Money piece hair is having a revival and it’s the easiest way to undergo a hair refresh without committing to a full color transformation. Spotted everywhere, from A-listers to TikTok influencers, chunky streaks of contrasting color continue to be a popular choice in salons.
“As we all know, '90s hair trends have made a comeback and the money piece technique was a staple look, seen on celebrities like Geri Halliwell and Jennifer Aniston,” says Adam Reed, editorial ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel. By carefully placing highlights in hair, “you can utterly transform your look, adding depth and dimension while complementing your facial features.” Made popular by stars such as Beyoncé, Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid—stylists have recently seen a rise in requests for money piece hair.
“A gorgeous, custom money piece is achievable on all hair textures, cuts, and colors and can even be tailored to enhance bangs hairstyles,” says Reed, who adds that “the adaptability of this color technique further explains why this trend will only grow in popularity with clients this year.” Here, we break down everything you need to know about money piece hair, including ideas and inspiration.
Money piece hair: Everything you need to know
What is money piece hair?
“The money piece hair trend is a color technique that involves lightening strands around your face to create a face-framing, sun-kissed look that it is completely customizable," explains Reed. “Strands can be lightened by a few shades for a seamless, subtle lift, or be bold and opt for a chunky money piece that contrasts against the rest of your color.”
The best part? This technique requires minimal effort and a speedy salon visit. “If your money piece starts at the root you may want to stay on top of regrowth,” says Emma Vickery, colorist at Percy & Reed, “but as the color is only applied to a small section, the service is quick and maintenance is economical.” To maintain the health of your hair, invest in one of the best hair masks and apply it weekly.
As this hair trend has evolved, Reed notes that trendsetters are becoming even more creative, saying,"I often see clients now opting for a blue or red money piece or even blending their money piece into their balayage or highlights.”
Can brunettes have money piece hair?
“Absolutely! Despite misconceptions that this technique is only suitable for blondes, a money piece works well with all hair colors,” assures Reed. “Brunettes can ask their pro for a honeycomb or caramel color to create warm-toned face-framing pieces or opt for a cool-toned, ashy color to add depth and dimension.” When going lighter, Vickery suggests “asking for a treatment in-salon, like Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate, that protects the hair and prevents breakage.”
For Zoe Irwin, John Frieda Salons' creative director, it’s all about color placement. “Money pieces work best when used with balayage for brunettes,” says Irwin, “as you place the color through the mid-lengths and ends, rather than from the roots.” This helps to create a natural look that will continue to look good as it grows out. Feeling brave? “Some of my favorite hair appointments are when a client goes for a daring, bold color such as blue or purple around the face,” says Reed, “these colors are great options for darker brunettes.”
Does a money piece work with highlights or balayage?
According to Vickery, it will work with both techniques—it’s just a case of considering the client’s natural base color and their expectations. “With warmer weather around the corner, a money piece blended into highlights or balayage is a gorgeous way to give your hair a natural summer glow,” says Reed. So there's no need to choose between highlights vs balayage with the money piece hair.
After some inspiration? “Take your cue from Beyonce’s honeycomb highlights or Hailey Baldwin’s cool-toned babylights to create a subtle, effortless money piece that blends into a full head of highlights or balayage,” says Reed.
Money piece hair inspiration: 12 looks we love
"When visiting the salon, It's best to have pictures of what you are hoping to achieve, so everyone is on the same page," suggests Irwin. Take inspiration from our favorite money piece looks below.
1. Brown hair with money pieces
If you have naturally dark hair, ask your stylist to paint on warm, honey blonde money piece highlights to create a soft contrast that looks sun-kissed.
2. Fiery red money piece highlights
Blonde may be the most popular choice for money piece hair, but this technique works equally well with bold red and copper tones. Take your cue from supermodel Bella Hadid.
3. Micro money piece highlights
For a subtle take on this hair color trend, ask your stylist for ultra-thin babylights to frame the face—as opposed to chunky pieces. The overall look is softer and more natural.
4. Blonde balayage money piece hair
Chunky money pieces can complement blonde balayage blurring by brightening and softening the facial features while blending into the balayage.
5. Grey money piece hair
Whether you're transitioning to grey hair or fancy giving silver strands a go, add dimension with platinum money pieces and soft lowlights.
6. Colour block money piece hair
For maximum impact, take inspiration from Dua Lipa with contrasting bleach blonde money pieces against a full head of dark brown hair.
7. Curly money piece hair
Money piece highlights can add even more dimension to curly hairstyles. To make it really pop, opt for brighter blonde shades and ask your stylist to hand paint the color on to follow your natural curl pattern.
8. Auburn money piece highlights
For a soft contrast, opt for a money piece shade that’s closer to your base hair color and use this tone to add highlights throughout. Auburn and dark brown work especially well together.
9. Strawberry blonde money pieces
For low maintenance color, ask your stylist for subtle balayage highlights and micro money pieces in a similar shade to your overall hair color that can forgo a touch-up for months.
10. Money piece bangs
A totally versatile color trend, not only can you experiment with different tones and application techniques—but you can also wear this trend with curtain bangs.
11. Ombré hair with money piece highlights
Ombré hair, where darker roots gradually blend to lighter ends, can be elevated with face-framing highlights in the same light tone to add softness to the overall look.
12. Ash blonde money piece hair
Natural low lights paired with chunky bright money pieces create the ultimate beachy look. Invest in one of the best purple shampoos to brighten the color whenever it starts to dull.
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Emma Stoddart is a freelance beauty journalist and self-confessed skincare aficionado with over five years’ industry experience. Emma has worked for some of the UK’s top women’s titles including Net-A-Porter, Stylist and Grazia. Her experience spans online and print as well as producing editorial shoots with some of the industry’s biggest artists, including Val Garland. Asides from working with them behind the scenes, she’s also had the chance to interview the likes of Patrick Ta, Pat McGrath, and Sam McKnight for all their insider tips and tricks.
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