Nov 10, 2020

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How to get max lift with clay lightener



“my #1 pro tip for max lift”

When I first discovered open-air hair painting it was like I had just been given the secret to natural balayage. It was incredible!

No more painstakingly placing foils, only to spend time taking them out one by one at the sink? Hells yes!

However, there are a lot of misconceptions about open air balayage and a lot of stylists think that you can’t get much lift with this process. 

And although everyone’s hair is different, I’ve learned a few tricks to get that max lift.

I’ve been using clay lightener almost exclusively for several years now and I don’t think I could ever go back to doing a full head of foils again. 

Clay lightener stops processing when it dries out, so it’s important to keep it wet for max lift.

I like to compare this to Elmer’s glue with crafts as a kid. Did you ever accidentally apply too much glue to your project and it seemed to NEVER dry? (‍♀️ this was always me.)

That’s the same with hair painting. 

Although as a kid you would’ve wanted to have a thinner layer of glue, when it comes to clay lightener don’t be afraid to lay it on thick. The thinner the product, the less lift you’ll achieve because it dries out quicker. 

Here are three of my clay lightener mixing tips:

  1. Ditch the manufacturer’s instructions (but don’t tell them that I told you to do that )

  2. Use something flat without bristles to press the developer in. (Press. Don’t whip. Avoid mixing air into it to keep it as dense as possible)

  3. Do the DQ test. You should be able to turn your bowl full upside down without the lightener falling out.

Following these three tips will help make your application easier and your lift better and more consistent. 

And my #1 PRO tip for max lift:

  • If you can see any of the hair through the clay lightener you will not be getting max lift. Make sure there is a thick coat of lightener that is completely opaque

Are you feeling ready to go out and try achieving max lift with clay lightener?

For my signature open-air hair painting method (including blonde and brunette models) check out my online Hair Painting Outside the Lines program.

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