Most of us have been doing the celebrity-inspired balayage thing for a while now, but if you鈥檝e been living off the beauty grid, here鈥檚 the deal: It鈥檚 a technique where colorists paint strips of hair free-hand, rather than using foils. The results make the highlights look way more natural, creating a totally customized effect. Sounds pretty great, but there is a downside to coloring your hair over and over 鈥 dry and over-processed strands. And with summer here, UV rays are gonna compound the problem, causing the color to fade. So what do you ask for instead of balayage highlights the next time you鈥檙e in the chair? Try babylights, a technique that鈥檚 way gentler and mimics the look of a carefree childhood summer spent on the beach.

Blonde blonde blonde!!!

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鈥淏abylights are a subtle version of ombre hair. They require a shorter process time, so the chemical isn鈥檛 on your hair for too long, and won鈥檛 be as damaging鈥 says Lisa Estridge, a colorist at Eliut Salon in New York City. They work particularly well on fine hair, because the sections the colorist uses are much thinner than with balayage. Some colorists prefer to paint babylights freehand, but Estridge says they鈥檙e best done with foils, which can be spaced out to achieve a sunkissed look on just a few sections. While the results won鈥檛 be as dramatic as with ombre or balayage, they鈥檒l give your hair a subtle, summer-ready boost. Bottom line: Your strands will be healthier, shinier and silkier rather than over-bleached and frizzy. Your hair will thank you!

Are you into babylights or sticking to balayage? Follow us on Pinterest for even more colorful hair inspo!

(Photos via @hairbycass)