Some of us have been in quite a spin lately, wondering whether the time had truly come to say goodbye to our beloved two-tone locks (we've even been discussing whether balayage is dead!). All the while we’ve been desperately hoping that we could find a way to reinvent our top deck 'dos. (I know I'm not quite ready to give mine up just yet!)

Enter subtle balayage.

It's the new way to wear balayage - balayage 2.0 if you will - and it’s taking Hollywood and balayage heavyweights by storm. Until now, two-tone locks have always been about contrast - dark 'dos with lightened ends. But as we've evolved, so too has balayage - and it seems that right now, subtle lighter ends are all the rage.

Take Anita Briem from The Tudors. The Icelandic actress is rocking some serious subtle two-tonage and we are loving it. But what are the top tips for achieving this look on your own head?

TOP TIP TO ACHIEVE PERFECT SUBTLE BALAYAGE #1: Head in-salon.Trust me, with 'dos that aren't completely run of the mill it always pays to go to a professional. You can spend the time really explaining what you want and let them work their magic (and their whole selection of top-of-the-range products) on you. It's their job to get it right!

TOP TIP TO ACHIEVE PERFECT SUBTLE BALAYAGE #2: Bring photo aids.It's often well worth showing a hairdresser what you want rather than just telling them. That way there's little room for error. Bringing two or three images with you will help your hairdresser better understand your goal and talk through what the best options are for you.

TOP TIP TO ACHIEVE PERFECT SUBTLE BALAYAGE #3: Just two shades up.The buzz word in this trend is 'subtle' so try to keep it just that. You only want to go up to two shades lighter than your hair colour, otherwise it'll start to look obvious and that's not the goal.

TOP TIP TO ACHIEVE PERFECT SUBTLE BALAYAGE #4: Go crazy.The great thing about this new subtle brand of balayage is that you don't have to be so careful about where it's applied. As you can see on Anita Briem, she has her lighter hue reaching great heights around the front of her face and around her ears. Traditional balayge isn't meant to go that high, but when you're only going up to two shades lighter you can go a little nuts! Side note: keeping your lighter hue to the under layers of your hair is great for a really subtly sexy look - it means that each time you pop your hair behind your ear a la Anita Briem, you get a show-stopping shot of colour.

Do you like this natural new balayage look? Do you like to wear your locks loose - or do you prefer to rock an updo like the ballerina bun or braid?

More inspiration on bh:
- How-to: the braided ballerina bun
- How-to: the Lady Gaga hair bow

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