Dr Feelgood: Can highlights work on dark hair?

Your weekly health and beauty check-up

Under the microscope: 'Uplighting': a new highlighting technique that promises natural-looking colour

In theory: Sun-kissed hair is a summer goal of blondes and brunettes alike, and at this time of year the focus is on all things natural, so the idea is to appear as if you've been hanging out at the beach, not the salon. Traditional highlights look too perfect, so Daniel Hersheson colourist Sibi Bolan developed "uplighting" – strands are backcombed before dye is brushed on a few centimetres from the root, resulting in soft, broken streaks of blonde. Alexa Chung is already a devotee.

In practice: Sibi cast her gaze over my eye colour and skin tone before deciding on the appropriate shade of caramel blonde for my medium-brown hair and painting on the colour in five minutes – much quicker than the foil-wrap process.

Observations: The effect really is comparable to adding a few uplighters to a room – nothing radical, just a soft, warm glow.

Analysis: As a brunette who has spent years requesting "natural" highlights and getting Geri Halliwell stripes circa 1998, it's a relief to find an approach to colour that reflects contemporary beauty trends. The fact that the colour is applied a little way from the root means regrowth isn't a pressing concern and will, in fact, only add to the artfully dishevelled effect.

Prescription: For dark blondes and brunettes who favour a low-maintenance look but want to soup up their tresses.

Further experiments: This technique is currently exclusive to Hersheson salons (from £65, www.danielhersheson.com) but is sure to filter through the industry. If you can't wait, try Aveda's enhancing shampoos – one of the few products to make a difference (www.aveda.co.uk).

SCORES: 1 STAR PLACEBO, 2 STARS STICKING PLASTER, 3 STARS OVER-THE-COUNTER REMEDY, 4 STARS SHOULD BE AVAILABLE ON THE NHS, 5 STARS MIRACLE CURE

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