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Best Kept Secrets for Low Maintenance Summer Hair Color

by June 02, 2021

Best Kept Secrets for Low Maintenance Summer Hair Color_

Image by Madison Reed

Summer... long days full of lazing about in the sun, staying up too late, sleeping in even later. Even if you can’t indulge in a more laidback schedule, you can—and probably do—indulge in a more carefree approach to your day to day. More ice cream, maybe? Less makeup (or none)? The last thing you want to do during your summer is maintain something, much less your hair color, which is why we’ve come up with 5 of our best kept secrets for low maintenance hair color.

Low Maintenance Balayage

It’s summer, the season of lighter, blonder, highlighted hair. Hopefully you’re too busy with vacations, beachtime, pools, and bbqs to spend time keeping up with traditional highlights, which is why we recommend highlights’ low maintenance beautiful cousin: balayage.

Low Maintenance Balayage Highlights

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Traditional highlights are placed close to the scalp, lightening the hair from the roots to the ends for an all-over highlighted look. Because the placement is more precise and much more obvious as it grows out, you need to get them done about every 6-8 weeks. Balayage, on the other hand, is usually applied a few inches from the scalp. The look is softer, more natural, with highlighted pieces starting at the mid-lengths of hair and growing lighter toward the ends. Unlike traditional highlights, balayage grows out easily, and you can go for as long as you want without ever touching it up. 

On our blog you can read more about the differences between balayage and highlights.

The best news about balayage is you can actually do it yourself at home. Check out our Light Works® Balayage Highlighting Kit—easy peasy stunning summer highlights. Or you can always visit a Madison Reed Hair Color Bar for a highlights service done for you.

Another super-ultra low maintenance option for going lighter is to try just a few face framing balayage highlights. The look is universally flattering, and greatly minimizes any need for touch ups. Blondes should go just a few shades lighter, and brunettes can try a caramel hue just a few shades lighter to celebrate the warmer, sunny season.


Of course you might not want to go lighter, but you still crave a seasonal low maintenance hair color change. So if you’re not interested in balayage highlights, what about lowlights? Lowlights are a great option for anyone wanting to add depth and dimension to enhance color. Since the variation in color is subtle and applied to mid-lengths and ends similar to balayage, it can be grown out gracefully so you don't have to worry about hair color maintenance.

Woman with low maintenance summer hair color

The beauty of lowlights is that they can be applied to any hair color. Simply choose a hair color shade 1-2 levels darker and possibly of a slightly different tone than your base color. For example, if you have red hair, you can make your color pop by choosing another red a few shades darker. If you’re a blonde, choose a shade slightly darker and maybe with a different tone (warmer or cooler), and if you’re a brunette, the same goes. It’s truly a super easy, ridiculously low maintenance way to add oomph to your hair without a lot of upkeep.

Blend of Low Maintenance Highlights and Lowlights

Highlights, let’s talk graylights. Yes, this is a thing. And yes, we are here for it. Especially during the summer, when you might be tired of the upkeep of covering any grays. For a truly low maintenance hair color for gray hair, try graylights. It is a new trend of blending lowlights and highlights by mixing your grays and non-grays together.. This technique is best used on hair that is less than 50% gray. The key here is in freehand painting on both the lowlights and highlights naturally, almost haphazardly, starting a few inches from the roots so that you don’t get a severe line of demarcation. This lends itself to a natural-looking grow out, and a seamless smattering of hair color, depth and tone.

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Seriously—tortoiseshell. If the name is off-putting to you, then rest assured, it’s also called écaille, which is French for—you guessed it—shell. Like balayage, the écaille tortoiseshell hair color trend is a freehand hair color technique which lends itself to a natural, low maintenance grow out.

Woman with low maintenance summer hair color

With this technique, different shades are blended together to create a calico of similar colors. Featuring moodier depth and warm tones such as golden blonde, chestnut, mahogany, honey, and chocolate, the look uses upwards of 3 tones that give strands rich life and brilliance. The result is delicious, seemingly complex but also incredibly low maintenance.

Glosses and Root Touch Ups

Ah yes–the quick fix cheats of the hair color world. Seriously, though, a good root touch up powder can instantly disguise grays or grown out roots, and can help you stretch your time between coloring by weeks, if you want. And a gloss can also extend time between coloring, giving your hair color a boost of color and much-needed shine (which is often necessary in the summer due to the sun and swimming). Another lazy but lovely hair product we love? Color Therapy color depositing hair masks. Just 5 minutes in the shower and you've got refreshed tone, color, and seriously hydrated hair. We love these products any time of year, but especially during the long, lazy days of summer.

UV Protection...for Your Low Maintenance Hair Color

Yep, protecting your hair against the sun and other environmental stressors is important, especially during the summer. You want to use a Color Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner always, and bonus points if your styling products also offer UV protection. 

So what else is on your summer bucket list? Fireflies? Skinny dipping? Road trips and s’mores? Whatever it is, we hope you enjoy those longer days without worrying about your hair color maintenance. It’s going to be a gorgeous summer.