Balayage is one of the hottest trends in hair color. A freehand painted technique, it allows the hairstylist to show off their creativity behind the chair. When it comes to technique, practice (and consultations) always make perfect. So keep reading for a few of our top tips about what balayage is and how to get the perfect finish.
Tip #1: Don’t provide your client with false promises or unrealistic expectations
If your client is looking for a major change, balayage may not be the right choice. A proper balayage job looks naturally sun-kissed and seamless—if a client is looking for something more dramatic or wants high levels of lift, she may be disappointed when she leaves the salon. To prevent dissatisfaction, provide your client with realistic expectations or offer her a mix of balayage and foils for more noticeable results.
Tip #2: Less is always more
Too much product is never a good thing, especially when it comes to adding color. Picking up too much color on your brush can result in dripping or lead to spots within your color. Instead, concentrate on picking up minimal color as well as creating clean sections and placement— you can always add more color if necessary!
Tip #3: Think thin
The key to good balayage is adding natural hints of color. Applying the bleach in thick sections may be difficult to spread evenly, preventing you from creating fine detail or achieving feathery brushstrokes, balayage’s signature look.
Tip #4: Don’t use too low of a developer
Because there are no foils involved and you’re working in an open-air environment, you’ll need to use a stronger activator to develop your color. If you use something too low, you may not achieve your desired shade. Your best bet? Look for a higher-level developer suitable for the client’s hair type and desired outcome. As bleach dries it becomes less active, so you'll need to use a clay-based bleach or a product used for open-air balayage.
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Tip #5: Placement is key
Since balayage is all about creating a natural, sun-kissed effect, you must carefully consider color placement. Map out your color before the application to ensure the best results. Also, consider the type of cut your client wants before coloring—you don’t want to spend hours coloring her ends only to cut them off anyway! Another tip? Concentrate on adding color around the face to give clients that “wow” factor they’re looking for without going overboard.
Tip #6: Emphasize the importance of aftercare
Yes, the initial result depends on your artistry, but your client also plays a crucial role in maintaining her balayage. Instruct your client to use a toning shampoo at least once a week to prevent brassiness, and also offer her an at-home repair treatment, such as Olaplex, to nourish, restore and strengthen her locks after lightening. You should also schedule your client’s follow-up appointment in advance to keep brassy tones at bay.
Tip #7: Don’t undercharge
Beautiful balayage is extremely labor-intensive—when you know that a good amount of money is on the line, you’ll most likely take your time and pay attention to detail. On the contrary, if you sell yourself short, you may not be as inspired to give your best effort to every balayage job. Charge your clients accordingly, and reassure them that you promise to deliver high-quality results to match.