Ready to become a space invader?

Create a multidimensional effect which is softer and subtler with the latest balayage trend – the negative space technique

While the term ‘negative space’ has been used in the beauty industry for years, this season it’s the turn of hair to take the technique on board by utilising negative space in a client’s hair colour. The phrase refers to the area around and between a subject or object that highlights it, so it focuses on the base colour to create dimension, with fewer highlights in key areas. The end result? A multidimensional effect, which moves away from the 2D flatness which other highlighting techniques can create, while also being softer and subtler.

After the massive rise of balayage in 2018, this latest take is set to be one of the biggest trends in 2019. Speaking to Sarah Black, colour expect at Linton & Mac, she says that while balayage will remain popular, this year “we will move on to the depth it can create – rather than the lightness.” She adds: “the darker elements of the hair will be the focus, adding depth and dimension to the hair. The aim will be to create balance between the tones to create just the right amount of light against the perfect amount of darker hair.”

Ideal for brunettes as well as blondes, the technique works excellently for any client who is looking to add lightness around the face but has less time free to spend in the chair on a regular basis. The best part is even redheads can get in on the action, though be careful of the tone you add, as this can sometimes turn too orange or yellow.

To use the negative space technique, it’s best to start off slow by adding a few lighter pieces in the front for brunettes, or for clients with blonde hair, introduce deeper shades around the face and throughout to make the base colour shine. Gareth Williams, creative ambassador at Headmasters, suggests that in the salon “foils will play a stronger part in the balayage process, which will help to “create beautiful bright contours, plus enhance the neutral negative space in-between.”

To see more of Sarah’s work, head to @Whatsarahdoes on Instagram, or head to Salon Smart 2019, where Sarah will be discussing her career to date.