Nov 24, 2020

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How to Do Brunette Balayage That’s Super Simple!


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never over-highlight again

I used to stress about my brunette balayage clients. You know the ones … the ones who love their brunette locks and don’t actually want to look like a blonde. 

I don’t even want to try to count the amount of times I accidentally over-highlighted someone’s hair.

You see, before I learned the rule of percentages, I used to think that I had to fit as many highlights as I possibly could onto someone’s head ‘cause that’s what they were paying me for, right??


They’re actually paying for your expert services and your knowledge. Turns out you don’t have to fit 10293218923 foils onto someone’s head to give them a beautiful balayage look. 

So what exactly is the rule of percentages? I’m so glad you asked!

The Rule of Percentages:

  • Highlight more than 50% of the hair for a brunette to look like a blonde

  • Highlight less than 50% of the hair for a brunette to maintain their darker colour (30-40%)

Here’s the breakdown of the full process:

Step 1: Mix up your clay lightener. I love using Redken Free hand. (To learn how to get max lift with clay lightener check out my video here.)

Step 2: Starting at the back of the head, make sure the front two quadrants are out of the way, and take triangle-inspired sections (the triangle sections create ribbons of color in the hair).

GAME-CHANGER TIP: Keep a wet towel nearby to wipe off your gloves in between each application. 

Step 3: Work around the hairline, using triangle-inspired sections to paint around the hair, creating the blend while painting on the strands

Step 4: Create a deep “U” shape and work around in a brick lay pattern with perpendicular sections. Make sure you’re creating a opaque layer – if you can see the hair through the lightener you won’t get max lift.

Step 5: Highlighting the crown is super important and a lot of stylists want to go too high up when creating a rooted look. Make sure you’re keeping it lower so that you can bring the highlights higher up around the face.

TIP: When highlighting the sides make sure to pull the hair back and off of your clients face

Step 6: When creating the “money piece” make sure you are applying your lightener further down on the next section to create dimension and help make that piece really pop

Step 7: Use the “scratch test” to ensure that your lightener has fully dried and that you can even start to see the lift on the hair. 

Step 8: Rinse, tone, and style

Step 9: Get some awesome pics of your beautiful brunette client

Yup! It’s really that simple. I’m so excited to see the results that you get with this easy hair painting process. 

No need to over-highlight or over complicate your brunette balayage anymore. Get out there and have some fun!

Go on, binge the latest posts (you know you wanna) …

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I am just a small-town, Canadian gal from the prairies who teaches thousands of creatives around the globe how to earn 6-figures stress-free!

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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