If wild experimentation isn’t really your thing but you’re just a teensy bit bored with your natural hair color, look into this season’s hottest hair-lightening technique. Strandlighting has hit the salons like a summer storm. The technique will let you lighten up just a little and allow your base color to peek through. Lighter strands will blend seamlessly into your natural hair color. Telltale stripes won’t be a problem as the color grows out and you’ll see less damage if bleach is used.

Your chances of emerging from the salon with streaky patches practically vanish. Fans of highlighting and balayage need fear the daylight no longer. Why?

That’s because the technique is very similar to putting highlights in your hair, but with one major difference. Just like with highlights, your stylist will use foil to separate each section.  The amount of hair taken for each strand is significantly tiny.

The strandlighting technique is ever so much more subtle and intricate than highlights or even salon-favorite balayage. Strandlighting is just what the name describes. The colorist separates and dyes just a sliver of hair—not the whole lock—one at a time. Some say strandlighting is not as labor intensive as salon-favorite balayage, which calls for a freehand painting technique. Others say the technique calls for just as much skill and point to the time consumed in separating out those itty-bitty pinches of hair strand.

Either way, you’ll have to have faith in your stylist.

The experts say the best approach to strandlighting is taking strands directly from around the hairline to give your lengths an enviable sun-kissed effect. But that’s not the only right way to do it. It’s just as simple, effective, and pretty to start on the mid-lengths and go on to the ends, too.

You don’t have to stick strictly with blonde. Instagram shows that shades of both red and rose-gold strandlights are growing in popularity as well.

Read More: “Strandlighting” Is This Summer’s Coolest Hair-Lightening Technique

Image/Instagram @enjoyelaa