I have had two hair-color disasters in my life. The first was when I attempted to color my hair mocha in the eighth grade and wound up with jet-black locks. My classmates quickly labeled me a Goth. My second experience was with a store-bought brand that promised natural-looking highlights. When I applied them, the bleach ran everywhere and left me with a top layer of orange hair. Imagine Carrot Top in a turtleneck. ¶ So when I hear about the hair-painting technique baliage (pronounced BALL-e-ahhj), it just sounds like a fancy word for my skunky highlighting experience. However, the owner of Lili salon, William Anderson, puts my doubts to rest. Unlike DIY highlighting kits, he explains, baliage uses a thicker, professional-grade formula and is applied by the steady, accurate hand of a trained colorist. ¶ Often, salon highlights are applied to strands and then wrapped with foils, which helps the color adhere to specific sections. While foils are precise because the colorist has more control, baliage is more unpredictable—the painted strands rest on top of the under layers of the hair and have the potential to transfer color. It’s a chemistry experiment, sure, but from William’s perspective, he’s able to select strands on my head that the sun would lighten, making the overall effect much more natural. ¶ After my hair is rinsed and dry, I can’t ask for anything better: The color is natural and warm, the glossy shine is eye-catching. I learned my lesson: This process was best left to the professionals.

WHAT: Baliage hair color

WHERE: Lili: A William & Friends Salon,
5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka, 952-935-5000,

TIME: about 1 hour

PRICE: $39 and up