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Hand Painted Brunette Balayage with Clear Thermal Film
By Kristen Linares, Educator

Hair color transformations are made possible by understanding your starting point, desired end result, and most importantly, having the best tools and products to get you there. Julia’s look was created using a combination of Product Club’s new foil alternative, Clear Thermal Film, and traditional Balayage Film.

Julia was a new client of mine who was ready to invest in her hair and establish herself with an experienced, professional colorist. The goal that we decided on during the consultation was a dimensional low maintenance look that would enhance her natural hair texture and facial features. I chose to use Clear Thermal Film with lightener & a 5 volume developer around her hairline to ensure a clean, even lift.

Using Clear Thermal Film held in more heat for insulation and helped me get an extra bright look without damaging the delicate hair in this area. I like it because it has the power to process color in the same way a foil does. It’s also washable and reusable up to three times, and is recyclable for eco-conscious salons! Throughout the interior, I used lightener with a 30 volume developer, then hand painted her most prominent wave pattern and contained each section with traditional Balayage Film.

Hairline Painting & Face Frame

STEP ONE: Starting at the nape of the neck, I applied my lightener and 5 volume developer for a low and slow lift on those fragile baby hairs with the Clear Thermal Film taking diagonal back partings. The texture of this non-slip film really helps to keep delicate hair like this in place, especially when I’m working with thinner, finer sections. And since my goal was to let this section lift slowly, I liked that the translucent material allowed me to keep a close eye on how the hair was processing. Clear Thermal Film also allows you to see the hair every step of the way to ensure optimal lift or if the need to reapply arises.

Then I follow the shape of my client’s natural hairline about an inch deep. These partings can be a combination of fine weaves, slices, or end lights with hair left in between. It all depends on the texture of your client’s hair. Consider the intention of creating dimension vs. overall brightness. For Julia, the intention was to create a beautiful, glowy sparkle along the entire perimeter to enhance her look on ponytail days.

STEP TWO: Continuing to follow the shape of Julia’s natural hairline, I moved on to the right and left front sides with the hair parted to her desired preference. My formula was still lightener with 5 volume developer as I painted these sections. Again, these partings can be a combination of fine weaves, slices, or end lights. Customizing my application to the client’s wants and needs is always my priority.

As I worked up the sides, I pivoted my sectioning in a radial manner. Think of it as if you were cutting a pie with the center point of reference being the part line. I stopped once I met up with the first weave that I did in the nape behind the ear. To ensure there was an optimal level of contrast and dimension, I left about a 2-3 inch upside-down triangle section out of my highlighting placement.

Balayage Lightener Placement

STEP THREE: To begin my balayage placement, I allowed Julia’s hair to lay in natural fall and started in the back with clay lightener and 30 volume. If your client’s ends already have some brightness to begin with, I recommend taking diagonal back partings starting at the occipital bone. With Julia, I took 2-3 inch subsections and painted her most prominent waves in a V formation. As I applied, I considered the amount of depth I wanted to maintain in the crown to create a beautiful diagonal back side profile grow-out. Using traditional Balayage Film, I encapsulated each section to avoid unwanted color transfer and gently isolate between sections. I used two 12-inch perforated sheets per section.

STEP FOUR: In the front, I started my application above the upside-down triangle that was left out earlier for depth. As I painted Julia’s hair, I asked myself, “How will this look when her hair is down or up?” Also, “Have I left enough of her natural color out to ensure a natural level of contrast?” These are all important questions to ask yourself when customizing a balayage application to each individual client.

STEP FIVE: It’s always important to ensure your client is comfortable! I gently moved the Clear Thermal Film away from Julia’s face and secured them in place with Product Club’s super lightweight Balayage Clips. These are great when I’m using film because they gently hold everything back without disturbing the overall lightener placement that I just painted throughout the hair.

Processing & Glazing

STEP SIX: I took my time letting the lightener process to the desired level. For a warmer end result, which is what we were going for in this technique, it’s important to maintain some yellow in the hair. If your desired end result is cool, allow the hair to lift to the color of the inside of a banana. After 15 minutes of processing, I placed Julia under a heat lamp for 5 more minutes.

STEP SEVEN: Once the hair had lifted to where I wanted it, I shampooed, gently towel-dried, and began to apply toner. Using the Digital Color Scale, I mixed .6 oz. 4,0 + .4 oz. 4,14 with 1 oz. of 10 volume for her base melt, leaving out the entire hairline. For her hairline, mid strands, and ends I mixed 1.5 oz. 6,14 + .5 oz. 7,32 with 2 oz. of 10 volume and processed for 10 minutes.



How To Use Product Club Clear Thermal Film:

1. Using the cutting tool on the box, pre-cut the amount of film you will need prior to the service. This is a wonderful option as you can make the film as long as you need depending on the length of the hair.

2. After sectioning, lay film under the hair and apply your color of choice. As soon as the color is applied, the film will stay firmly in place due to the translucent textured material.

3. Lay a second piece of film directly on top, or fold the film as you would a foil.


Stack Clear Thermal Film for a flat and easy to work around placement. This also allows you to monitor the strand for inconsistencies that may present themselves if you’re unsure of your client’s hair color history.

Pre-cut your Clear Thermal Film in an average placement amount as they can be easily rinsed, dried, and reused up to 3 times.

Use Clear Thermal Film for test strands! This is a great way to test out toning options while your client is processing.

Once you’re ready to wash your client out, the Clear Thermal Film slides off extra easily with a bit of water right in the shampoo bowl. It saves time, is easy for you, and comfortable for your client.

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