The Good. The Bad. The Balayage. Care Tips for the Good and Fixes for the Bad

In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of hair color trends, balayage hair stands out as a technique beloved by many for its natural-looking, sun-kissed highlights that promise to transform any mane into a work of art (much like the photos above). However, achieving the perfect balayage hair look can sometimes go awry (fortunately, we have a LOT of experience with them)! The importance of understanding this technique and knowing how to remedy any balayage mishaps cannot be overstated, as it's not just about looking good—it's about feeling confident and radiant in one's own skin. Our enthusiastic pursuit of beauty and health through hair excellence makes this topic not just relevant, but essential for anyone looking to maintain or correct their balayage hair.

Diving into the specifics, we will first illuminate the nuances of the balayage technique and why it's such a cherished hair-coloring method. Then, we'll explore the critical aspect of balayage aftercare, emphasizing how the right practices can preserve the longevity and luster of balayage hair. Lastly, we will confront the dilemma of a balayage gone wrong and provide actionable corrective measures, which can bring a beacon of hope for disillusioned strands. 

Understanding Balayage

Technique and Application

Meta: This is an image of bleach applied to dark hair for a balayage. This image is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Good. The Bad. The Balayage. Care tips and how to fix the ones that go awry”.

Balayage, a term derived from the French word meaning "to sweep," is a specialized hair coloring technique that originated in France. This method involves hand-painting highlights onto the hair, creating a natural, sun-kissed look. Unlike traditional highlighting methods that use foils for uniform strands, balayage offers a more artistic and customizable approach. Stylists apply a pre-lightener or color to specific sections of the hair, focusing on areas that would naturally be lighter due to sun exposure. This technique ensures a soft transition and complements the individual's skin tone and hair texture, making it a low-maintenance choice due to the absence of a harsh demarcation line as the hair grows.

Popular Balayage Styles

Balayage's versatility allows it to be adapted to various hair lengths, types, and styles, achieving a range of looks from subtle highlights to bold, transformative color effects. The Traditional Balayage involves hand-painting highlights using a sweeping motion, focusing on areas around the face and ends for a sun-kissed effect. In contrast, the Freehand Balayage showcases the stylist’s artistic skills, using hands, paddle boards, and brushes to create customized, freeform highlights. The Foilayage combines traditional foiling with balayage techniques, intensifying the lightning process for more pronounced highlights. Additionally, techniques like Babylights and Ombre or Sombre variations cater to those seeking ultra-fine highlights or a gradient effect from darker roots to lighter ends, providing flexibility and striking results tailored to personal preferences.


Balayage Aftercare

Daily Care Routine

To maintain the allure of balayage hair, it's crucial to adjust your hair-washing routine. Avoid washing your hair for at least three days post-treatment to allow the color pigments to fully settle. After this period, limit hair washing to 2-3 times a week, using (TERRI MAKE SUGGESTIONS HERE). Incorporate a deep conditioning treatment weekly and consider a natural oil like almond oil for extra moisture, applying it mainly to the ends if your hair tends to get oily.


Dos and Don'ts

  1. Do Use Dry Shampoo: Between washes, utilize dry shampoo to absorb excess oil and refresh your hair without stripping the balayage color.
  2. Do Protect Your Hair from Heat: Minimize the use of heat styling tools. When necessary, always apply a heat protectant to shield your hair and preserve the balayage. Our go-to heat protectant is the Oway Smoothing Fluid
  3. Don't Forget UV Protection: Protect your balayage from the sun’s UV rays by using hair products with UV protection or wearing a hat during prolonged sun exposure. Our go-to sun protectant is the Oway Sunlight Serum.
  4. Another great option to maintain a balayage is the Oway HBRIGHT treatment. The Oway HBRIGHT is infused with hibiscus, perilla, and cotton protein. Due to it’s incredible ingredients, Oway HBRIGHT helps to rebuild the hair while brightening old hair color, adding shine, and deep conditioning all while leaving the hair smooth. HBRIGHT is similar to a glossing service, but will never strip moisture out of the hair. This is ideal for someone who just feels their balayage or highlights look dull. Schedule your Oway HBRIGHT Service today!
  5. Do Regular Toning Touch-Ups: The beauty of the balayage is that it doesn’t require monthly touch-ups (you can easily extend the look 6-8+ weeks). However, coming in for a monthly toner service will absolutely revamp luster! Schedule your Toning Service today!


Corrective Measures for a Bad Balayage

Consulting a Professional

This is an image of a girl showing off her balayage that went epically wrong. You can easily see the harsh stopping points between the lightened sections and her natural hair. This photo is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Good. The Bad. The Balayage. Care tips and how to fix the ones that go awry”. Photo was found on Reddit.

For those encountering significant color mismatches or harsh demarcations, consulting a hair color specialist is crucial! (Those of you in San Antonio, Texas, come see our hair healers, as we excel in the art of the balayage!) *** See us work out magic here! ***

Here at the salon, we often start with a consultation so we can get a look at your current balayage. At this point, it is critical for the client to explain why their current balayage is not meeting their goal. Though we can identify what changes WE suggest, our goal is to help the client get THEIR desired hair! Additionally, we ask our clients to show one or more photos of their dream balayage so our hair healers can determine the best course of action to achieve the desired result. 

Next, we devise a plan! Depending on the clients’ current and natural hair color, the dream balayage may require a few sessions. This way, we can gradually lighten without damaging the hair.  

At this point, we go into the prelightening phase using our favorite bleach, the Oway Hbleach. Due to its cream base, the Oway Hbleach is mild and the least aggressive bleach on the market! Not only does it lift the color, it also helps to repair and heal the hair at the same time (which is especially helpful when going over previous pre-lightened areas). 

Once the desired lift is achieved, we then go in with a gloss-type color, the OWAY Hnectar. The beauty of the Hnectar is that it does not contain harmful ingredients such as PPD, resorcinal, or phthalates, and yet — the color will last as long as regular hair dye. Not only that, Hnectar acts as a healing agent (leaving the hair shiny and moisturized) while coloring the hair! Ultimately, when fixing a not-so-desired balayage, our goal is to help our clients get their ideal results while ensuring the integrity of the hair!

Note that a balayage is a two-step process! So expect to hang out with us at the salon for about 4-5 hours!

DIY Fixes

To fix a balayage-gone-wrong, there are realy two goals. Either a client wants to have a balayage, or ditch the balayage and go back to (or close to) their natural hair color. 

For those that want to fix their balayage, their demarcation line (see the image above as a reference) needs to be addressed. The best thing that can be done from home is to add a demi-permanent hair color to the hair. By doing so, this will help “mute” the overall look (making the line less dramatic). That said, this is really only a temporary fix until the client can get into a salon. The reality is, tthe only true way to fix a demarcation line is by pre-lightening the hair and undergoing an in-salon correction. 

For those who want to ditch the balayage altogether, schedule a consultation with one of our hair healers! Once we can see the hair, we can make suggestions for at-home coloring, send you home with color, or we can do it for them! 

Pro tip: Don’t just slap some color on the lightened ends! Without the proper steps, hair can turn green. Learn more here.


Final Thoughts

Throughout this exploration of the art and science behind balayage, we've navigated the intricate process of achieving perfect, sun-kissed highlights, the vital role of aftercare, and the avenues available for correcting any mishaps. The journey from understanding the nuances of balayage to maintaining its allure, and remedying when things don't go as planned, underscores the importance of care, expertise, and the right approach towards hair treatment. It's clear that whether maintaining the health and beauty of balayage hair or correcting a balayage gone wrong, the key is patience, knowledge, and the willingness to invest in one's hair.

As we conclude, remember that the essence of balayage is not just in achieving a desired aesthetic but in embracing a philosophy of personal care that blends artistry with technique. Whether through professional guidance or careful home care, the resilience and versatility of balayage hair can be fully realized, leaving one feeling confident and radiant. Embracing the challenge of perfecting or correcting balayage hair opens up a world of beauty possibilities, encouraging a deeper appreciation for the craft and its potential to express our unique individuality.