Lightening Services. What to Choose?
All these terms can be confusing when choosing your next hair appointment. And while Pinterest pictures are really helpful to bring in to your stylist, please try not to categorize yourself into a "term". For example, I once had a new client sit in my chair and say she wanted to be "painted". She was adamant she wanted "balayage" and was tired of foils. I said "Great! Lets do it."
Now, this was my mistake. Because firstly, she didn't show me any pictures of what she was going for nor did I ask her to pull any out since she seemed to know what she wanted. Secondly, I should not have allowed myself to be cornered into a technique. Even though she kept saying she wanted "balayage" and wanted "hair paint", had I done a more in depth consultation I would have found out that she was looking for a cool/platinum blonde but with a shadow root.
Once I finished hair painting her and blurred out all the old foil lines, it looked great! BUT it was a warm blonde, not a cool blonde. And why is that? Continue reading to find out. .
Balayage or "hair painting" is a technique where the lightener or hair color is painted directly onto the hair using a brush, sponge or chip brush. The surface of the hair closest to the scalp is feathered on the top and can be saturated through the ends for a bigger pop of color. This creates a soft, beach-like dimension with low-maintence grow out. Usually for this technique a thicker bleach is used like a clay-based lightener. It will lift about 4 levels lighter than your natural hair color and will expose some sort of warmth.
Clients who get this technique often want a little sparkle to their existing natural hair color. This is not for someone who has previous box dye, someone who is naturally dark brown/black looking to go blonde, want high-contrast hair, or someone looking for a platinum/ash blonde.
This technique gives the "balayage" look but incorporates foils. Foils conduct heat and therefore can help the bleach get the hair lighter and help control warmth when the client is looking for a color on the "cooler side". This is the technique I should have used on my client mentioned above. This technique can lift the hair up to 7 levels depending on the developer. This also includes the "babylight" technique.
Clients who receive this service are naturally light/dark brown looking to go cool blonde but still want to have that "painted" look. This technique is also used during color corrections and removing previous dark color.
This technique uses a series of different colors to achieve an ombre affect on previously lightened hair. It's also used with grey coverage, demi-permanent color (lowlights) and/or incorporates bleached out ends depending on the look the client is going for.
Clients who receive this method usually want go darker on their base or are aiming for a more blended look as opposed to a high-contrast look. There are TONS of different variations of a color melt and can be a great way to blend out old foil lines and prepare the client to begin a "balayage" look at their next appointment.
This may be simplest service a client can ask for but have a hard time explaining to their stylist. Say you have been getting foils for a long time and you like the amount of lightness you have, but your over the "lines" look on you root and want it to be a bit more blended without looking like a "grow out line". Solution: shadow root. Tapping out the root area with a color around the same shade as your natural leaves you with your favored blonde but giving the root area dimension and a softer grow out. I almost never leave a client without a root tap out at this point. It makes the highlights look so soft and gives the illusion they grew from the root naturally instead of being placed there.
This is also a great way to introduce dimension to an already super blonde client and can make their blonde look blonder which is never a bad thing to them.
Moral of the story peeps: Bring in those Pinterest pictures and explain to your stylist the color/look your going for, but please don't say you MUST have a certain technique done when it may not be the right method for you. Your stylist will do that for you ;)