Balayage is a popular and highly sought-after colouring treatment at salons. Many salon owners are seeing a rise in balayage requests from clients and their guests. This is great news for professionals, but it can prove overwhelming for beginners.

These 13 tips are for any colourist who is new to balayage, or colourists who have been doing it for years.

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Communication is crucial to ensure that the clients are satisfied with the finishing from service that the balayage colourist provide. Begin any type of balayage service by meeting with your client and conducting a consultation. These consultations will allow the colourist to understand what is needed to do to ensure they can satisfy their client’s hair goals and provide them exactly what the client need.

  • Their hair history including colour history and damage
  • The hair goal the client wants to have
  • The timeline needed to achieve the balayage hair goal

These considerations and understanding will help balayage colourist to set realistic expectations for their client and to forge the best possible path forward for them to reach their goals.

  1. Understand When Balayage is Not the Suitable Technique

Balayage may be requested by a client, but it is the job as colourist to inform them when it isn’t the right technique to achieve the desired look. It is clear that sometimes, balayage is not the right choice for the client that depends on several factors.

  • Client requires more than 4 levels of lift
  • Client needs multiple sessions to reach their goals, but they don’t have the time and have a busy schedule to do it.
  • Clients may want a icy blonde look that is difficult to achieve in a short time frame.

These cases may be a sign that the colourist should consider other techniques, such as foilyage or traditional foil highlights. Find out more about the differences between foiling, balayage and foilyage.

  1. Use Enough Colour Product

Colourist often worry about hair damage and they do not wish to ruin the beautiful hair of their clients. This protective attitude can lead to colourist being a little too cautious and conservative when they apply hair product on the client. It is natural and good to be careful but always be mindful that Balayage is one the gentlest highlighting techniques. If colourist want to give your client the desired look, it is important to use enough product. Colourist may need to discuss alternative methods or goals if the client is concerned about hair damage.

When the colourists are required to apply sufficient hair product, but they shouldn’t push it too hard when they are applying it. Overly aggressive application or using too much strength when applying the lightener can cause harsh lines. This is exactly the adverse effect of what balayage is meant to do.

  1. Use the Right Product.

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This should be obvious, but it is crucial that colourist choose the right product to achieve the desired effects. This includes using the correct formulation. However, it also means that they should ensure that the colour product is thickened enough and not too liquid or unconcentrated.

Balayage is a hand highlights technique by painting the hair’s surface. It is important to understand the balayage fundamental of not to paint the deeper layers or strands. Colourist need to make sure that the colour products are thickened enough with higher viscosity so it doesn’t seep between the strands, which could cause bleeding or splotchy spots.

  1. Keep your Balayage TECHNIQUE in MIND

Balayage is an art and craft. Balayage, like all arts, is a skill that requires constant focus and attention in order to be successful in this artistic hand-painting technique. This skill is something the colourist can improve and perfect with practice and time. However, it’s still very important to remember the basic and fundamental of balayage.

For a clean application, pay attention to:

  • How much product is the colourist using through the whole application and how much product needed on their brush?
  • The colour formula’s consistency
  • What hand pressure are the colourist using to apply the colour product?
  • The colourist hand’s movement and motion

It is crucial to constantly and diligently practice the balayage application technique.

  1. Trial and Experimenting with Various Sectioning and Placement Technique

The sky is the limit for achieving great balayage skills once the colourist is comfortable with basic balayage applications. Combining different placements and basic balayage techniques can produce stunning and unbelievable finishing results.

To create a natural, ribbon-like effect, the colourist can employ the balayage singles technique. They can also combine areas of brightness and areas of depth to create a higher-contrast effect. The colourists might also use very fine sectioning to add a lot more brightness. There are still many other balayage techniques as well.


Surface painting is a great option if the clients have damaged hair, but still wants brightening their hair with an all over radiant glow.

The balayage mechanism of surface painting is to saturate the top (or surface) of the hair. This doesn’t imply saturating the hair ends or working with the under-sections of the hair. It can help the client to achieve the desired look without causing excessive damage to the hair as lesser hair is processed as well as lesser products is used.


The colourist can hand paint thinner or thicker hair sections in balayage depending on the technique employed and the desired effect. However, they should avoid oversaturating too high up on those thicker sections. The reason is oversaturation too high above will result in a strange and unsightly horizontal harsh bleach line which the clients will not be happy.

  1. Remember the TRANSITION.

The secret to a perfect stunning balayage lies in the well-crafted transition region. It allows for the colour to flow smoothly between treated and untreated hairs so as to achieve a natural and well blended look without any harsh lines of demarcation. It is well recommended that transition lines do not exceed 1 to 2 inches.

The colourist needs to have a slight reduction in colour product prior to the heavy, intensive saturation when they are creating a gradient flow. The transition zones should not be too large. This will cause a warm band in the zone that the clients certainly would not want.


If the hair goal is to achieve a natural look that resembles sun-kissed hair naturally, then the colourist should do their best to recreate what the sun does naturally. This will require clever, skillful and artistic placement.

How to achieve this look in practice? In order to recreate the natural brightening effect of the sun on the hair, use high contrast and brighter lightening effect around the face and a enhanced diffused brightness towards the back. This technique is well known as the “money piece” and can make the difference between a good and great-looking balayage application.


Imagine this: You are standing on a stool in your living area painting walls. Although you are at the ideal height to do most of the work, you still find challenges to reach the extreme high and low height of the walls. You try, but it’s just not possible to do a good job as compare to those wall at your comfortable height.

This same situation can happen when the colourists paint the hair. As they are painting towards the ends and the scalp, it can be difficult to get the right perfect colour coverage if they don’t paint from the right elevation. To ensure that the final result speaks for the colourist skill, it is critical to adjust the elevation at all times.


Some clients do not want to have to deal with too high maintenance hair colour. Hence it is important for the colourist to ensure that they are using the correct techniques to provide their clients the flexibility they need in scheduling their follow-up appointments. Two techniques that can help are babylights and teasy light.


The right balayage brush can make the colourist painting look stunning and natural to a whole new level. The type of tool can have a significant impact on how they paint the hair. It can also help to improve their efficiency. The bristles of the brush can make a seamless and well blended effect, as well the choice of brush can greatly help to control the medium or heavy saturation.

Always Be Learning!

Balayage takes practice, dedication and time to perfect the skill. The colourist can improve their skills by taking advantage of all the learning opportunities available to them. They can also join certain groups of balayage experts online who can give them tips and help them avoid making mistakes. Or they can also sign up for physical class that will help them improve their balayage skills to a next level.