Color Me Pretty (and Eco-Friendly)

Remember when people used to get highlights with a cap? We still can’t believe we subjected our locks to such horrifying trauma. Stylists would place the cap over our heads, and use a hook to poke through the plastic and lace (more like rip) our hair out the other end. It left us looking like a Chia pet with broken strands everywhere. Not to mention the tangles. What a nightmare!

Then along came foils. Foils are pain-free and gentler on the scalp. They also keep hair tidy while the dye does its job, and the heat lamp interacts with the foil to speed up the color process. But while you wait, you risk looking like a satellite, or like your mom trying to get a tan by the pool in the ’60s. Not to mention the waste. You can’t recycle that stuff.

The next innovation in hair color is Balayage.

Haven’t heard of it? It’s a European type of hair coloring that doesn’t use foils. Stylists simply paint the color on dry hair using a paint brush, and the results are spectacular. We had our first Balayage experience last weekend at Mizu at the Mandarin Oriental.

Our stylist, Caroline Robert (who has the cutest French accent and a lovely personality), sat us down to explain the process. She mixed two different dyes, then painted the color onto our dry strands in an alternating pattern. No foils needed. Just clips and an expert touch with the brush. It didn’t hurt that Robert is also a painter.

The process was quick, gentle, and didn’t cause any needless waste. Plus, we didn’t have to worry about anyone gawking at us metal-heads through the clear glass windows of the salon. After a cut and a blow dry, we were amazed at how natural our color looked. You couldn’t even tell we had a dye job.

Now that’s what we call hair artistry.

Mizu, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 800 Boylston St., 617-585-6498,