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Modernizing Two Classic Techniques: Chunky Highlights and Color Blocking
By Tamar Slaughter, Product Club Educator (@Tayslaughterhair)

Chunky highlights and color blocking techniques are two trends that have become timeless due to the ever-evolving approach of placement. Although the days of zebra-stripe, chunky highlights are long gone, more modern ways to perform these types of techniques have been developed. Today, these techniques align more with the current trend of creating lived-in, seamless color placement.

Extreme color blocking, where one section of the head is one color and the other section is another color, is also outdated. However, selecting sections of hair that will emphasize brightness, depth, or having a little fun with peek-a-boo vivid colors are all the rage. A combination of these techniques is often used to create a result that keeps this approach to hair coloring relevant. 

Here are some modern approaches to using chunky highlights and color blocking to enhance the impact of any color application.

A hand separates the hair of a model that has just had some accents put in their hair.


A quick way to assure your face framing highlights have seamless, maximum impact is to use triangular partings. 

  1. First, create a wide peace sign with your pointer and middle finger. Now place those two fingers at the hairline - starting where the hair naturally divides, with your palm facing the crown of the head. 
  2. Section out the triangle parting that has been created. Whether you are using balayage, color melting, large weaves, or a combination of all three, the technique you choose to create your chunky highlights on this color blocked area is completely up to you. 
  3. Repeat this “Peace Sign Parting Technique” as far down (both sides of the front hairline) as desired, and just like that you will brighten up your client’s face! 

Tool Spolight:

Paint Brush/ Balayage Brush: Product Club’s paint brushes and balayage brushes make it so easy to create seamless strokes of brightness when highlighting the hair. The diffused ends of the bristles eliminate any possibility of creating a hard line of demarcation and the sturdiness of the bristles assures even saturation on each section of hair.


One of the challenges colorists face when coloring highly textured hair is making sure the color isn’t swallowed up by all those gorgeous curls. To avoid this situation, create a 2” zig-zag horizontal parting, starting at the nape and working up and around the circumference of the head. Within each section, create triangle partings using the “Peace Sign Parting Technique” you just learned. Color melt two large weaves within your peace sign partings, and color melt each section with your base tone and highlighting formulations. For a varied, high impact, alternate the point where the base tone of your color melt ends, and the highlight begins. For a subtle and more radiant result, alternate the peace sign sections with a chunky weave color melt and a base tone low-light from roots to ends.


The technique mentioned above is a wonderful strategy to use for color blocking highly textured hair. Using zig-zag partings, simply section out the area of the head you want to focus your application on.

Tool Spolight:

Thermal Wraps: Product Club thermal wraps eliminate the number one challenge colorist face when trying to manage and color highly textured hair. What is that? Curls spring back!  Because it is so difficult to elongate the curl pattern in textured hair, it almost impossible to ensure that each section gets fully saturated with haircolor.

Thermal wraps are a great solution to this problem. As soon as the moisture from the hair color comes in contact with the wrap, the hair will adhere to it, allowing you to successfully stretch that curl pattern and see your application. These wraps allow you to highlight all hair textures easily. 

A beautiful finished look of a peek-a-boo high/low light.


Another great way to incorporate color blocking using chunky highlights is to create vertical, triangular partings horizontally across the head, between the low crown and the occipital bone. Now use the “Peace Sign Parting Technique” to have fun with vivid color that’s not too overwhelming. It’s also a quick and seamless way to add brightness or depth in this area and it assures you get the impact you want without a stripy result.

Tool Spotlight:

Balayage Board: The Product Club balayage board is great for maintaining control of the hair when using vertical partings for color placement. The curvature of the board fits flush around the circumference of the head and the board itself provides a solid surface that ensures consistent, even color saturation for each section you are coloring and/or highlighting.

Older techniques get changed and modernized over time to fit in with current haircolor trends and styles. You can continue utilizing these all-time favorite, retro techniques in a way that keeps your client’s style current, but still authentic to who they are at heart.

Tamar Slaughter, Product Club Educator

Follow Tamar (@tayslaughterhair) and Product Club (@productclub) for more expert tips on social media, salon ownership, and hair color education!

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