This "Ugly" ‘90s Hair Trend Is Making A Major Comeback

It works on any length and color.

Originally Published: 
Money piece highlights are a 2022 hair trend.

There are plenty of beauty trends that everyone wishes would have stayed in the past, and up until recently, chunky highlights held their rightful place on that lengthy list. But staying true to the Y2K style revival, money piece highlights are back — and they’re further proof that we should never be too quick to cast away even the most controversial trends.

Unlike the ash-blonde, blocky highlights that dominated the 2000s, today’s money piece highlights take up far less space and create a far less drastic contrast in hair hues. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a gorgeous money piece in dark hair, or a base of brown hair with a platinum blonde money piece. You just have to do it right. Marked by two notable colored sections in the front of the hair, with gentle highlights in surrounding areas, the look, as seen on celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa, Bella Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyoncé (to name a few), is here to give older methods like balayage some serious competition.

But there are quite a few things to consider before getting money pieces. These include finding a knowledgable colorist, determining how light is too light, and of course, discovering the appropriate styling needed to optimally frame your face. That's why TZR tapped two money piece experts and celebrity stylists to break down each aspect of the color trend.

What Are Money Piece Highlights?

"The 'money piece' refers to a coloring technique in which the front hairline is lightened to frame the face and freshen your overall hair color," Andrew Fitzsimons, hairstylist to Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, tells TZR. He says that the look is a more refined take on color jobs of the past. "Think of it as a less dramatic version of Ginger Spice's face-framing blond. Rather than a dramatic shift in color, it's your color, lightened."

"This brightens the entire look of your face," Christopher Kyle, a Baltimore-area hairstylist, says of the trend. "Elevating normal highlights or ombré techniques to the front of the hair, rather than all over, creates a more more sensual and refined style." And Fitzsimons agrees. "By focusing the lighter shade at just the front of the hairline, it creates an immediate frame for the face in a subtle yet head-turning way," he says. He also insists that it lends benefits to hair health. "It's a great way to refresh your look and lighten up your color without damaging it," he says. "Due to the amount of hair being processed being (far less than traditional highlights), the maintenance is a lot easier than lightening all of your hair. Anything that's easy to maintain is going to be a winner, which makes money pieces even more of a must-have."

How Money Piece Highlights Are Achieved

Seeing a knowledgable colorist who understands dimension for this style is key. The two most pronounced pieces don't undergo a completely different coloring process. Instead, the sections are simply toned to reach a lighter color, which keeps the money pieces and highlights throughout the rest of the hair somewhat cohesive. This emphasizes the face-framing front section while still maintaining a symmetrical look (especially if you part your hair in the middle).

Yet another reason to go to a professional is ensuring that the pieces are just the right size. "You don't want the money pieces to be too large or too small for your individual face shape," Fitzsimons says. He adds that you don't want to create too sharp of a contrast: "You definitely don't want the color to end up being too dramatically different from your natural color.” That said, while differences in color are clear, finding someone who knows how to strike a balance between separation and continuity is imperative. "No one wants ultra chunky blocks of color in the front,” " Kyle says. “Everything needs to marry and be as seamless as possible.”

Yes, You Can Have Money Pieces With Protective Styles

If you're not ready to color your own hair, good news: The style looks just as incredible on protective styles. Even better, you don't have to be a hair color specialist to make these styles work. Simply create three to five braids or twists on each side with a brighter color, and incorporate a few more strands around the rest of the head.

How Much Do Money Piece Highlights Cost?

The price you pay for your mane will always fluctuate based on where you are and whether you’re going to a high-end salon or somewhere more affordable. That said, you have the option of adding a money piece to your regular highlight appointment, or going in for just the money piece, celebrity colorist Aleksey Bishop of Nine Zero One Salon in Los Angeles tells TZR. “It varies between $100 to $200 for just the face frame, depending on the area you're in and the level of salon you’re going to,” he says, adding that you can expect to pay anywhere from about $200 to $600 for a full head of highlights that would include a money piece. “If you already have an appointment scheduled, whether it’s partial or full-head highlights, the way to achieve the same look [as a money piece] is just to ask for it to be a little brighter around the face,” he suggests.

Money Piece Maintenance

For more dramatic money piece looks — higher contrast, thicker sections, closer to the root — grow-out is going to be more evident than if your pieces are thinner and more blended. “If you’re wanting to upkeep and make it look as good as possible, the thicker money piece would require more maintenance, with an estimated time of about six to eight weeks [between appointments],” Bishop tells TZR. “If it’s a little thinner at the root, that can go anywhere from three to five months without needing it done,” he notes, adding that you will most likely want your touch up a little sooner.

According to Lorena M. Valdes, a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, you can get away with an even longer time between visits if you have your money piece shadow rooted and diffused. “[Money piece highlights] will last until it’s either grown out or diffused into a traditional highlight or balayage,” she explains. However you want to wear it, this trend is worth experimenting with as you freshen up your look for spring.

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