Founded in France almost 40 years ago, the innovative Balayage technique has since become one of the most requested hair finishes throughout salons all over the world. This sophisticated hair colouring technique involves sweeping the hair with colour, allowing colourists to create a bespoke, dimensional hair finish for clients that creates the illusion of sun-kissed colour and provides an effortlessly cool look. With celebrities, such as Balayage devotee Sarah Jessica Parker, showing off the popular look, the technique soon became a trend that, since the 90’s, has steadily grew. Find out how you can use the beautiful Balayage technique within your colour services below.
Balayage step by step
Step one: It is essential that you conduct a client consultation to find out exactly what finish your client would like. We recommend that your client bring in photos of their desired look to help you clearly see which tones and colours they’d like. These can be from social media or from magazines. Balayage specialist Jack Howard suggests that, if you are struggling to decide which tone to choose for your client, it is best to ask them whether they wear silver or gold jewellery. Generally, those who wear gold will suit warmer tones and those who wear silver, cooler tones.
Step two: Brush through the hair and section into four quadrants, separating the hair with sectioning clips.
Step three: Starting at the nape, take a horizontal section of hair and scoop out a shallow U shaped section. The bigger the size of the U shaped section, the less the lightener will penetrate so consider this when aiming for a bolder look. Apply your chosen lightener to the outside of the section, beginning at the mid shaft. Then, using the tip of the Balayage brush, gently feather the lightener further up to the root line to ensure a softer penetration of colour near the scalp. This will create a natural transition of colour.
Step four: Once the back of the head has been completed, begin to lighten the front sections, taking a slight horizontal so the hair is angled back. Apply lightener to the mid shaft first, using the tip of the brush to feather lightener towards the scalp. Make sure you are delicate with your application near the hairline as this is the area your client sees most. For more control, sub-divide bigger sections into smaller sections. This will also help achieve a more defined look. Once the full head has been covered, leave the lightener to develop for the specified time – this tends to be approximately 50 minutes or until the hair has been lifted to the desired level.
Step five: After the lightener has developed, shampoo the hair, rinse and lightly towel dry.
Step six: It’s now time to apply your toning formula. Section the hair into three sections and apply the toning formula to the full head, ensuring the hair is evenly saturated. You can use your hands to ensure a thorough coverage. Make sure you leave finer hairs and baby hairs until last as these hairs will be effected quicker. Once applied, wait for the toner to process, checking the hair colour every 5-10 minutes.
Step seven: Thoroughly rinse the hair of the toning formula and apply your chosen post-colour treatment. Make sure you wait at least five minutes before rinsing the treatment out of the hair as this will give it enough time to seal the cuticles of the hair and promote long-lasting colour results.
Step eight: Style your client’s hair as desired.
Balayage top tips
The importance of the cut
The placement of the lightener should be dictated by your client’s haircut. Make sure you don’t drastically change your client’s length or style post Balayage as this may affect the finished look and cause the colour to look unbalanced.
Choose the right brush
It is a vital you choose a brush that allows you to add lightener to the hair with delicacy and ease. The Hair Tools angled balayage brush is a great option for this technique.
Don’t overdo it
Balayage is known to be subtle and sophisticated so make sure you don’t go over the top with colour application.
Not just for blondes
Remember, Balayage is for every hair colour. It is a commonly mistaken fact that this technique is only suited to blonde hair but Balayage can be used on all hair colours.