Could freehand-painted hair be the next balayage? We speak to a stylist to find out

By ZILE CHUA of DailyVanity

How to achieve patterned hair at the salon

The technique that stylists use to create patterned hair for customers at the salon? Freehand painting.

“Freehand painting technique refers to how the colour is applied by hand, as opposed to traditional highlighting methods that use tools like foils or a comb,” explained Stylist.

Traditional highlights, for instance, are created by separating the hair into different sections or “weaves” over a foil and using a comb. Bleach is then applied to these pieces, which are later wrapped with foil.

When it comes to freehand painting, however, the stylist is free to paint on the hair freely. Think of balayage, a freehand painted highlighting style, where stylists created gradients on the hair by hand.

“The results are dramatic and customised textures that are unique and reflect the stylist’s creativity,” Stylist shared.

So, if the only freehand painting you’ve had done on your mane is a balayage, then you’re missing out on the endless styles that you could be wearing – bold and beautiful – on your tresses.

Steps taken by the stylist at the salon

haarAttic Stylist describes the process of creating patterned hair: “The hair has to be pre-lightened to the desired level so that [the stylist] has a brighter base to work on the prints.”

He explains that, for the patterns to be visible, the stylist usually lightens the hair to a level of seven to 10. The hairstylist will then dye your hair to achieve the desired base colour, before washing and blow drying the hair.

It’s only after the base colour has been achieved that the stylist will proceed with freehand painting. “The stylist will express their ideas onto the hair surface using the freehand painting technique,” remarked the Stylist.

Then, all it takes is a final wash and blow-dry before you get to admire your finished hairstyle.

While people who embrace a bolder everyday style would (naturally) pull off a patterned ‘do with greater ease, Stylist notes that the stylist can also “simplify a design or adjust the placement of highlights” to suit your personal style.

How to maintain patterned hair

Taking care of single-coloured locks can be tedious as it is, so we assumed it would take much more effort to keep a patterned mane looking fresh. We were wrong, however, because it turns out that painted patterns on the hair often last longer than base colours.

“The longevity of the patterns is subjected to the colour saturation and type of hair dye,” Stylist corrected. “Usually, the colour patterns will last longer than the base as they are more saturated [with dye]”.

While you don’t have to put in more effort than usual to maintain a patterned ‘do, there are still things that you can do to prolong the freshness of your hair’s patterns. The key? Healthy hair.

“Keeping the hair healthy is always the key to prolonging the colour,” Darren shared. “I would suggest that customers get professional advice from their stylist on what home-care colour shampoo and conditioner will suit their hair condition. These products should help form a protective layer on your hair cuticle to minimise the fading of colour pigments during each wash.”

If we could choose another pattern we’d like to see on Dua Lipa’s mane, we’d choose this one that features big blue flowers.

These patterns would be “a bit more challenging to achieve on long hair [compared to a buzz cut] as the hair will move,” Stylist noted. It follows that it would require more effort to style too.

Leopard print colour block hair

patterned hair - freehand painted hair

Photo source: haarattic/Instagram

Designed by haarAttic Stylist, this hair design features panel highlights – blocks of pink, purple, and orange – and soft leopard prints over it. Paired with a bold Japanese style hime cut, this daring ‘do will bring unique character to your outfit.

Best salons to visit for freehand-painted patterned hair

Have haarAttic design your patterned tresses at Haarattic salon!

If you’re unsure about the look you’re going for, let him take the reigns and create ‘do that’ll suit you just right – whether with dynamic leopard print patterns or a subtler wash of stripey ash pinks and browns.

Haarattic is known for being experts at haircuts and styles for both men and women, and the same goes when it comes to freehand-painted hair.

From advising you on a style that you love to giving you tips on how to best keep your patterned mane looking fresh before you step out of the salon, stylists at Haarattic are meticulous and professional at what they do.

Since this hair salon also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to creative colouring, you’ll be free to flaunt a rainbow of intense colours, paired with patterns painted by hand, on your mane – you do you.