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Growing up my mom told me that I could do whatever I wanted to my hair!… If I paid for it. Unfortunately, the salon isn’t cheap and I never had enough money to get the blue or purple hair I wanted (thank goodness). I always wanted to try to color my own hair but was way too connected to my hair to experiment into the unknown. Especially when I wanted to go lighter. So I grew up, and went to beauty school! At beauty school, I learned all I needed to know to give me the confidence to color my own hair.
I always get lots of compliments on my hair, and love to see the reaction when I tell them I do it myself! I’m sure that gets the ball rolling in their minds too. “If she can do it, why can’t I?” Yeah, why not? But before you run down to Walmart for some box with a beautiful blonde on the front, let me give you some tips. Then you won’t turn out looking like one of those troll dolls. Remember it took me 3 sessions of trial and error to get to my hair today. Play around and see what works best for you, it likely will take a few sessions.
Product- Here’s What I Use to do my Balayage:
Keep in mind I use all professional products. I will try to link where you can buy them without a license.
1. Color Bowl
Any color bowl works, I got mine from Sally Beauty Supply on sale for $1.50! Or you can save yourself some money and buy a brush bowl combo here!
Okay guys, I know how easy it is to run down to Walmart and grab a box bleach, but DON’T! If you want to really damage your hair and end up with a color not even similar to what you imagined, I can’t stop you. But those pictures on the front? Yeah, they’re liars! Any hairstylist’s worst nightmare is a client strolling in plopping down in your chair and saying, “Oh! It’s a box color!”. If you’re going to do it yourself USE PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTS! Your hair and stylist will thank you.
I like to use Wella Blondor Multi Blonde Powder Lightener, It’s my favorite bleach to use! However, if you have a slightly smaller budget, Quick White Powder Lightener is still a good option and is about $15 cheaper!
Oh Olaplex, the fountain of youth for your hair! If you ever plan on lightening your hair, Olaplex is a necessity! Olaplex is a professional hair 3 step treatment to limit the amount of damage done to the hair when coloring and lightening. It strengthens, multiplies, and protects disulfide bonds, which means lighter and longer hair! This stuff is gold my friends. However, the only place to find it if you aren’t licensed is online! It can get pretty pricey, but it’s worth every penny. Olaplex Traveling Stylist Kit for All Hair Types Kit. Guys, even if you aren’t doing your hair yourself grab some Olaplex and bring it to your stylist! Tell her in advance in case she hasn’t used it before! It will literally save your hair! Go check out Olaplex on Instagram (@Olaplex)and you’ll see what I’m talking about! Never lighten without Olaplex!!
You’re going to need some developer to get that lightener working! I would normally just use a 20 Volume developer, but when using Olaplaex you need to up your developer one level, So I use 30 Volume Creme Developer, which can also be purchased at Sally’s. If your hair is more resistant, ethnic, dark, coarse, curly hair, a 40 Volume Creme Developer may be better for you.
5. Color Brush.
Any color brush will work but I like to use an extra wide jumbo brush because it gets the job done faster. However, You can use a smaller brush for more control if you are feeling a little hesitant. You can save money and buy the bowl and brush in a combo here!
Use a cape, towel, old t-shirt, anything you don’t mind getting bleached or colored. I find the t-shirt works the best because when you are lifting your hands to your head, it doesn’t shift or fly in your face.
Latex gloves or even sandwich bags work if you don’t want to buy a whole box. Or Sally’s sells single pairs for about $2. These are very important, you could just do it with your hands but after a while that bleach WILL burn your fingers! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Not a brush, a comb. Any comb will do the job, I just use a normal barbering comb which you can get from Sally’s for a few cents. Or grab a veriety pack here!
9. Plastic Wrap.
Whichever plastic wrap you prefer. Aluminum foil will also work but I use plastic wrap because it is lighter, there is less slip, and you can see the hair processing so there is no need to keep opening the foils to check if they’re done!
I use Redken Redken Shades EQ 09V Platinum Ice . This one is on Amazon for about $10. Toner is used to add or neutralize pigment so if your not liking the color now (gold, warm, brassy), hold your breath! This toner will take away any brassy yellow pigments by adding violet pigments. Don’t freak out when your hair starts looking purple, it will wash out leaving you with a beautiful ash blonde! It left me with a beautiful silvery blonde which faded to a wonderful ash blonde. If you are wanting a different shade of blonde, for example a honey blonde or golden blonde try a 9NB or 9G. Quick tip: To use my toner (9V) your hair has to be VERY light after bleaching! If you used the 9V and nothing happened, your hair is too dark. Instead of taking your hair through another lightening process, buy the same toner for darker blondes like an 8V or even a 7V!
11. Processing Solution.
Redken Shades EQ Gloss Processing Solution 33.8 Oz (1000 ml) is Shades EQ’s own developer. Yes, you need to use this specific developer. You can purchase it for $16 on Amazon. Don’t try to use a different developer with Shades EQ. From experience, the end result is off from what it should be and it fades faster. So yes, it is worth it to buy the Processing Solution. Besides, now you’ll have it to tone your hair whenever you feel like it needs to be refreshed!
Before you begin make sure your hair is dry.
Also, it is best that your hair is bit dirty, so second or third-day hair is perfect! Once you have your old t-shirt and gloves on I sectioned off my hair, leaving a thin bottom layer.
Next, Mix your bleach, Olaplex, and developer.
Unfortunately, I am writing this post after the fact, so I don’t recall how much lightener I ended up using. Just work with 1 or 2 oz of powder lighter at a time, and remix if needed. Add 1/8 oz of Olaplex No.1 to 1 oz of lightening powder mix, then add your developer. I never measure my developer just keep adding little by little till your lightener is about the consistency of Yoplait yogurt.
Now it’s application time!
This is where you get to be creative. I pulled my first layer of hair forward in front of my shoulders and selected my 1st section. I varied my section width but remember to keep the height of your layers thin, if they are too thick the lightener will not penetrate and leave a splotchy look. Start by backcombing that section quite a bit. This will give you a little more insurance that there will not be a bit line in your hair.
Next, decide how high you want your balayage and start applying. You don’t want to have very much bleach on your brush, start with a small amount and add more if you feel you need it. These are the three shapes I used when doing my own hair, you can use one or all of them! The ‘W’ the ‘V’ and what I like to call the ‘swoosh’.
These pictures are from hairbynatalia.com
Remember to really saturate your ends!
But at the top where your actual shape is, don’t use a lot of bleach, you want your balayage to fade into your hair not look like zebra stripes.
Once you have saturated your section, wrap it in a piece of plastic wrap. Make sure not to squeeze it, just pat it on to the section. You can also use a sandwich method and use two pieces of wrap to sandwich the hair. I like to keep the saturated ends more tight under the wrap so no air penetrates it while I leave the top more exposed. I do this to again help with the fade and blending. Your lightener will dry out and stop processing in the air so if you leave the wrap a bit more loose at the top then it will not be as bright as the ends helping to blend everything.
As you continue working, check on your oldest sections as to how they are processing. If you see a spot you need to fix, open it and add more bleach. Or if is as light as you want, pull off your wrap and let it dry out. You can also spray it with water to stop the processing. Remember that you may not get as light as you want the first time, so if it looks like it isn’t processing anymore, pull it out to prevent damage to your hair. Once all your hair has processed sufficiently, rinse your hair.
Time to Tone:
Wring out your hair so it is just damp then mix your toner. I mixed the whole 2oz of Redken 9V with 2oz Processing Solution. Mix this in a color bowl or application bottle and apply to all the lightened areas. Remember to really saturate! You’ll notice it change colors quickly if it doesn’t then your hair isn’t light enough for that toner.
If you want to use my same toner, your hair needs to be very very light! Don’t get freaked out when your hair turns a bit silvery, mine was straight lavender. Keep your toner on for 20 min and then rinse and thoroughly towel dry. Next, add a generous amount of Olaplex No. 2 from roots to ends and comb through. Leave this on for a minimum of 10-20min you can let that baby soak in longer if you have previously damaged hair. Finally wash, dry and style.
Yay! Now you have a beautiful balayage! Try curling it! Here are some bonus tips and products!
Watch your hands! You have any bleach on your gloves then touch your hair, it will leave a spot! I wiped my gloved hands on a towel between each section.
Don’t use your nice towels, that toner and bleach will not be nice to it!
Blowing a hot blowdryer on the wrapped hair can help speed up processing time, just don’t melt that wrap!
12. Healthy ends!
The Olaplex allowed me to go 4 shades lighter with almost no damage! But my hair had some split ends before so it’s a good idea to give yourself a baby trim. Pull your straight hair to the front and trim for happy healthy ends!!
13. A hydrating oil.
My favorite oil to use is Aloxxi Style Essential 7 Restorative Hair Serum. A cheaper alternative would also be a Moroccan oil or Argan oil! These oils just keep your hair moisturized especially at those ends which prevents breakage!
14. Purple Shampoo
Lastly, if you want to keep that ashy blonde, get yourself some purple shampoo! The rich purple color will cancel out any brassy tones.This works similarly to a toner just not as powerful! Perfect to keep up that color without the whole toning process! Simply was your hair with it, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse!
15. Use a Leave-in Conditioner!
I cannot say this enough! Use a leave in conditioner every single time you wash your hair! That’s where you can continue to use Olaplex No. 3 or I also Revlon Uniqone Coconut. This will cost you about $16 in a salon so grab it here for $11 instead!
What products do I use to color the brown?
The brown color is actually my natural color, sorry! But these are two colors that are very similar, Aloxxi’s chroma in 6G is the most similar and I love the warmth it brings! Another would be Redken Color Gels in 6N . This one is easier to get your hands on than Aloxxi but is still a beautiful color! Here is a link to both colors!
You may also like: Top 5 Salon Secrets to Grow Your Hair Longer and Faster! Tips that really work! From a licensed professional.