All About Ponylights

Move over, babylights— there's a new highlighting technique in town! Ponylights, or feathered highlights that brighten up the hair around the face, might be the next big hair color trend. From application and service to pricing and maintenance, Shelley Mohr, L'Oreal Professionnel artist and director of color at diPietro Todd Salons, gives us the scoop. Ponylights is a process that involves sectioning the hair into ponytails (hence the name) and feather painting color onto the hair. "It is a great introduction to soft highlighting for tinted blonde clients of any age," Mohr says. "The technique allows stylists to incorporate perimeter lightening to a client's classic tint without the risk of harsh lines."

The application: Start by sectioning the hair into six ponytails; one at the nape, one at the fringe and two on each side of the head in front of the ears. The ponies should be banded at varying distances from the root. (See diagram). Apply lightener to each pony, carefully feathering the product up to the band. Do NOT apply lightener over the band or a tie dye look will appear. Process the ponylight in open air or by wrapping the ponies in foil, plastic wrap, sweet meches or quick meche. "The service is relatively fast," Mohr says. "Once the ponies are in place, you just need to freehand the product on." Processing time will vary according to formulation, density and previous existing color. Mohr recommends booking an additional 15 minutes for the client's color service after the tint service is complete.

The client: According to Mohr, the best candidate for this technique should be a level 7 or lighter on the mid-lengths and ends. "It works well for young, hip stylish women who want to move out of ombre and on to the next cool thing," she says. "I find this technique works best in hair with texture and movement. Wavy to curly, normal to coarse hair is recommended."

The price: "In our salon, we have a category called 'custom color' that allows us the freedom to charge according to the work done without being put in a box," Mohr says. "Sometimes a client isn't a partial highlight with a base, sometimes they just want a few additional accent pieces. Depending on the length, the amount of product needed and time, I would charge somewhere between special effects (face frame or partial partial highlight) to a partial highlight. This could cost anywhere between $125 to $240 depending on whether or not the client had a base color done first."

The maintenance: Ponylights are EXTREMELY low maintenance. The color gently transitions from darker to lighter on the ends. There are no hard lines. "Clients should touch up their ponylights two to three times a year," says Mohr.


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