This gorgeous fall hair trend is low maintenance and offers subtle, glowing dimension.
You know how soft and pretty everything looks under the glow of a flickering candle? The low lighting and golden glow offers an instant sense of chic warmth and elevated sophistication. The candle lights hair trend—which involves strategically placing golden-hued micro-highlights across your hair—perfectly captures that mood. Best of all, it’s super flattering on all sorts of hair colors and textures, and it involves less upkeep than traditional highlights.
What Is Candlelit Hair?
The candle lights hair trend emerged in mid to late summer as a sort of alternative to bold, high maintenance hair lights. The look is definitely here to stay, especially as we head into the cozy autumn season.
“Candle light hair refers to a hair color trend that aims to mimic the soft, warm glow of candle light. It typically involves using a combination of warm, golden tones to create a subtle, natural- looking effect, causing a radiant and luminous effect much like a soft flicker of candle flames,” explains celebrity hair stylist Tracey Moss. “The highlights come in shades of honey, caramel, and golden blond, with a focus on achieving a seamless blend of colors.”
Typically, the color placement is soft from the roots through the middle section of hair, and then “flames” into a brighter shade toward the ends, adds Melessia Wade-Smith, a hair care expert with Better Natured Hair. The result is a soft, multi-dimensional look that subtly brightens without creating too dramatic of a contrast between light and dark.
Candle Lights Vs. Other Highlights
The candle lights hair technique involves delicately applying ultra micro-thin highlights versus broad sections. They’re somewhat similar to baby lights, but the flicker of brightness at the ends sets it apart, as does the fact that the undertones are almost always warm versus cool in order to create that glow effect.
Who Looks Best With Candlelit Hair?
The candle light hair trend is flattering across a range of hair colors and textures. That said, Wade-Smith says it’s especially flattering on people with medium to medium-dark hair with naturally warm undertones. These are the hair colors that really capture the “flickering glow” effect best.
You can still try the trend on blondes and very dark hair, but your colorist will need to adjust the highlights so they still show up (especially for blondes) but aren’t too contrasted (for ultra dark shades). Moss adds that the technique also looks especially beautiful on wavy or textured hair. Even those with pin-straight strands can enjoy the trend, though.
“The candle lights trend is spreading throughout salons, so chances are your professional colorist is probably aware of this technique,” Moss says. “If not, the best way to articulate this technique is to ask for ultra fine highlights, which consists of warm, soft, and a natural blend of golden and honey tones.”
How to Maintain Candlelit Hair Color
Because the highlights are so subtle—and the brightest portions are focused on the ends of the hair—candle lights are super low maintenance. “The upkeep on this technique is considered easier because it's a more natural look that does not require precise-timing retouches,” Moss explains.
Heading back to the salon for a refresh is up to you, but aim for every two to three months. In between visits, you can request a toning or glossing treatment to give hair that extra oomph. Also make sure to use hair care products that help preserve your hair color and keep the highlights bright and sparkling.
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