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Last updated: January 24, 2018

Skinlights: The Face-Brightening Highlight Technique

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Face contouring is now basically required when you’re getting glam, so take a little shortcut with skinlights, a highlight technique that creates major pops of blonde where they matter most (think the jawbone and clavicle). We have every tip to make it happen from Joico Guest Artist Zoe Carpenter (a blonding specialist who also colors the cast of HBO’s “Westworld”), plus a styling how-to from Nine Zero One Salon’s Florido (whose client list includes Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber). Keep reading for the info!


BTC spent the week with Joico at the brand’s first-ever Global Destination Education in Punta Cana, where 1,000 hairdressers from 28 countries came together for education, inspiration and some major fun. Zoe’s skinlights technique fascinated us, so we jumped at the chance to do some hotel room hair and get her and Flo LIVE for all of you to watch her transform BTC Managing Editor Lauren. The videos are FULL of information, so give it a watch after you read the tips!


Making it work in the hotel room at Joico Destination Education in Punta Cana. Zoe and Florido color and style many celebs, so they are used to hotel room hair!





Lauren dreams of being totally blonde but as a natural Level 5 (with some sparkly gray hairs) with Level 9/10 ends, it’s been a long process to avoid too much damage. Zoe knew skinlights would make Lauren feel even more blonde without having to do a full head of back-to-back highlights—this technique is a total salon moneymaker.


The Technique

So what ARE skinlights?

  • Skinlights sit directly on the face and follow the angle of the hairline.
  • Lightener is placed in areas that sometimes are neglected in traditional foil highlights, like the nape.
  • Target sections by thinking about where the hair will lay—for example, the hair behind the ear will flow around to the jawbone and lay on the clavicle.
  • “Back-to-back slices give heavy dimension and super-thin sections give a more natural look,” Zoe said.


The Tools

Zoe uses these four things to achieve the perfect skinlights:

  • Joico Blonde Life Powder Lightener, which does not expand or dry out in foils.
  • 10-volume developer, because low and slow processing is what creates healthy blondes.
  • Very light foils, because heavy foils will slide and cause bleeding.
  • A small color brush and a plastic tail comb with some weight, which help take super-fine sections and allow for better feathering of the lightener.


Pro Tip: Zoe did not tone Lauren because she wanted to maintain some warmth, but keep reading for her favorite toning formulas and products!


Products Used


The Process


1. Begin in the back at the nape and take a super-fine slice (so fine that you can see the foil through the slice).



2. Paint on the lightener, using a small brush to feather it up toward the root.



3. Do three to four slices back-to-back, then move up the head, around the ear.



4. Work along the angle of the hairline. Do not take any horizontal sections. 



5. Work up the hairline to the part, then repeat on the opposite side.



Pro Tips:

  • Work directly on the skin and leave no hair out between foils.
  • Remember to work in thin sections. “Taking a huge chunk of hair in a foil will create bleed marks and uneven saturation,” Zoe said.
  • Zoe didn’t tone Lauren to maintain some of the warmth in her blonde, but does recommend two toning formulas for those who desire a cooler tone:
    • Equal parts Joico Vero K-PAK Color in TSB + 20-volume developer: “This is perfect for a client with super-dark hair with a little yellow. It lifts out the yellow, pushes in the silver and creates a beautiful Khaleesi blonde,” Zoe said.
    • Joico LumiShine Demi-Permanent Liquid 9NV: “You know how you can’t walk away from a violet toner because things could go gray? It’s safe to walk away with LumiShine 9NV and it looks beautiful.”


The Style

Florido gave Lauren a great blowout to show off those pops of blonde.


1. Spray damp hair with Joico Blonde Life Brightening Veil for protection from thermal styling, UV exposure and humidity (perfect when you’re in steamy Punta Cana!). Distribute Joico K-PAK Restorative Styling Oil through the hair for added smoothness.



2. Blow-dry with a round brush. Flo starts around the perimeter first. “If you let the hair around the face dry on its own, you sometimes get a little kink,” he said.



3. When the hair is completely dry, shake up Joico Beach Shake, have her flip her hair upside-down and generously spray for dry texture with a satin finish.







Watch The Full Processes!


Video 1: Skinlights Technique With Zoe


Video 2: Styling With Florido

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