If you’re new to the balayage game, it can seem like there are thousands of tips and before you dive in. How can you achieve that post-summer glow? Will bleach fry your mane?
Highlights, low-lights, permanent colour, and semi-permanent solutions all come with their own pros and cons, so we thought it best to give you a summary of balayage before you jump in. Some stylists will use bleach to achieve your post-beach look, while others will be able to achieve it with semi-permanent and permanent solutions.
If you want to take care of your locks before getting started, here are our top care tips for treating and looking after your locks.
What is Balayage and How Can I Colour My Hair?
Balayage is French for ‘sweeping’.This refers to natural-looking highlights that stylists paint throughout your hair to give you a sunkissed look. These highlights will brighten toward the ends of the strands.
How Are They Different to Highlights?
Balayage hair treatments are notthe same as highlights. Many of our clients believe that the process is the same as highlights – however, the application process and aesthetic outcome differ.
While highlights are often applied using foils, balayage is hand painted along the strand and is usually applied well away from the roots. Due to this gradient effect, the results often look preemptively ‘worn in’ and provide a much more gradual growing out phase.
While highlights often allude to bright, blonde locks, every shade can have semi-permanent, permanent and bleach applied to the strands to create depth and dimension.
How to Prep for Colour Treatments
Whether you colour your locks or not, the effects of heat styling, dyes, treatments, environmental damage and UV rays can take a toll on your strands. So your hair stays in top condition before you come in for an appointment, we always recommend:
- Limiting heat styling: Although we all love a good blow dry, styling every day with heat tools can cause dryness, damage and increased split ends.
- Try a deep conditioning treatment or mask once a week: We suggest setting aside some time each week to let concentrated formulas sink in, and really make the most of all those beneficial little nutrients.
- Watch your diet: You heard us. Existing health conditions aside, the basic balanced diet should include key vitamins, minerals and amino acids necessary for healthy hair, skin and nail growth. Are you seeing more strand loss than usual? Speak with your healthcare professional about potential tests that can check for potential nutrient deficiencies.
It’s always important to discuss any concerns about increased damage, malting or chemical treatments you’ve had before getting started. Some treatments – even beneficial ones like a keratin protein service – can affect your results, so you should always disclose recent changes or services you’ve had before booking in.
Giving Your Stylist the Low-down
Once you’re prepped and booked in for an appointment, remember to speak with your stylist about any recent treatments you’ve had completed before they dive in. We cannot stress enough the importance of disclosing recently completed services like chemical straightening, perms or keratin before your service.
While a professional will be able to advise you of the potential risks before they begin, they can only help you manage those risks if you disclose the information beforehand. (Trust us, you never want to go through the colour removal process!)
Permanent Formulas vs. Bleach
Now that you’ve decided on a course of action, our stylists will speak with you about the long-term effects of using either permanent dyes or bleach.
Permanent formulas will change your colour indefinitely, while bleach changes the internal strand cuticle to lift existing colour up and out. Although both use oxidation in their chemical process, bleach has a reputation (with good reason) for being more damaging.
Depending on your preferred outcome, and the original state of your hair, your stylist will discuss which route you should go before getting started.
Consider Your Natural Shade and Tone
Now that the basics are covered, your stylist will discuss your ideal shade and tone to best compliment your complexion. Not going for a natural look? Not to worry – shades up and down the spectrum can be applied.
If you’re looking for a more subtle glow, it’s important to consider your base skin tone.Do you have pink, yellow or more neutral undertones? The skin at the base of your hand and wrist can offer insight into your natural shade.
Warmer skin tones are often best complimented by warmer hair colours, whereas cooler tones often suit something a bit more subtle. If you have a warm to yellow skin, consider going for honey-gold strands. Have a blue-ish undertone? An ash-blond or light ash brown might be for you.
No need to worry about the scientific specifics of your skin. Speak with your stylist about the dye that will best suit you if you have any concerns.
How to Care for Your Hair Afterwards
You’ve taken the leap. You’re graced with a crown of glory, and you’re living your best life yet. Now that you have jumped into the balayage pool, taking care of your freshly coloured locks will be your next step.
Even if you opted for a permanent solution in lieu of bleach, there has still been a chemical process applied to your hair. Adding in a weekly or bi-weekly conditioning treatment (specific to coloured locks) will be vital to keeping dryness and wiry strands at bay.
Opted to go the bleach route? Speak with your stylist about the products and ingredients to rely on, and what to stay away from so you ensure you don’t damage your locks any further. Better yet, see if you can prolong time in between washes and limit heat styling to a few days a week. As bleach alters the internal cuticle structure, minimising additional environmental damage is key.
Achieving Your Best Look Yet
Every stylist on the Hemisphere team believes that every person deserves to toss her head with confidence and let their hair speak for itself. Ready to overhaul your everyday look? Speak with our colouring specialists at Hemisphere Hair about a treatment that can deep condition your mane and bring out the best of your balayage today.