Much like rainbow hair and balayage before it, Hair Contouring has passed the realms of mere ‘trend’ to vital salon skill, one that doesn’t look like disappearing any time soon. As such, mega haircare brand L’Oréal Professionnel are introducing the Hair Contouring concept into their salons, drawing on the beauty, art and hair trend as it is currently understood, but developing it with expert opinions all centred around the technique’s most important step – the consultation.

Square shape. Image via L’Oréal Professionnel

L’Oréal Professionnel experts such as current AHFA Hairdresser of the Year Caterina Di Biase, Brett Albury, Dani Blakely and Danielle Solier weigh in on golden rules, different face shapes and that all important client communication to help you truly master the concept.

“Just like contouring in makeup, hair contouring works on very similar principles,” Caterina explained. “It’s about recognising the right colour for your client’s skin tone, finding out what face shape they are and playing with dark and light shades in order to get the contour look that best suits them. This means you’re not restricted by the number of looks you can create with contouring for each client. You can change it up depending on the season – lighter or darker, it’s all about the placement. As colourists, a lot of the time we use light shades to give a volume lift effect and to help highlight certain features, while dark shades are great to minimise volume and soften or hide certain parts.”

Heart shape. Image via L’Oréal Professionnel

The brand has launched the service into their salons, where colourists will now deliver a bespoke service based primarily on face shape and starting at the consultation. Other elements of the hair such as health and quality will also be assessed at this time, ensuring the ideal colour is applied. Permanent colour choices such as the brand’s INOA or Majirel ranges can be chosen, as well as the Blond Studio professional lightener or semi-permanent options such as DIA Light, depending on each client’s hair needs.

Where hair contouring has usually been applied in terms of basic face shapes (that is, heart, square and oval), L’Oréal Professionnel’s technique also evaluates shapes that fall outside the mould and maybe take from multiple basic face shapes, applying the colour to work with each client’s specific look. The colour is applied strategically to highlight or add depth to certain areas of the hair, softening or enhancing specific facial features as required. In the L’Oréal Professionnel mould, clients can identify between seven face shapes (Oval, Round, Square, Rectangular, Oblong, Diamond and Triangular), or portions of each, all of which are delineated by varying degrees of vertical and horizontal widths.

Square shape. Image via L’Oréal Professionnel

The brand’s impressive colour task force suggest that clients with oval or slender face shapes require darker tones with lighter ends to add more fullness and softness to the face. Meanwhile those with more square or round faces use a combination of highlights and lowlights, mainly around the frame of the face, to lighten what can be a more pronounced face shape. Lastly, heart-like shapes benefit from dark tones at the roots and lighter tones around the jawline, softening the face to more of an oval shape.

Heart shape. Image via L’Oréal Professionnel

It’s a trend that requires the technical ability, strong client relationships and impressive understanding of colour vital to any successful salon – lucky L’Oréal Professionnel are there with expert support.

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