Ask The Experts: What are Ribbon Highlights? November 24, 2018 08:04

Take a guess at what ribbon highlights look like– and you’d probably be right. They are cascading ribbons of hair that are highlighted in a different colour than the base colour.

Known in the industry for her extensive background in training and education, as well as being a Master Stylist at Morgan & Morgan Hair Collective since 2001, Jennifer Morgan is the go-to girl with any colouring conundrum and her passion and skill set are enviable in the hairdressing community.

So in this blog we ask her to explain this new highlighting technique thats trending right now, including what they are, how to get them and the best ways to maintain this pretty hair colour trend

It seems like there is a new hair colour trend every week. From shadow roots, to pearl blonde to mushroom brown, it can be overwhelming. But, the latest one to surface—ribbon highlights—is a special hair colouring technique that I think will stick around.
While the ombrè trend was all about having darker roots that faded into lighter ends, the idea behind the ribbon technique is a solid base of colour with contrast of a lighter hue running through it like—you guessed it—a ribbon.



Similar to the balayage technique, ribbon highlights add depth and dimension to hair, but the highlights aren’t concentrated on just the ends of the hair.

The ribbon highlighting method goes like this: begin with a solid color base, then weave a lighter hue throughout the entirety of the hair in ribbon-like pieces.

The result creates a gorgeous contrast between light and dark pieces that, especially when styled with a curling iron, resemble ribbons! Instead of the highlight being heavy on the ends of the hair, the lighter-coloured ribbons twist throughout the full length of the hair (whether you have shorter or long hair).


Since this highlighting technique involves colouring full strips of hair, from grown-out roots through to the ends, you’ll need an appointment with one of our colourist to get the look. You’ll also want to keep in mind that achieving a ribbon-like look could require some highlights or lowlights.

If your hair is already a lighter brunette or blonde shade, you’ll have to add in some darker hues in order to achieve a little contrast. As always, with any new hair colour, you’d be smart to bring in a picture to give your colourist a better idea of what you’re going for.


Whenever you try out a new colour trend, you should also adjust your hair care routine to best suit and maintain your new ‘do.

For ribbon highlights, actually, for any type of highlights, you’ll want to use a colour-safe shampoo and conditioner system, like the Blonde Me Care range, this particular system is colour-safe and sulphate-free. Or we have BC Colour Freeze which uses super gentle micellar technology to gently cleanse.

You should also aim to use a hair mask two to three times per week. Use one that coordinates with your shampoo and conditioner, such as the Blonde Me Repair Mask


Now that you're the proud owner of ribbon highlights, you’ll want to pair them with hairstyles that show off your beautiful new colour. We’ve got a couple of ideas, below.


As we mentioned earlier, one of the prettiest ways to style your new ribbon highlights is with a good old-fashioned curling iron or even large hot rollers.

The look to go for: large, loose waves. Before you pick up your hot tools, be sure to prep your hair with a heat protectant, like the OSiS Flatliner, which provides heat protection up to 220 degrees. Once you have your loose curls in place, use a bit of hairspray, like the OSiS Volume Up, to ensure that your look will last.


Another great way to show off the dimension of ribbon highlights is with simple, air-dried locks that have a bit of texture. After you get out of the shower, scrunch through something like BC Hyaluronic Curl Complete. You don’t even need to reach for your blow-dryer—just let your locks dry naturally and scrunch up your ends a bit if you’ve got naturally straight hair.