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Caramel Apple Balayage
By Kristen Linares, Product Club Educator (

With the change of seasons, new trends always emerge, especially in the world of hair color. These trends are often given creative names to bring new life to a signature look or technique that has actually been around for decades. As professional hair colorists, we should be able to decipher what these new names (and shades) truly mean and ensure our clients understand how they will work for their individual hair type.

Fall Trends

Let’s start by shining some light on the latest trend for Fall, 2021 — Caramel Apple Balayage. Sounds delicious, right? What comes to mind for you? Organic, matte toned apples in a colorful orchard? Carnival candied apples covered in glossy caramel sauce with your favorite nuts? Perhaps you’re envisioning dipping green apples into caramel in your mom’s kitchen because that is your family’s tradition each autumn. The point is, everyone can perceive this name in a different way based on their personal experience. So what does “caramel apple” actually mean or look like when it comes to hair color?

Consultation is Key

When clients bring in a unique request such as this, a consultation is crucial. Before you even think about getting started, you need to have a conversation with your client about their expectations. Examine pictures with them and discuss the look and color that they desire. Ask them lots of questions such as:

  • What do you love about this picture?
  • Do you love ALL the tones you see?
  • Do you like warm tones in your hair?

It is also important to ask clients how they style their hair. Many inspirational pictures are styled and curled in a certain way, which enhances dimension. If your client doesn’t put much effort into styling, their results may appear differently.

Embracing the Caramel Apple
Balayage Trend

I believe that trends are always utilized best with the influence of your own creativity. When you tap into your skills and use your artistic vision, you can create your own, unique interpretation of the latest haircolor trends. So, here’s my take on a variation of caramel apple balayage.

Caramel Highlights and Balayage Before and After

To create this look I applied a combination of a color melt, bowlayage (wet balayage), root tap, fill formula, and a final gloss. I used these techniques since my client was starting out with faded summer highlights.

Formulas Used

  • Base Melt: 2oz 3,3 (gold) + .5oz 4,34 (gold copper): 20 minutes
  • Balayage: Lightener + 30 volume process: 20 minutes
  • Root Tap: 5 (Natural warm): 10-minute process with fill formula
  • Ends Fill: .2oz 4,34 (gold copper) + .3oz 8,34 (gold copper) + 1.5oz 7,3 (gold) process: 10 minutes
  • Final Gloss: 2oz 5,34 (gold copper) + .5oz 6,44 (copper copper) process: 10 minutes

Step One

Apply base melt formula diagonal back (away from the face). Leave a half inch veil of the hairline out of this application. Using a continuous mister bottle, dampen the mid shaft to ensure a seamless blend.

Tools Used: Ergo Brush and Continuous Misting Bottle

Step Two

After shampooing the base melt, towel dry the hair, comb into the client’s part, and begin to apply your lightener to accent the face and ends. I love to enhance the client’s natural wave groupings which allows for a dimensional result when air-dried.

Tools Used: Balayage Board, Balayage Paint Brush, Black V-Cut Towels, Pin Tail Comb, and Disposable Gloves

Step Three

Apply your root tap formula on towel-dried hair to blur the balayage pieces to perfection. A root tap is applied about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch from the roots. Apply to the hairline last. Apply fill formula to mid strands and ends.

Tools Used: 2oz Mini Applicator Bottle, 8oz Applicator Bottle, and Color Comb

Step Four

Apply the final gloss formula.

Tools Used: 8oz Applicator Bottle


Style hair with your favorite volume mousse, blow dry serum, and texture spray. I also use a 1.25” barrel curling iron to create the finished look.

Trust Your Creative Instincts

Our beautiful interpretation of caramel apple balayage resulted in a hue of warm, dimensional, melted colors including walnut, auburn, and yes – caramel, with hints of light and depth. This color goes well with all the autumn trends from fashion to makeup, and the balayage technique is long-wearing and low-maintenance, which clients will love.

Follow Kristen ( and Product Club (@productclub) for more expert tips on hair color education and salon business!

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