Balayage is the infamous term that’s often mispronounced by clients everywhere and either feared or adored by colorists. The word, balayage is a French word that means “sweeping” and the name of the technique was derived from the long sweeping strokes of applying color to the hair.
Most challenges with this application arise from a misinterpretation during the consultation. Clients don’t fully understand that balayage isn’t necessarily a look, but more so a method of lightener application. Stylists who lack experience can be easily intimidated by a balayage request and provide subpar results that could have been avoided had they used a foil, thermal wrap, or other method of encapsulating the hair instead of this free-hand method.
There are certain situations where a balayage technique will indeed produce the look that your clients are asking for, however in some cases, using a traditional foil or insulation method is best. Read on to find out when to hand paint, and when to insulate for the best results.
Balayage is also referred to as hand painting. It’s up to you, as the professional colorist to guide and inform your client of the best approach to achieve their desired results. If you're uncertain about their expectations - keep asking questions until you are!
LIGHTENER IS KEY
Make sure your lightener is the consistency of peanut butter or shaving cream. Everyone has their personal preference, just keep in mind that your mixing ratio controls the amount of lift you will achieve. Depending on your lightening system, you may want to opt for 30 vol straight away. Once lightener dries out it stops working, so if your developer works faster you will achieve a better lift.
MONITOR YOUR PROCESSING
Always use your best judgement when you are initially analyzing the health of the hair to maintain the integrity. Time your processing and check it often. Always do a scratch test to see if your color is processed, as the lightener can be misleading in appearance.
CHOOSE THE BEST HAIRCOLOR TOOLS
Product Club’s Balayage Film, Contoured Meche Strips, and Curved Thermal Balayage Strips are all incredible tools to encapsulate the balayage and retain heat for a better, more even lift. Find a brush, board, and gloves you’re most comfortable with and start painting! Product Club has a wide array of tools to suit your needs and preferences.
Once you have the right tools and a true understanding of the balayage technique and the look it will produce, you are on your way to creating beautiful, hand-painted hair color!