Brilliant balayages

As balayages continue to be a popular hit amongst clients, we think it’s about time the experts explain how to really get it created to perfection. Three of the industry’s professionals reveal how they create a winning balayage look.

Alix Maher – Member of the Schwarzkopf Collective 19/20 and Colour Specialist at Lynda Maher Hair Studio

“My idea to the perfect balayage is having a good foundation of natural looking mix between baby lights and balayage lights to create a natural blend. The baby lights need to be more prominent around the front to frame the face. All lights should be kept with a very fine weave for an ultimate blend.

“I am constantly using Schwarzkopf BlondeMe with 6%. I leave the hair to develop for 45 minutes until rinsing the colour.

“A toner is always necessary for shine and condition when creating a balayage. The choice of toner is always client’s option but mixing a range of BlondeMe Toners for a more subtle soft tone, bright icy blonde or even adding tone of lilac or strawberry is my favourite way to finish it off.

“If clients are heading to a festival, adding Blush Spray in to the balayage process can create a stronger tone which is available in 4 shades.

“Toning is available between services for a touch-up or change of tone to create a bit more depth to the hair, and changing it up slightly to keep it from becoming boring.

“It is important to mention that after care is always necessary to maintain condition and colour fade after having a balayage treatment. I recommend BlondeMe All Blondes or Cool Blondes shampoo and conditioner/treatment.”

Sam Marais – 2018’s Stylist of The Year at the Salon Awards, Member of the Schwarzkopf Collective 19/20 and Senior Stylist at Urban Hair

“I love balayage because there are so many variations to it! For every colour shade and depth of hair. It’s a colour that had so much longevity to it and is so beautiful to look at. That’s what it’s all about for me giving my clients gorgeous colours that last and grow out softly  

“Creating a beautiful balayage is all about your time and application! It is important to remember that preparation is key to creating the seamless blend. 

“A major factor in creating gorgeous, healthy looking hair is preserving the integrity of the it. I use Fiberplex in every single colour application I do to protect the hair. There is no point in having a luxurious hair colour to have it look and feel dry and brittle up close! I always use a combination of foils and plastic working methodically through the hair in triangle sections through the head with a combination of weaves. I finish off the colour using a toner to soften the blend removing any lines and remove any remaining warmth or to add soft depth to give it 3 dimensional tones.”

Steph Peckmore – Colour Manager at Bad Apple Hair Group

“Balayage is a technique – not a look, which often throws clients. If a client comes to you with a request for balayage, make sure you go through a full colour consultation to discuss their expectations and the likely end result, to make sure you’re both working from the same page.

“Keeping colour away from the roots (and instead painting it through the lengths and ends) is a key characteristic of balayage. The main challenge created by this is not creating too much contrast between the roots and ends, so you need to apply colour with a soft, gradient technique: for colour inspiration look at a child’s hair (it is naturally lighter through the ends) while surfers have ends that have naturally lightened in the sun. Start with a small amount of lightener towards the root, but not touching the roots, and work up to a heavier application through the mid-lengths and ends, allowing saturation to build up organically. When applying the colour, feather it upwards, which creates a softer diffusion of colour, and don’t be afraid to use your hands to blend the colour in. Stick to colouring the lengths no more than three shades lighter than the roots, for a subtle, gradual colour contrast.

“What clients love about balayage is that it’s seriously low maintenance; with the right shade and aftercare, some clients can get away with six months between colour appointments.

“Adding babylights to your clients’ roots at their next colour appointment is a great way to maintain the effect of the balayage, while reducing any unwanted contrast between roots and ends as the hair grows out.

“You can use balayage to create contours and the appearance of texture and movement within the hair. Currently we’re getting more requests for lighter sections around the face – similar to the natural mallen streak that some people have – and it’s a really flattering way to brighten the complexion and contour the cheekbones. The beauty of balayage is that you have this freedom to paint freehand and get creative.”