Celebrity colorist Tracey Cunningham is over this hot hair trend
Early-2000s trends came back with a vengeance in 2021, with a rising number of stars reaching for low-rise jeans, butterfly clips and other nostalgic styles.
But as we enter a new year, there’s one trendy Y2K look Redken Celebrity Colorist Tracey Cunningham hopes to leave in the past: Chunky highlights.
“I’ve seen so many young celebrities pull it off well in 2021, but in all my years of being a colorist, I always go back to a technique I call ‘babylights,’” said Cunningham, whose A-list clients include Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry and the Kardashian-Jenners.
Rather than the trendy, stark streaks of color recently seen on the likes of Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid, Cunningham told Page Six Style she prefers a subtler look using “super fine highlights.”
“[Babylights] can give the look of overall brightness and dimension, but no one will ever know if they were achieved in the salon or if you were just lucky enough to be born with great hair color,” she said of the technique, which she’s used to lighten the locks of Dakota Johnson, Jennifer Garner and Katharine McPhee Foster.
Although the resurgence of chunky highlights was hardly a highlight of the year for Cunningham, seeing celebrity clients back in her chair certainly was. In addition to getting stars glammed up for red carpets, magazine shoots and everything in between, she was also “honored” to color Paris Hilton’s hair for her November nuptials.
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“Paris’ signature blonde was perfected with highlights, but we did a root smudge — a darker tone at the root — to keep the look natural,” Cunningham explained of Hilton’s hue, adding that the star’s mother, Kathy Hilton, instead “likes a bit of dimension” and opted for “a combination of highlights and lowlights.”
Another major blond moment of 2021, so to speak? Khloé Kardashian posting a rare photo of her natural hair texture in December. While the bright, bouncy curls came as a surprise to some, Cunningham knew it was just the star embracing her true color.
“Khloé’s hair … has a natural wave, so when that picture surfaced … it’s the Khloé I know — her best blond with those sexy curls,” said the hair color expert. “Of all her family, Khloé’s hair is the lightest starting level, so the blond she’s been wearing so beautifully as of late is only taking her natural hair color up a notch, which is why it looks so fabulous.”
While Kardashian’s latest look is all about enhancing her natural shade, Cunningham has also helped her superstar clients experiment with dramatically different hair colors this year — including Chrissy Teigen, who tried out pale pink tresses in April.
“It doesn’t have to be dramatic, but seeing how revitalized my clients like Chrissy feel when they leave the salon chair after a fresh service proves how impactful feeling good about yourself can be,” Cunningham said.
“I do love when clients come in wanting a big change – it makes my job so exciting.”
According to Page Six