Dec 15, 2020

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How to Fix Balayage Gone Wrong


Text reads "2 balayage mistakes hairstylists make" over the back of a client's wavy bronde balayage. They are wearing a green sweater and their hands are at the nape of their neck holding their hair

“rooted vs roots”

I could feel the sweat trickle down my back as I panicked trying to figure out how I was going to navigate this stressful situation that I found myself in. 

I was brand new to the balayage game and I was still in the “sell it with confidence to everyone so I can get more practice” stage …

I don’t think anything could have prepared me for this. 

Her roots were a level 10, her mid-strand the brightest blorange I had ever seen, and her ends barely budged to a level 5 …

I was feeling all sorts of overwhelm when I realized that I was the one who was going to have to do something about it, like, NOW. 

Now, not only was I new to the balayage game, but I had also just sworn off foils completely. Yup, this correction was going to have to be done completely with open-air balayage. 

Talk about YIKES.

After lots of trial and error (as well as learning how to properly communicate expectations with clients with my custom consultations) I finally found the perfect way to do a color correction with open-air balayage. 

This technique will not only leave your client’s hair feeling healthier, but it will also give WAY more longevity to the color. 

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

Step 1: Creating the rooted look while removing the line of demarcation.

With a teardrop section at the crown of the head, tone the roots with one shade lighter than the natural color. 

TIP: Use a wide tooth comb to comb the hair through and create a softer blend

Use clay lightener to create the bridge between the previous foils marks. Process and rinse.

Step 2: Creating the balayage

The goal of this step is to repigment the hair with lowlights and lift the highlight sections.

I like to think of it this way: if I was creating a balayage look on someone with virgin hair, where would I put the highlights, and where would I leave them. 

The places where I would not put highlights on virgin hair are the sections where I’m adding in the lowlight. 

PRO TIP: When you get to the front of the face where the “money piece” is, add a lowlight right behind it to make it really pop.

Finish adding in highlights and lowlights using my U shaped section method. Allow to process and tone at the sink. 

Communicate Expectations

One of the most important things when it comes to a color correction is communicating expectations to your client. I never guarantee that the stripes or chunkiness will be completely gone. Instead I let my client know that I’m going for a final look. If they pick at their hair they might find spots that are still a little chunky, but my goal is for them to be able to look at their hair and wear it down and it’ll look amazing. Good hair takes time, especially when it comes to corrections and budgets.

Since I started implementing my custom consultations, I’ve been able to better communicate with my clients with fewer “fixes”. 

With any color correction, it’s important to communicate that it’s only going to get better from here. 

Although this is a two-step process, it’s really straightforward and can be used with almost any color correction. This method will help keep your client’s hair healthy as well as give them longevity. 

Are you going to be using this method with your color corrections from now on?

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Hey, I’m Dawn!

“Rock Your Business” Course Creator, Host of “The Anxious Creative” Podcast. Named by Salon Magazine as Canada’s #1 women of influence.

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