Europeans and Americans have a different approach to hair color. In America, the name of the game is often fresh highlights, perfectly placed color, and strict appointments every four to six weeks to avoid the dreaded root grow-in. In Europe, however, people tend to take a less-is-more attitude with their hair color.
“The European approach to hair coloring is known for its classic and clean look, avoiding excessive highlighting,” says Abby Haliti, world-renowned master of the contemporary European technique of French balayage and founder of Abby Haliti Color Studio. “One of my favorite techniques, which is popular in Europe, is balayage. This technique originated in France and is known for its natural and sun-kissed results.”
Balayage is a free-painting technique that doesn’t use foils like traditional highlights do. Haliti explains that when using the European method, you’re able to get a more customized look by using balayage since you can tailor it specifically to a person’s hair. “It’s like creating a work of art on the hair, with the colorist having more control and artistic freedom,” she says.
While balayage is popular stateside, it’s the hyper-customization and restrained placement that makes European color different. Every time someone comes into Haliti’s studio, she assesses the perfect hair color for them based on their skin tone, natural hair color, eye color, and lifestyle. From there, she customizes the perfect hair color to suit their needs.
Haliti even practices “hair contouring,” which is exactly what it sounds like—it’s using highlights or color to enhance someone’s face shape and features. “Hair contouring involves placing color or highlights in specific areas of the hairline to enhance and uplift the eyebrows and cheekbones,” says Haliti. “By strategically placing color, the eyebrows and cheekbones can be visually lifted and emphasized, enhancing the overall appearance. Hair contouring takes into account the client’s face shape, skin tone, and desired outcome. Darker shades are used to create shadows and depth in specific areas, while lighter shades are applied to highlight and bring forward certain features.”
Keep reading for inspiration photos to bring to your next color appointment for the Euro look.