How to Master Your Balayage Technique
It’s time to brush up on your balayage technique. The trend for painterly, freehand highlights is constantly growing, meaning it’s more important than ever to know how to do a balayage flawlessly. Want in? Keep reading for Wella Professionals’ foolproof step-by-step, plus formulas from the pros who’ve been working with our extensive colour portfolio...
How to Do a Balayage
1. Count the Steps
First up, figure out if your client needs any root shading as well as balayage. If so, will you do the two colours at the same time or break them out into separate steps? As a general rule, a root smudge can usually be done at the same time as balayage, but you may need to tint and rinse the roots then add highlights for heavier gray coverage.
2. Find Your Formula
Whether you’re creating blonde highlights or a base for a colourful balayage, it’s likely your client’s hair will need some level of pre-lightening. We love using Blondor Freelights White Lightening Powder, which boasts a creamy consistency for easy spreading, making your freehand technique a speedy, breezy task. Plus, the adhesive mass ensures the formula stays exactly where you want it, so you don’t have to worry about bleeding if you’re not using foils.
3. Turn Up the Volume
Despite popular belief, a balayage can be done using foils. This technique is known as foilyage, and it results in a more luminous lift than open-air lightening. However, if you do decide to apply balayage foil-free, you may want to go for a higher volume of developer. This will ensure you still get plenty of lightness and lift.
4. Perfect Your Placement
Always start applying Blondor Freelights in the section where your client wants their balayage to be more intense. For example, if they want balayage to be most noticeable through the face-framing layers, it’s best to begin applying the colour here. This is because these sections will end up having the pre-lightener on them for the longest, so they’ll experience the highest level of lift. This is good news if clients want their toner to appear richer in certain sections, too, as the colour you apply on top will appear more vibrant in the places where the hair is palest.
5. Paint On the Pre-Lightener
You’ve found your formula, mixed it up and decided on a starting point. Now, it’s time to begin painting on balayage and perfecting your client’s highlights. The beauty of this technique is that there’s no hard and fast rule on how you apply. Instead of following a pattern, embrace your creativity and map out where you think the most flattering highlights will fall.
6. Lighten and Tone
When you’re lightening locks, it’s important you lift hair to the right level of underlying pigment. Otherwise, your toner will not be able to give you the result you’re looking for. For example, if you’re wanting to tone with an 8/69 you will need to lift the hair to the underlying pigment of an 8/0 – this is a soft “yellow”. If you want to tone with a 10/69, you will need to lift the hair to the underlying pigment of a 10/0 – this is a “palest yellow”. Once you’ve got your lightener and toner working in tandem, you’ll achieve the most flawless balayage.
Pumpkin Spice Balayage
Color Touch + Koleston Perfect
A: Color Touch 33/66 + Color Touch Emulsion 4%
B: Koleston Perfect 88/43 + Welloxon Perfect 1.9%
C: Koleston Perfect 6/34 + 0/43 + Welloxon Perfect 1.9%
A: Blondor Freelights + 6%
B: Illumina Color 9/60 + 9/
Blondor Freelights + Color Touch
A [roots to mid-shaft]: 6/0 + 6/7 + 1.9%
B [ends]: Blondor Freelights + 9%
C: 9/0 + 1.9%
Ice Blonde Balayage
How to Maintain Balayage
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. After perfecting your balayage technique, remind your clients how important it is to treat their freshly-coloured locks with care. Here are the top tips they should follow…
- Curate a haircare collection: They should be stocking up on nourishing products that promise to lock their colour down for longer, like INVIGO Color Brilliance Color Protection Shampoo. Pigment-depositing conditioners are also a must when you want color to look fresh, and INVIGO holds a range of them in blonde, brunette and red shades.
- Cool down on heat styling: We all know heated tools can cause shade fade, so recommend they air-dry hair when possible. If they can’t put the tongs down, EIMI Thermal Image heat protectant spray will safeguard strands while they’re styling.
- Go for a gloss: Suggest a Pure Glossing Service in between colour appointments. Not only does it remove brassiness, it also refreshes their balayage shade and injects a dose of shine.