quickly becoming the ideal process for hair highlights with no downside in sight. Will you try out smudging at your next trip to the salon?