How did nobody come up with this earlier?!
I can’t say I’ve ever been overly experimental when it comes to my hair.
Yes, there was the odd year when I thought red was a good shade for me (definitely not) and that other year when I chopped my long locks off because I was so sick of the drying time, but generally, I’ve always aimed for a mid-length cut and a natural-looking dark blonde hue.
So whenever I go to the hairdresser, I don’t ask for something crazy like rainbow hair. Instead, I request a few blonde highlights added to my bronde hair (somewhere in between brown and blonde) and I always say one thing: I want it to look sunkissed. In other words, very fine, subtle highlights that make people wonder if I’ve just come back from a long beach holiday.
Many salons have failed to deliver on this request, leaving me with chunky blonde streaks – definitely not a good look on my mop, no matter how much time I spend styling my hair to look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel – so you can imagine my excitement when I heard about the latest hair technique, Indian Summer hair contouring, which promised, among other things, a ‘sunkissed effect’.
So, what exactly is hair contouring?
The Indian Summer hair contouring technique uses a combination of freehand application and strategically placed highlights to alter the appearance of your face shape by accentuating your best features and enhancing your natural skin tone, so it’s important to know whether you’re a diamond or a heart face shape. which is something your stylist can help you determine.
‘Wait, what? Not only will I get natural looking highlights, but it will make my face look slimmer?! Sign me up!’ I thought, and so off I went to experience the promising treatment for myself.
How it went down
I was sceptical that this new technique was anything more than a subtle version of balayage, and I definitely needed more convincing about the whole face-slimming aspect, so when my hairdresser, Cecile, started my hair consultation, I grilled her for more details. She pulled my hair back and looked at my face in the mirror.
“You have a round to square face shape, so in order to elongate your face, we will strategically place highlights on the top of your head,” she told me.
It’s a pretty simple principle, according to master hair stylist, Chloe Benoit.
“Darker tones create shadows and are used to shorten or narrow the face shape, whilst lighter tones lengthen the face shape by reflecting light.”
So in my case, highlights at the top and a few darker strands around my face would do the trick. The dye is 100 per cent custom mixed for each client, to ensure the tone is as natural as possible and compliments their skin tone.
Cecile started to apply it to thin strands of my hair, using nothing but her hands. No foils were required either, making me wonder if the highlights would transfer to other layers of my hair as she was working her way up from my ears to the top of my head.
It’s an interesting technique, using rubbing and pulling motions. “Am I pulling too hard?” was the considerate question I heard many times. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my career as a beauty editor, it’s that beauty is pain – and I am willing to take it.
The highlights were left on my hair for about 10 minutes before being washed off. For extra shine, Cecile mixed a bespoke ‘Fusio-Dose’ hair treatment for me that treats two hair concerns of your choice at once; in my case, it nourished and added shine.
The final results
After a good blow-dry, the moment of truth had come. When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t see a dramatic difference, but it was like an improved version of myself. For the first time ever, my hair actually looked sunkissed. I could see the reflection of very subtle gold strands in my hair, but besides the flawless blow-out giving away my visit to the salon, you wouldn’t have been able to tell this wasn’t my natural hair shade. I loved it.
Regarding my face looking slimmer, I’d be lying if I said I felt my jawline looked any more contoured than usual, however, the new shade of my hair definitely enhanced my skin tone giving me a glowy look. Overall I felt fresher, the sort of result I usually get from a shitload of bronzing and highlighting powder on my face.
So here’s my verdict: if you’re after a hair transformation, Indian Summer hair contouring will let you down, as it’s super subtle. However, if you want to enhance your natural hair and add highlights that are literally maintenance-free as your regrowth will hardly be visible, this technique is amazeballs. And while you’re at it, I highly recommend the ‘Fusio-Dose’ treatments – my hair hasn’t felt this soft and healthy for years.
I feel like I’ve finally found the hair technique I have been looking for my entire life. If only this had been invented earlier, I could’ve saved myself the pain of those early-twenties-years chunky streaks.
Comment: Have you ever tried hair contouring?