No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you—the contouring phenomenon has officially branched out into hair color, using highlights, at that, to achieve a more defined face shape. At New York City's Julien Farel Restore Salon, senior colorist Abby Haliti has the technique down to an art form, with Olivia Palermo's enviable color serving as proof. On Palermo, Haliti concentrated color near each of her cheekbones, then around the corners of her eyes, which created a lifted appearance. "Your features will pop by simply placing the right amount of consistency within the highlights, following the cheekbones and the eyes," she explains. "When contouring the hair, you must follow the movement of the natural hair flow. You can't have the highlights too close to each other because you need depth to make the color pop, so you must have a very delicate approach when focusing around the hairline." Though Haliti uses a balayage-esque painting technique, she uses a much lighter hand and allows the natural hair color to penetrate through the highlighted portion.
Rather than your foil highlights, she's only painting the surface of the hair. It's a natural-looking finish, and since there aren't noticeable lines of demarcation, it's a low-maintenance look. The technique works on every hair color and texture out there, so both hair color virgins and heavily-processed tresses alike can get in on the fun. You can ask your hairstylist to emphasize areas near your cheekbones and eyes to make them pop, or better yet, bring in a picture of Palermo and have them tailor the color to fit your natural tone. Just like with babylights, the contrast is barely-there. "There are six balayage pieces total on Olivia. I placed two strokes on either side for each cheekbone, then one on each corner of the eyes," Haliti adds. "That's exactly the amount you want around the hairline in order to level your features. It's all about creating the right amount of light around the face."