Move over, ombre---the hottest new hair color trend is taking the au naturel route! Babylights, or natural-looking highlights that mimic the sun-kissed tones your hair took on as a child, have been gaining popularity among both beauty buffs and Hollywood starlets alike for their ability to enhance your own natural hue without veering too far off the spectrum. Case in point: Miranda Kerr’s subtle golden streaks.
"Babylights are definitely the most-requested look this season," celebrity colorist George Papanikolas, who has worked with Kerr, tells InStyle. "The majority of your color should still be your natural color, only adding delicate accents to create the look." In addition to the low-maintenance upkeep, we also love how a few of the well-placed babylights can make your existing style look healthier and more dynamic.
"To create the look, there are three areas your hairstylist should focus on: Your hairline, natural part, and the ends of the hair," Papanikolas advises. "The highlights should be baby-fine around the hairline and in the crown, with a soft graduation of color that is two shades lighter at the ends." Rather than ombre's two-toned contrast in color, the overall appearance is more natural, as if you spent a little extra time in the sun. "Professional hand-painted color, known as balayage, allows for more control over placement and helps unrealistic root-to-tip strips of color," adds Papanikolas. "This should be able to accentuate your cut, taking into account how you style it every day."
Just because they're an enhancement of your own tone, doesn't mean you can skimp on the after-care---swap your current shampoo and conditioner for color-safe versions, and invest in a nourishing mask like the version by Matrix Biolage Hydrasource ($16; matrix.com for locations). Additionally, a heat-protective product like Matrix's Hydrasource Hydra-Seal Spray ($16; matrix.com for locations) will act as a shield against damage from flat irons and curling wands while preventing any premature fading.