Just when you thought you couldn’t highlight any more… the latest trend in hair colour: contouring.

Okay, so we’re all across the make-up version of contouring, and non-touring. But drop your make-up brush and pick up your phone (to call your hairdresser), because now your hair can be cleverly highlighted to accentuate your best facial features. No make-up required.

Essentially, hair contouring is a type of balayage. The technique involves free-hand colour application to certain areas of the hair to flatter your face. Following the same principals of facial contouring with make-up, the idea behind this trick is to enhance and soften facial features. Light shades of colour accentuate and brighten, while dark tones widen and create a shadowing effect. A permanent way to enhance your cheekbones? We’re sold.

Unlike the make-up version, a hair contour stays with you wherever you go. If done correctly, it can reduce the amount of makeup required, instead you rely on the complementary tones of hair colour used to highlight your features.

Your salon visit

This latest beauty trend is a bespoke style. If you’re requesting a contour colour from your hairdresser, you can expect a longer-than-normal appointment. Your individual face shape and bone structure will be considered, and your colourist will come up with a plan for placement of high and low colour placement.

What shape are you?

As a general rule, hair contouring follows a guide of seven recognised facial shapes: round, square, diamond, oblong, rectangle, heart and triangle. The aim of hair contouring (like make-up contouring), is to resculpt your face shape, and according to the hair gurus at L’Oréal Professional Paris, there are a few rules to follow in order to achieve a well-balanced, overall symmetry.

Round / square faces usually have wider features in which case it’s all about creating an elongated illusion of a slimmer face. Lightening the top of your hair while creating a shadow with darker shades around the face will add depth.

Diamond / Oblong / Rectangular faces needs to focus on deeper roots to create a shadow on the top of the head so the face is stretched horizontally. Underneath your hair, your roots and dark pieces weaved to the ends will allow the face to appear more oval.

Heart / Triangular faces are a little trickier as the shape needs to be softened while not taking away from the chin and forehead. Lighter pieces need to feature mid-length to ends, highlighting around the jawline. A darker shade on the crown is used to soften the top half of the face.

Think it’s worth a try? Here are some pics that prove just how effective a good hair contour can be.

By Talia Liolios , images via Harper’s Bazaar + L’Oréal Professionnel