If you thought face contouring can only be achieved with makeup, you may have to think twice now. Hair Contouring (HC) is the latest beauty phenomenon trending worldwide, and it’s not surprising why. HC can accentuate your best facial features and enhance your natural skin tone simply through a customised hair cut and colour!  It’s certainly good news for those who are too lazy, or do not have the time for makeup contouring.

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What is hair contouring?

Launched by LÓréal Professionnel, HC is a customised hair transformation service that uses cut and colour techniques to create dimensions and thus enhance your facial features and skin tone. Whether you have angular jawlines that you want to soften or a broad forehand that you want to hide, hair contouring has the perfect solution for it. According to your preference, stylists will tailor their cut and colour to frame your face – darker tones can create shadows and are used to shorten or narrow the face shape, while lighter tones elongate and lengthen the face shape by reflecting light. The optical illusion that comes with this technique will enhance your appearance – all without the application of makeup!

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The launch of hair contouring is helmed by a celebrated hair stylist from Australia, Caterina Di Biaise, who has many awards under her belt, including being named Australian Hairdresser of the Year for three times. She shares with us the goal of HC: “I think the key thing about Hair Contouring, is that people should just say, ‘Wow, you look great’. It should be subtle, just like how makeup contouring is. When you contour your face with makeup, you don’t see the harsh lines. At the end, you just see that you look better. So contouring with the hair is the same, you look better without being too dramatic.”

Explaining how HC works, Caterina says that it’s all about bringing out the best points and hiding the weak points. “You use a light colour to lift and lighten and a darker colour to shrink and cover. It’s similar to how women wear certain types of clothes to make them look slimmer or to bring out their body shape,” she explains.

When you visit one of the L’Oreal Professional salons like Salon Vim and Kimage (more salons listed at the end of the article), and are intending to have HC done, Caterina advises that you communicate to your stylist in this way: “It’s important that you know what you like or do not like about your face shape, and to communicate that to your hairdresser and say – I don’t like my chin, I’ve got a strong jaw, I’d like to do something to hide it.”

After the hair service is done, if you’d like to maintain the look (after all, it’s the look best suited for your face shape!), you’ll probably have to revisit your salon every six to eight weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows.

My Hair Contouring experience

My HC was arranged to be done by Irene Chai, L’Oreal Professional’s ID Artist and General Manager of NK Hairworks. As Irene is an experienced hair stylist who was even personally trained on HC by Caterina di biaise, I knew my hair was in safe hands!

HC consultation

The HC session started off with a consultation that involved three simple steps:
1) Identification of skin tone level,
2) Identification of under tone, and
3) Identification of face shape.

Irene said that I have a fair skin tone, a neutral tending to cool undertone, and a heart-shaped face structure (this meant that my cheek area is slightly wider than the hairline and then drops into a pointed chin). There are 6 major categories of face shapes: Round, Square, Oblong, Rectangular, Diamond, and Heart. You can do a quiz to find out your face shape here!

To contour my face to achieve a more ideal “oval” face shape, Irene told me that she would divide my hair into a few portions and use a total of five different colours on my hair! The top of the head would receive a mocha ash brown colour, the mid length would receive a darker shade (to specially contour the cheek area), and the ends would receive a dark ash colour. She would also use two different highlights on my hair to create volume in certain areas, like the back of my head (which she says is flatter), and the fringe area, to make my forehead not appear as short.

Irene started by highlighting certain portions of my hair, followed by the colouring:

highlighting hair

After letting the colour set for about 20 minutes, we proceeded for a wash and hair treatment, followed by a hair cut to complement the hair colour in the contouring.

The verdict

The colours that Irene has chosen blends perfectly into my hair to create an extremely wearable and natural look that also complements my skin tone. An added bonus is how my hair colour looks different under various lightings because of the five different colours and highlights.

different shades of hair colour

In my opinion, one of the best thing about HC is how it is so personalised. Like Caterina suggested, you can let your stylist know what you want, but if like me, you feel that you’re in trusted hands, simply sit back and let your hair stylist decide! Here’s a before and after (three days) photo:

before and after HC

My hair used to be a very non-uniform brown (as I often self-dyed my hair) and my fringe has not been very cooperative ever since I tried to grow out my bangs. But I think HC has saved it all. I can only say that I’m extremely satisfied with the results and I’ll definitely do HC again after my hair grows out!

This service is priced from SGD150 (depending on hair lengths and colour) and is exclusively at L’Oréal Professionnel salons like Salon Vim, Salon #1 , NK Hairworks, Formula Cut, Hair Inn, Toni & Guy, Pro Trim, Apgujeong, Kimage, and Crescendo.

NK Hairworks has eight outlets island-wide. This writer visited the Plaza Singapura outlet which is located at #B1-14, Plaza Singapura.