May 30, 2024

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What Are Teasylights? A Hair Colorist Explains the Technique

Changing your hair color can be a big deal, especially considering the many options to choose from. Sometimes, you can satisfy the itch with subtler tweaks like highlights. That’s where “teasylights” come in. It’s a hair color technique that’s been around forever but is now getting more recognition, and it’s worth asking your stylist about.

You’re likely familiar with ’90s-style chunky highlights and face-framing money pieces, but maybe you’ve never heard of teasylights. That doesn’t mean you haven’t seen it. The technique is praised for its ability to give you the most natural-looking results, as the stylist can customize it to fit each individual perfectly.

To learn more about teasylights from a professional colorist, keep reading.

What Are Teasylights?

With teasylights, it’s not about a specific color. “Teasylights are a highlighting technique used by colorists to achieve an elevated, lived-in look while also preserving the client’s natural color for a bespoke, beautifully blended, and most natural result,” Ryan Dickie, a colorist at IGK Salon Miami, tells PS. Though it’s highly customizable, the process always involves “back-combing, or teasing the hair toward the scalp.” That’s where it gets its name.

This hair coloring technique works on all hair types and textures. “It’s also easy to blend this technique with more conventional highlighting and balayage techniques,” says Dickie. “It’s safe to say I incorporate some sort of a teasylight method on 95 percent of my clients who are somehow lightening in any way.” But that’s not all — Dickie says the technique is also good for people who are looking to deepen their color.

Dickie recommends being cautious before trying it if you have damaged, fine, or brittle hair. “The detangling process can sometimes add more stress to the already fragile hair,” he says. “When done with care, this technique is suitable for anybody.”

How to Do Teasylights

First, teasylights are not something you DIY at home. It’s best to keep this technique to the professionals. Otherwise, “to keep my work tidy, efficient, and simple, I prefer to hold each subsection of the hair with tension toward the ends,” says Dickie. He then uses his foiling comb to push the hair from mid-lengths toward the scalp. “The same rules of density of each subsection apply to both classic foils as well as teasylights, and saturation is key — no section should include more hair than can be fully saturated with lightener in each foil.”

He recommends the less is more approach. “Highlighting should be intentional,” Dickie says. “If you’re highlighting in a book, you would not highlight the entire page, as this would defeat the purpose of the highlighter.” Use the teasylights technique to add a pop of color to your head and enhance your base shade.

Teasylights vs. Highlights

The untrained eye may not be able to tell teasylights from traditional highlights, but Dickie says there are a few key distinctions. With teasylights, “the client’s natural hair is pushed back and out of the way, allowing you to preserve their natural color. This allows the colorist to simultaneously create lightness, as well as maintain natural dimension, eliminating the need for low-lighting,” he says. When the coloring process is finished, the teased hair with the natural color still intact is re-sealed. “The natural hair that is pushed back will soften and diffuse the highlight to achieve the most authentic and lived-in look.”

How to Maintain Teasylights

If you’re looking for something that doesn’t require you to trek to the salon every few weeks, you’re in luck. “Teasylight are easily one of the most low-maintenance techniques,” Dickie says. “As mentioned, using the client’s natural hair as their dimension will ensure a seamless and ultra-graceful grow-out.”

In between appointments, keep your color looking fresh by using color-safe shampoos and conditioners (and opting for a purple shampoo if you’re blond). And remember: heat protectants are a must for everyone, but especially to preserve color.

Need any more proof that you won’t be chained to the salon with this look? Dickie says he has some clients that he only sees twice a year with this coloring method. “This is our go-to.”

Jessica Harrington is the senior beauty editor at POPSUGAR, where she writes about hair, makeup, skin care, piercings, tattoos, and more. As a New York City-based writer and editor with a degree in journalism and over eight years of industry experience, she loves to interview industry experts, keep up with the latest trends, and test new products.

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