In a surprise to literally no one, Beyoncé is the inspo for fall’s biggest hair colour trend. Back in June 2019, Queen Bey set social feeds on fire when she posted a selfie rocking her perfectly coiffed honey waves with a new strip of face-framing blonde. Hairstylists dubbed the look the “money piece” and now, many months later, it’s earned a spot as one of the most sought-after hair looks. In recent months, the highlights have gained even more popularity after appearing on the enviable heads of Dua Lipa, Kylie Jenner, model Irene Kim and influencer Brittany Xavier, among other stars.
If you’re wondering if you can pull off this bold trend, you’re not alone (and psst—you totally can). We chatted up two hairstylists to get their take on the chunky highlight look and both agree, it’s pret-ty popular. Read on for expert tips on everything you need to know about money piece highlights, including the coolest hair colour combos and how to maintain your colour at home between salon visits.
What exactly are “money pieces”?
Remember those chunky highlights that were all the rage in the nineties? (If you didn’t live through it, you’ve no doubt seen the receipts on the internet: thick, evenly spaced out, symmetrical stripes of blonde on the likes of a young Jessica Simpson or Christina Aguilera.) The money piece hair trend of 2020 is an updated version of that that keeps the contrasting colour just around the face. Think highlights but instead of wispy, soft pieces all over the head, these are chunkier sections of hair that frame your face. The good news is there are lots of ways to rock a money piece. “While it can be done as solid root to end lightness [around the face], to create more of a statement, a softer version is done with the balayage technique and focuses on just a couple pieces at the hairline,” says Kristjan Hayden, a hairstylist with Civello Salon in Toronto. Adding a contrasting colour around the face, whether that’s lighter than your overall colour or a bold pop of pastel, accentuates your eyes and cheekbones. “It’s like a spotlight on the face,” says Hayden.
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What do I need to consider before getting money piece highlights?
Before any colour change, there is one major thing to consider: how healthy is your hair? “The condition of your hair is important because the last thing anyone wants is a damaged frame,” says Kevin Mancuso, NYC-based hairstylist and Global Creative Director at Nexxus. He explains that the hair that frames your face is the hair that endures the most abuse, so it’s essential to get that part of your mane in top shape before reaching for the dye. He suggests treating your hair to a deep-conditioning treatment the day before or the day of your appointment to restore moisture and strengthen weakened strands. “It will also help your hair make it through a professional or at-home colouring service [relatively] unscathed,” he says.
How big does the highlighted section of hair have to be?
While money piece highlights can work on everyone, they still need to be customized to suit individual needs, says Mancuso. When deciding on your money piece style and how much hair to section off, your hairstylist will consider your face shape, as well as the shape and style of your cut. As a general guideline, Hayden says that the lightened money piece section is similar in size to the area of hair that’s cut when getting curtain bangs. “Just like with cutting a fringe, it’s best advised by your colour technician how much hair you incorporate into your money piece,” he says. That being said, there’s no rule that your face-framing streaks have to be any specific size. You can really customize your style, depending on how much hair you colour. “Just remember, the bigger the section of hair, the bigger and bolder the colour band will be,” says Mancuso.
Can you get money piece highlights with any hair colour, even rainbow and pastel tones?
“Yes, there are no limits to the palette!” says Mancuso. Lightening up with blonde is common, but if you’re feeling more daring you can try a rainbow or pastel hue to add a pop of colour to your mane. Plus, both experts say that the trend doesn’t have to be ultra-high maintenance, as having a bit of root regrowth still looks great with any colour. “If you opt for the more solid version, I think it looks really cool and intentional when you get the line of regrowth like Dua Lipa,” explains Hayden. “Take it one step further and add creative colours if it suits your style, like a solid pastel.” If you’re tempted by a baby pink or lilac hue, reach for a temporary tint or semi-permanent dye as the colour will rinse out in anywhere from two to twelve washes. You can just section off your piece at the front and apply your colour. Pastel colours work best on blonde and lightened strands, but brunettes can still get in on the rainbow trend by using more saturated colours like navy and magenta for their highlights. One of Hayden’s favourite takes on this trend is adding a section of rich brown to a shiny black crown.
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Does this trend work on any hair length?
“This look can be worn on a lot of different hair lengths, as long as you have the length in your face-framing pieces,” says Hayden. Bobs, lobs, or any style that’s on the longer side will work well to showcase face-framing money pieces but he says that even shorter hairstyles, like shags and longer pixies, will work as long as there are long enough pieces around your face to hold the colour.
Can any hair texture rock money piece highlights?
Another yes! Both Hayden and Mancuso recommend this colour trend for all types of hair. For curly and textured hair, lighter pieces around the face will have the same shaping and highlighting effect as straighter or wavier hair types, Hayden explains. Look at Beyoncé, for example. Her blonde money piece looks A+ when she wears her hair in waves, braids and curls.
How do I maintain my chunky new hair highlights at home?
One of the best ways to maintain your new hue at home is stocking your shower with shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for dyed hair. “I always recommend using products for colour-treated hair if you want to maintain the tone and quality of your hair at home,” says Hayden. If you’ve lightened up with a blonde money piece, he advises a purple shampoo or conditioner to keep brassy tones at bay. “I often find that there’s more pigment in purple conditioners and the amount of toning is up to you, depending on how long you leave the conditioner in.”
Another tip for lightened hair is to swap out any brass or gold-coloured leave-in products for clear counterparts. This will ensure your blonde isn’t getting tinged by your amber-coloured oils and serums, ensuring your blonde stays vibrant and not doesn’t get brassy.
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As Mancuso previously mentioned, the hair that frames your face tends to receive the most damage, so treating your locks—especially the money pieces around your face—to an ultra-deep conditioning treatment a few times a month will boost your hair’s shine and health.
Lastly, turn down the heat on your hot tools. High temperatures can cause colour to lift from strands so keep your hair dryer and flat iron below 400 degrees Fahrenheit to minimize damage and keep your colour intact. In addition to hitting the cool switch, Mancuso recommends a heat protectant spray, cream or gloss to shield your strands from damage and to tame unwanted frizz.
Here are some of our fave colour-saving products for maintaining your money pieces:
AG Hair Colour Savour Sulfate-Free Shampoo, $24, aghair.com
AG Hair Colour Savour Sulfate-Free Conditioner, $24, aghair.com
Amika Bust Your Brass Blonde Purple Conditioner, $32, sephora.ca
Nexxus Color Assure Long Lasting Vibrancy Deep Moisture Hair Mask, $6, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots, $5 for a box of three, londondrugs.com
Moroccanoil All-in-One Leave-In Conditioner, $32, moroccanoil.com
Alterna My Hair My Canvas Glow For It Universal Gloss, $32, chatters.ca