Skip to Content
This is main content
Balayage

Tips and Tricks for Creating Beautiful Summer Blondes
By Adrienne Rogers, Product Club Artistic Director

Seasonal hair changes give us a refreshingly positive new perspective. It seems when we lighten our hair we often lighten our mood, so it’s no surprise that when the weather warms up the request for lighter and brighter hair is on repeat! Summer blonding done right gives your business a boost. Preparing the hair for lightening and maintenance, as well as follow-up appointments for maintaining great color throughout the summer - are key factors to keeping your clients happy. Helping your client find an achievable shade that flatters them certainly puts you in a great position as a blond hair color expert!

ANALYZE THE HAIR

The first thing to consider before you begin coloring is the condition of the hair. Dryness, breakage, hair strength, and discoloration are all things to keep in mind when going lighter. When you see discoloration, like a coppery or dull finish, it may be due to excessive metals in hard water. Metals in the water can attach to the hair and can increase the possibility of breakage. There are great products out there to help remove these problematic deposits. If it seems you can’t get the expected lift or the tone is off, this may be the culprit and addressing it can really improve your results.

CONSIDER PRETREATMENTS

BOND BUILDERS

If the hair seems weak and has breakage, or you’re worried about causing breakage because the hair feels vulnerable, a bond builder is the way to go. This technology has allowed us to rebuild and strengthen hair bonds against future damage. It strengthens hair and helps restore the elasticity by allowing lightness without compromising the hair. There are many types available. When you find one that you like and use it on a consistent basis, many of the long-term issues with blond hair color are lessened.

CONDITIONERS

Conditioners have fatty alcohols, humectants, and oils to make hair soft and flexible. Some have protein to temporarily bind split ends. Conditioner refortifies the cuticle with a protective coating allowing the hair to keep growing and not break easily. The cuticle gets damaged and the conditioner fills in the hair and coats it to assist the cuticle. Deep conditioning every six weeks promotes elasticity; which is a sign of healthy and well moisturized hair. It restores your hairs pH balance (we’ll talk more about pH later), increases shine, and improves texture. These treatments add moisture and shine to the outer layers of the hair, giving it a nice cosmetic finish and leaving it feeling supple and lush, which clients love.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Deciding what the raw highlight should look like when processing is important. Lightening the hair enough - yet not lightening it too much - are key to a great outcome. If the hair is stuck in a yellow shade, there is not enough toning on the planet that will make it platinum and bright! And if it’s lifted too light, it’s harder to have a lush caramel finish that lasts when you are aiming for warmth.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

Having the proper undertone and amount of color pigmentation will support the finished result. At my salon, we have about eight lighteners. Over the years and through constant use and experience, I have developed a good understanding of which lighteners and developers I should use to achieve the results I am looking for. I find that keeping notes on the performance of various products can be very helpful in building your systems of use throughout your career. We have several different lighteners including:

  • Oil-based lighteners
  • Gentle powder lighteners
  • Lighteners that promise various levels of lift
  • Lighteners that offer cooling while lifting the hair
  • Various Clay lighteners

Consulting with my fellow colorists and scouring Instagram to see other peoples’ favorites help me to decide what to use and when to use it. I often use different products and different developers within one design depending on the natural level of the hair and what I want to accomplish. This is one of those times that experience really plays into a successful result - and the only way to know is to use it and remember your outcome!

BLONDE TALK

Let’s talk blondes. Depending on what your client is looking for, some blondes are high maintenance, and some are lower maintenance. Both can be brightened up for summer. Understanding your clients desire, ability to upkeep their color, and their starting level will help you guide them to success. Low maintenance shades of blonde are still popular thanks to their lived-in feel and minimal upkeep. Casual lived-in blonde is natural looking with beachy pops of color on the ends. Shadowing the base makes the hair look like “child on the beach” hair for a beautiful youthful look.

SUMMER BRIGHTENING

For a summer brightening, consider doing quite a bit of tipping out - brightening the ends of the hair with either balayage application or foils with backcombing in the ends. Blonde hair can be dull, darkened, or matte due to dulling agents, and buildup on the ends. When you use a gentle lifting agent (especially on previously lightened hair) you can remove residual pigments from colored shampoos, glazes, and whatever else may be dulling the hair to reveal brighter and lighter hair.

CHOOSE YOUR LIGHTENER WISELY

If I’m doing the ends in a foil I really like to use an oil-based lightener to brighten already light hair. The oil slows down the process and allows the hair to be gently lifted. Clay lightener with a lower volume (20 or 10) on previously lightened hair is also a good choice. Pulling foils and pulling the lightener through previously colored ends also brightens dull color nicely.

DEPTH = LIGHT

When a client wears their hair blonde throughout the year brightening them up in summer is somewhat straight forward. Adding a more concentrated placement around the face and brightening up the ends while doing their regular blonding service can make that summer color happen. Keep in mind that dimension in hair color allows the brighter pieces to pop against a deeper color. If your client never seems to feel light enough, consider putting some pockets of depth in for the contrast. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, it allows the highlights to look lighter. At the end of the service, apply lightener to damp ends and brush it through to make sure that you lift any dullness that has accumulated. Keep panels organized by ribboning the ends with the lightener and placing it around the bowl like a sun. This won’t take long to process and is best done by keeping an eye on the client’s hair. Shampoo out and prepare for glazing.

WHEN TO GLAZE

COOL BLONDES

When a client wears their hair blonde throughout the year brightening them up in summer is somewhat straight forward. Adding a more concentrated placement around the face and brightening up the ends while doing their regular blonding service can make that summer color happen. Keep in mind that dimension in hair color allows the brighter pieces to pop against a deeper color. If your client never seems to feel light enough, consider putting some pockets of depth in for the contrast. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, it allows the highlights to look lighter. At the end of the service, apply lightener to damp ends and brush it through to make sure that you lift any dullness that has accumulated. Keep panels organized by ribboning the ends with the lightener and placing it around the bowl like a sun. This won’t take long to process and is best done by keeping an eye on the client’s hair. Shampoo out and prepare for glazing.

WARM BLONDES

Warmer blonds appear sunnier and seem to be having a real resurgence in hair color fashion. Consider lifting to pale yellow to support the warmth. Warmth in glazes appears lighter and brighter as the yellow undertones make hair seem lighter. Beige or sandy blondes land in the middle of the cool/warm palate and are pretty universally flattering so they are often a good choice. Just be sure to use a high level when you formulate to not inadvertently make hair look darker.

WHEN NOT TO GLAZE

Hair that is over lifted loses the ability to hold a glaze, so even though we always seem to be fighting warmth, if you lift hair too much and compromise the porosity, it will be a challenge for the hair to hold a glaze. The light level of glazes used when creating a bright, summer blonde gives it luminosity but it’s easy for hair in an alkaline state to lose the glaze quickly as the cuticle is raised. Lighteners can raise the pH of hair from 8.5-10.5. Healthy hair is in the range of 4.5 and 5.5 on the pH scale. You want to keep the pH of the hair down post highlighting so the cuticle remains closed and tight, ensuring that the color does not fade as fast. Make sure that your gloss is an acidic one for a healthy cuticle and optimum light reflection. With light glosses you want to keep hair in an acidic state for glazes to last - especially in the summer!

DELIVER THAT SUNNYSUMMER BRIGHTNESS

A beautiful, brighter, summer blonde starts with a healthy canvas, increasing emphasis around the face and ends, and awareness of your glaze formulations. Deliver summer brightness with:

  • Bond strengtheners and metal removers that help hair to be lightened with less damage
  • Techniques that bring brightness to hair that may have dulled
  • After-care to keep the moisture intact
  • Acidic glazes that keep the cuticle tight - maintaining tone

Clients that love their hair are happy to pay the increased ticket price for their beautiful summer blonde and will tell everyone they know what a genius you are! Happy coloring!

Adrienne Rogers, Product Club Artistic Director

Follow Adrienne (@adriennerogerscolor) and Product Club (@productclub) for more expert tips on social media, salon ownership, and hair color education!

Back to Top