When our editor-in-chief came to the office with fresh, new highlights, we were instantly smitten. Definitely not ombré, but not quite sombré, the new color seemed to peek out from underneath her lower layers, giving her hair a subtle, easygoing brightness. We’ve since spotted it on Lily Aldridge, Alexa Chung and Aubrey Plaza, and our love continues to grow.Our friends at Refinery29 call it underlights, and Ian Michael Black, Aveda Global Artistic Director for Hair Color calls it “beach lights.””Beach lights are this summer’s must-have hair color,” explains Black. “While the trend for ombré may not be as hot as it once was, it has left in its wake an aesthetic that will last years. Women no longer always desire a hair color that is the same from root to end. Where ombré is all about making a statement, this color is about a new wave of subtle sophistication.”The ends are bright, like the sun has gently lightened hair and brought out natural warmth, which is very flattering to the skin. According to Black, these new highlights are carefree and perfect for those wanting to try color for the first time. He explains the technique is to work in weaves much like traditional highlights, but using two color formulations that start at different points on the hair. Starting the first color application around 4 inches from the scalp, use soft copper color two shades lighter than the natural hair and apply through to the ends of the hair section. On the next round, apply soft golden copper three shades lighter only to the last third of the length.

Laura Kenney

Mai from Bumble and Bumble, who gave our editor her beach lights, explains that not having traditional highlights that start at the roots makes this color very low maintenence. She places the copper highlights just under the top layer of hair, which gives the look an interesting dimension. And in our editor’s case, “Laura has blue eyes, so I didn’t want highlights in her bangs so the darkness will play off her light eyes.” And obviously dark bangs with highlights all around them would look super janky.”Laura has a very pretty face,” continues Mai, “so she doesn’t need sweet, typically pretty hair. This technique gives her a bit of edge.”