Oct 5, 2021

Babylights 101

Everything you need to know about this fun hair trend

We happened to get two twin questions this week, both on babylights. What are the odds?

Formulate user Amelia asks:

My sister-in-law keeps saying that I'd look great with babylights. She says that because my hair is already kind of a light brown, I should go for it and get my hair to be just a smidge lighter. I'm embarrassed to ask her since she's always so knowledgeable about hair trends and all that, so I'm asking you guys: what are babylights? And is she right that they'd look good on my light brown hair? I also wouldn't want to commit to anything super high maintenance... are babylights easy to take care of or am I going to have to get them touched up all the time?

Aaaand Formulate user Michele asks:

I really want to get babylights and update my style. But I also don't want to have to spend like five hours in a salon chair. I'm really socially anxious and that'd be awful for me. I've heard that babylights can take a really long time to create, and obviously they'd need to be occasionally touched up, so if I got babylights would I have to spend hours at the salon every few weeks? Or would it be less intense than that? Also, how much should I plan to spend on them? Because if they take a long time to apply I figure that they'd be expensive, but I still don't want to drop an unnecessarily huge amount of cash, especially if I'll have to get them touched up regularly. Any and all insight would be much appreciated!

Y'all brought up some super interesting questions this week. To find the answers, we spoke with hairstylists Ghanima Abdullah and Lauren Udoh. They filled us in on all the need-to-know information behind this latest highlighting trend. 

What are babylights? 

Ghanima: Babylights is a bleach blonde process that uses very small highlights to make it appear as if the blonde is natural and child-like or created by the sun.

Lauren: Babylights are two tones down from the client's natural color, created with an ombré-like color transition gradually getting lighter towards the crown. What makes them unique is that these highlights are typically clustered together to create dimension rather than spaced out evenly on the entire head like traditional highlights might be spaced. Stylists will highlight already highlighted hair or place babylight streaks on top of darker brown hair if they want to disguise some gray hairs near the roots.

 What kinds of hair do babylights work best on? 

Ghanima: Babylights work best on hair that has already been lightened to at least a light brown. The whole effect of babylights is to make them appear natural, so you need hair that's already blonde, or not too far from it.

Lauren: The best hair for babylights is hair that is already lightened. If your hair is dark, you need to bleach it before applying the highlights. Babylights work well with strands of all lengths and textures, but they are especially effective on blonde or medium blonde hair.

How long do babylights typically last before they need to be touched up? 

Ghanima: They will last a little longer than a regular color treatment and will need to be touched up after about three months.

Lauren: Babylights will last from 2-4 months before they need to be touched up.

How much do babylights generally cost? 

Ghanima: They can cost as low as $75 and as high as $350, depending on the salon. I would go for a happy medium and find a salon that's charging about $200. This will show they are not bottom-of-the-barrel stylists and are experts at what they are doing.

Lauren: The cost of a balayage or babylights is determined by your stylist's skill, the salon location, and the number of hours spent on your hair.

Typically they will cost anywhere from $150 - $300 in most salons.

How long do babylights take to be created during a hair appointment? 

Ghanima: Because of the small sections of hair used to create babylights, it definitely takes longer than regular highlights. So be prepared.

Lauren: Bringing your hair to a lightened tone can take anywhere from one and half hours to three hours, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

What kind of salon/stylist should you go to to get babylights?

Ghanima: Go to a salon that advertises babylights. At the minimum you shouldn't get any blank looks when requesting them. 

Lauren: If you want a salon for babylights, you should look for a stylist specializing in blonde shades and has a lot of experience with babylight highlights.

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