The way you approach an espresso creation depends on the base you’re working with. There are two routes you can take to get their color piping hot, whether their hair is already dark or a lighter brown hue.
If They Have Dark Brown Hair:
Start by adding balayage to your client’s dark brown base. Use Blondor Freelights, which is specially designed to be smudge-proof in the face of freehand, foil-free painting techniques. Because you’re only applying a scattering of ribbons, be intentional with the placement of the lightener. Pick out pieces that will make their complexion glow or will enhance their cut and style.
After lifting their hair to the correct underlying tone – no more than two shades lighter than the base – rinse out the Freelights, and tone with a cool or caramel brown that matches the depth of the highlights. You could then finish their color with a root-to-tip glossing or glazing service, which will not only enhance your client’s base, but also help to blend the balayage.
If They Have Medium or Light Brown Hair:
Give your client a reverse balayage by adding lowlight panels to their hair in a dark brown shade. Your goal is to cover most of their lighter brown but leave a few ribbons free as highlights. You can do this with demi-permanent Color Touch, semi-permanent Color Fresh, or permanent Koleston Perfect or Illumina Color, depending on the finish they crave.
Then, when the reverse balayage has developed, shampoo it out before applying an all-over toner to enhance your client’s new brown tones and softly blend the lighter pieces they already had. Finishing with a glossing or glazing service will further boost shine, so don’t be afraid to add this step if their espresso needs some extra refinement.