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Brush up on Your Balayage and Color Melting Skills

Balayage and color melts are beautiful, modern hair color techniques, completely customizable to any hair color, length, and texture — making them both popular and lasting trends at salons today. Once you fully understand the fundamentals and begin practicing the techniques, you will develop the confidence and skills needed to create impressive balayage and dazzling color melts.

While balayage and color melting techniques may evolve over time, you should start with a solid foundation and understanding of balayage basics and color melting methods so you can build upon your hair color skills and enhance your professional career. Following is a brief refresher that will help you to better your balayage and captivate with your color melts!  We will review several of the most important aspects of these innovative hair color techniques to help you achieve beautiful, seamlessly blended hair color:

  • Different approaches to balayage and color melting
  • Sectioning, placement and application techniques
  • Essential tools to use
  • Tips for success

Before You Begin:

The client consultation is an essential part of any professional hair service. It is extremely important to have a detailed discussion with your client before starting any hair color process, so you clearly understand their expectations. Communication is key so it is important to discuss techniques that will work best with the client’s hair color, length and texture and address any questions or concerns that they may have about the balayage or color melting process, before you begin.


Balayage is an extremely popular, freehand, hair highlighting and painting technique created by French colorists and used by stylists around the world. The art of beautiful balayage is creating highlights that look random and spontaneous and produce a gentle, natural shimmer throughout the hair. Balayage is one of the most requested color services in salons today. This innovative and creative highlighting technique continues to evolve and takes time, practice and commitment to master.

The 3 Fundamentals of Balayage:

1. Choose Direction:

Decide on the type of look you want to create by choosing one of the following directional approaches:



Horizontal placement will create “blankets” of light throughout the design, giving the most impact.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



Vertical placement will create streams of color that become bolder toward the ends of the hair.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



Diagonal placement will be somewhere in the middle of horizontal and vertical; creating a softer design from the roots but more “blankets” towards the ends.


2. Choose Your Section Size and Shape:

There are generally two options to choose from when selecting the size and shape of balayage:



Panels are sections that are wider, scooped slices. Density and thickness of slices should be determined based on the client’s hair type.



Streams are narrow, triangular sections of hair that create a smaller impact in the root area. This allows for more precise and softer detailed points of origin when using a balayage technique. Feather bristle brushes are ideal for painting these narrow, delicate sections of hair.


3. Choose Your Application Approach


Surface Application

A Surface Application is when you use a balayage technique on just the top of the section of hair. This creates soft sweeps of balayage throughout the hair.


Saturated Application

A Saturated Application is when you apply balayage to both the top and bottom sections of hair.                                                                                                                             


Balayage Tips

  • Placement is key. The placement technique on the hair strand is the driving force of successful balayage.
  • Maintain strong tension, keep elevation low and make sure hair strand is combed smooth when applying lightener.
  • Make sure lightener is mixed to the proper consistency when applying balayage. A runny or watery product will not adhere to the hair and give the proper lift. The color mixer is ideal for mixing lightener to an evenly blended, creamy consistency every time.
  • When extra lift is needed, insulate hair with meche sheets or highlighting papers to provide extra lift.

Color Melting

Color melted hair is a beautifully blended marriage of color in the hair. It is a great option for blending two or three hair colors or blending highlights with a base color to achieve a “melted” result where you can’t tell where one color starts and the other ends. The color melting process beautifully diffuses two or more desired colors together while removing any lines of demarcation. There are a variety of techniques that you can use to achieve a beautiful color melt.


Color Melt Application Tips

Depending on what you want your color melt to look like, choose shades from the same color family. Ideally, you should pick two or three hues. To master the color melting technique, you should start with a darker hue at the roots, and then blend into a slightly lighter shade halfway down the hair, and then (if three colors are used) apply the lightest shade when you reach the tips of the hair.

The following are two effective techniques for performing a color melt:


Base Color Melting

A base color melt uses a deeper base color application that “melts” into a lighter shade by applying either highlights or balayage. Highlight/Melt Technique: For this technique, apply lightener midway from the root and insulate with embossed foils for a maximum lift. Then apply a base color afterwards to create a melted look. Balayage/Melt Technique: For more of a balayage effect, apply a base color first and then apply balayage from the ends up to meet the base color.


Glaze/Toner Color Melting

Color melting can also be performed on damp hair by applying a glaze or toner at the shampoo bowl. An applicator bottle is a great tool for applying a root formula first and then adding a lighter formula to create a “melted” look. The color comb is also an effective tool to melt together demi-permanent glazes and create a seamless, toned highlight, with a shadowy root.


Seek Out the Best Hair Color Tools and Education

With a strong foundation in hair color and advanced techniques, your skill level will continue to evolve and advance. Product Club has all the tools you need to develop and enhance your skills as a successful, professional hair colorist. For more information and the best tools to perfect your balayage and color melting skills, check out the essentials collection. It includes an assortment of carefully selected, high-quality balayage tools as well as an informative and comprehensive education guide that provides you with a foundation for creating beautiful balayage and dazzling color melts.

To learn the latest techniques in balayage and view step-by-step tutorials from experienced industry professionals, visit our Online Education Page. Invest in your future and expand your craft with high quality hair color tools and education from Product Club.

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