It’s practically a law of the universe: If Beyoncé wears it — be it a dress, a lipstick, a hairstyle, or a bag — it shall trend. This past Sunday the 2022 Oscars opened with Beyoncé’s show-stopping rendition of “Be Alive”, her song from King Richard for which she was a Best Original Song nominee. As the stage lit up on Bey and her tennis ball-green-clad dancers (including Blue Ivy!), the only thing that rivaled her powerhouse vocals and unreal visuals was just how stunning she looked — especially her long, highlighted hair. Beyoncé’s colorist created “shadow highlights” for the singer, a multidimensional brightening technique designed to blend color through strategic placement and shape. Considering the pure power of the Beyoncé Effect, expect to see shadow highlights dominate salons and news feeds through the spring, summer, and well beyond.
Developed by top Hollywood colorist Rita Hazan, who also works with Mariah Carey and J.Lo, the technique involved Hazan concentrating the highlights around the hairline and ends for an illuminating effect, she tells TZR. “Shadow Highlights are the unique placement of multidimensional highlights that mimic how hair naturally lightens and brightens from the sun,” Hazan explains, adding, “The technique also gives the illusion of hair being thick and full. What’s unique about the lightening effect is that the look is very versatile and can be used on any shade of hair, any length, and any texture.”
That sun-kissed look is always a popular one for the warmer months, but Hazan’s clever placements mean the highlights never look streaky, harsh, or too sectioned-off from the rest of Beyoncé's warm, honey-blonde hair. “I lightened her base to make it a toffee blonde with ribbons of sunkissed bright highlights around the frame of her face and hairline,” she says, breaking down her exact technique. “I also placed highlights underneath so when she wears a ponytail, there is a color effect that is continuous throughout the entire look.”
Hazan confirmation that the technique is suitable for every hair color, meaning it’s easy to get in on the Mrs. Carter-approved trend. That said, she also tells Glamour that the key to shadow highlights is how bright, vibrant, and alive they look, meaning there will be some necessary dedication to maintenance if you’re looking to get a set of your own. Speak with your stylist to find out if the time and financial commitment work with your situation — but even if not, there are plenty of other Bey-cosigned highlight tricks to play around with, like her warm caramel money pieces from last summer.
Of course, considering Bey always moves at her own speed, regardless of trends, who knows what she and Hazan will come up with next? Knowing their creative pace, the pair could pull a full 180 by next week.