As you could probably already tell… I CHANGED MY HAIR! I’m actually surprised that I pushed this off for so long because I’ve always been a short hair type of gal. I have super fine hair so the longer I grew it out, the more flat it became. I’m also not one to style my hair into braids or updos so I knew I needed something that would give my hair volume, style, and required little effort. For the cut, I was looking to get a textured bob that fell slightly below my chin area along with a slight a-line (meaning that the hair in the back would be gradually shorter than in the front). For the color, I wanted a balayage, with light ash brown sections throughout my dark hair. After a week or so of debating and hours at the salon, I’m incredibly happy with how my hair turned out! It’s light weight, natural, and perfect for Spring. If you’re looking into getting a similar style at the salon, keep reading to learn more about the preparation, process, and home care that goes into it!
WHAT IS A BALAYAGE?
First off, this is not to be confused with an Ombre! Although both end goals are to lighten the hair, an Ombre is a hair style that shows a dramatic transition of a “lighter shade from a darker shade.” In comparison, a Balayage (french for “Sweep”) is a technique that uses a freehand approach to create a natural blend of light and shade throughout the hair. This is done by painting color with a brush onto spaced out sections of the hair and progressively gets lighter as it reaches the ends. The result is subtle, sun-kissed, dimensional, and feels much more lived in (think beach vibes ya’ll).
The first thing you should do is RESEARCH! What type of hairstyle catches your eye? Both Pinterest and Instagram are amazing resources where you can easily take screenshots or pin images for future reference. Once you’ve gathered all your images, figure out what you specifically like about across each of them and lock down a style. Again, I decided to go with a Balayage, with light ash brown pieces throughout my dark hair.
Next is to research Salons in the area (don’t limit yourself to a specific location if you’re willing to trek far for quality work)! Look at their Yelp page and Instagram to get a glimpse of their portfolio. You want to make sure that they cater to the style you’re looking to achieve! The individual stylists generally have their own social feed as well so if you find a particular person who you would like to work with, don’t hesitate to request them when booking an appointment! I ended up getting mine done at Stem Salon located in Walnut Creek. I was also lucky enough to book a last minute session with Stephanie, a color stylist. This isn’t required but I found it helpful to compile all of the inspirational images into a mood board and share it with your stylist via e-mail prior to your appointment.
Note: If you’ve used box dye on your hair in the past – make sure to mention this to your stylist. Often times, this can affect how the color will react with your hair.
Honestly, be prepared to shell out a chunk of money at the salon. Depending on your length of hair and the location itself, you’d probably be spending anywhere between $150-300 for a Balayage.
Before you get started, make sure you and your stylist are on the same page! Refer back to the moodboard you provided and verbally explain what you would like. Remember to be as transparent as possible because your stylist can’t read your mind and the more detailed information they have, the happier you’ll be with the result! Asian hair tends to get brassy with it’s red/orange undertones so I made sure to point out that I wanted it as cool toned as possible. Once you have all your expectations laid out, expect to spend up to 4-8 hours at the salon (again, depending on your hair length and how good your hair takes the color).
This type of hairstyle is low maintenance (especially in comparison to ombre). However, this doesn’t mean that you should neglect a proper home care regime! As we approach the warmer months, our hair will be exposed to greater sun, saltwater, and chlorine — all of which can damage your balayage. If you don’t protect your hair from the sun, your hair will more than likely fade and expose it’s undertone (revealing orange/brassy hues). It is recommended that you go in for gloss treatments every 4-6 weeks to keep the tone in check! However, I recommend using a Purple Shampoo + Conditioner to maintain it’s color as long as possible like this one by Joico. Lastly, when styling with heat, make sure to always use some kind of heat protectant spray or oil.
I hope you found this helpful and let me know what you think of my new hair in the comments below!
xo, Donna Belle