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Coloured hair is an instant pick-me-up, and probably one of the first things you’re likely to book in for when you have a big occasion on the horizon, quite simply because a fresh application of colour makes hair look great and will cheer up your overall look.
One of the best things about the balayage approach is that pieces can be completely bespoke, allowing a colourist to pick out sections that need work and leaving those that don’t entirely alone and thereby minimise damage.
That said, coloured hair in whatever guise does tax the hair, and if you want yours to look shiny and healthy, you have to put in a little bit of work. Here are some things to bear in mind if you want to get the most from your freshly-coloured hair:
1) Dial down the heat.
This is the single easiest and most effective step in caring for balayaged ends and coloured hair in general. Whether you go for a hairdryer or a styling tool, use it on the lowest temperature possible to get the effect you want, and use a heat protector if you can (the GHD Heat Protect Spray is excellent). Never use a hot styling tool on hair that’s even slightly damp as doing so will singe the hair.
2) Pick up a colour-depositing shampoo.
Whatever your colour, there’s now a shampoo that’ll keep it looking vibrant for longer. Good brands that make them include Joico, R + Co, John Frieda, and Schwarzkopf Professional. Use every wash or every other wash to reduce colour fade, and, if you’re alternating, do so with a gentle cleansing shampoo.
3) Condition, condition, condition.
This may sound obvious, but hydrating and putting slip into your hair so that it is less likely to tangle is absolutely crucial if you want your hair to stay shiny and healthy. Use a mask once a week and condition balayaged portions after shampooing each time.
When you have balayaged hair, you will undoubtedly focus a lot on caring for your coloured lengths. It’s important to do so: hair that’s been processed is invariably in need of a little more care, and a regime of masks combined with minimal heat styling and regular trims to keep the ends healthy are all sensible measures that’ll keep your locks lustrous.
But what about your scalp? It’s an easy area to overlook, but one that, once cared for, will unquestionably impact the health of the rest of your hair. The skin on your scalp can be oily, congested, flaky, or simply carry a build up of pollution or dead skin cells, all of which will make hair sit differently and which may hamper the growth process.
Caring for your scalp doesn’t involve a lot of time or effort. These three simple things will make a huge difference and could change the appearance of your hair:
1) Up circulation.
Increased circulation carries oxygen and nutrition to the skin’s surface, which benefits your scalp enormously. Try massaging it when you’re shampooing (side bonus: this will take the focus off your balayaged ends and reduce the chance of your pulling at them). If you want to go a step further, get your hands on the Hayo’u Method Beauty Restorer Comb Head Massage Tool, brushing your scalp with it gently once daily.
2) Scrub it.
Just as you might exfoliate your body or face to rid your skin of dead cells, your scalp benefits from similar treatment.
The easiest way to do this one is to buy a scalp scrub and apply a little to your parting, rub in small circles, then part hair again and massage it into the new parting until you’ve covered the majority of your scalp. Good ones to opt for include OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub, and IGK Low Key Cleansing Walnut Scalp Scrub.
3) Treat it.
Once scrubbed, your scalp skin is perfectly primed for a treatment. Try Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner if you suffer from dandruff or an itchy scalp, while Hair Rituel By Sisley Revitalizing Fortifying Serum is ideal if you want to strengthen your hair from the root.
The problem with balayage is that can all get too much. I’ll bet you never thought you’d hear me say that!
I’m serious though. There is a real problem with people putting too many balayage pieces in. Colourists are overlapping their hand-painted highlights and it’s not a good look.
When you have too many pieces of balayage it starts to become an ombre and I am SO over that! It’s blocky and solid and it looks heavy and very obviously coloured.
Balayage is all about contrasts and the key to a beautiful balayage is to have plenty of negative space (the background colour or the natural colour) between the pieces.
So, the next time you pick up your tint brush to paint highlight after highlight stop to think about the look you are trying to achieve.
If the client wants a soft, natural-looking balayage then don’t forget the ultimate words of wisdom: LESS IS MORE!
How is your balayage technique? If you’re still not comfortable with hair painting or if you feel like you could do with brushing up on your technique (pardon the pun!), I’ve teach the perfect balayage training course to bring out the best in your skills.
Is there any hair colour that looks quite so beautiful as a little girl’s multi-tonal locks at the end of the summer? All those gorgeous sun-kissed tones reflecting in the light with a shimmering effect that’s complemented by stunning lightness framing the front.
It’s natural beauty. If only you could recreate that as a grown up…
You can. Step forward babylights.
Babylights are uber fine weaves that are strategically placed to give a subtle multi-tonal effect to the hair.
A colourist can spread a few babylights out through the hair to add a little shimmer to your look or you can have hundreds of them for a colour change. The most important thing is that they need to be super soft, fine and delicate.
To me, babylights are a reaction to lazy-boy weaves, chunking and the heavy foil highlights techniques that all left clients with obviously coloured hair.
That’s not to say they can’t be done with foil though. Your colourist might do them free-hand (known as hair painting) or use foil or a meche to package them up and allow the colour to develop.
Will babylights suit you?
Because they’re so natural and are done with tone-on-tone colour and super-fine highlights, babylights can work on any colour or texture of hair.
You’re likely to get lots of compliments, but people won’t really be sure what’s different.
For me, babylights look best on bobs, lobs and long hair. They’re super soft and feminine so don’t work so well with anything too choppy or messy.
What should you ask for?
I really believe that you shouldn’t be asking for anything. You should be showing your colourist. That could be magazine pics, it could be pinterest boards, it could be a photo on Instagram, but give your colourist something to work with and they’ll know the best way to achieve that look.
If you like to talk or be in the know about your terminology, just ask for some uber fine babylights and let them know the colours you have in mind – I’d avoid any dramatic contrasts in shades.
Are you thinking that babylights could help create your perfect look for party season, but don’t know where to go to have them applied? Book now for a consultation with me in Paul Edmonds London Salon.
Wasn’t summer great? The heat wave that lasted for weeks and weeks, a welcome break from all the chat about Brexit, the World Cup! Not to mention how much better you looked.
Yes, your tan helped, but the way the sun naturally brightened up your hair made a huge difference that dramatically improved your whole appearance.
Just like the hopes of ‘it coming home’ and your tan, those pick-me-up highlights are long gone, but it’s really easy for men to recreate their summer hair style with a few coloured pieces of hair.
If you’re a man whose toying with hair colour, I urge you push any thoughts of obviously coloured hair and that Just For Men vibe out of your mind. The trick with guys’ hair colour is to keep it natural and not over-exaggerate it.
Hair colour works great for any man with a bit of length through the top and I find that balayage highlights, a couple of shades lighter than your natural colour, work best to recreate that sexy summer vibe.
My favourite technique is called New York Lights, a balayage technique that works brilliantly for my male clients because it’s done at the backwash – so you don’t need to be seen having your hair coloured (unless you want to!).
I always balayage a man’s hair after it has been cut too, because the style should dictate where the lighter pieces go – and it makes for a super quick service.
Whether you’re reluctantly being pushed to have your hair colour by a partner or are tempted but feel nervous about the idea of sitting in the salon with foils through your hair, it really is time to go for it. You’ll look better. You’ll feel better and, if your colourist has got anything about them they’ll ensure that you feel completely at ease throughout the whole experience. What are you waiting for?
My top tips for hair colour for men
- Do save a photo you like (or that your partner likes!) onto your phone. No hairdresser is going to laugh at you. They’re going to be relieved that they’ve got a starting point to give you the hair colour you like
- Don’t go for all-over colour – even if you’re trying to hide greys. It will look obviously coloured and you’ll regret it.
- Don’t try to push it. Again, it’s going to look fake. Take it a maximum of three shades lighter to replicate what the sun does.
- Don’t be intimidated. If you feel uncomfortable sitting on the salon floor, don’t be scared to ask your hairdresser to colour it at the backwash or in a private area.
Are you looking for someone to make you look better or advise you what you should be doing with your color? I’m currently taking bookings for consultations and colour clients at Paul Edmonds in London. You can book here.
Confession time: I get confused when I go looking down the hair colour aisle in Boots! So many boxes; so many pretty pictures and strange names.
Choosing the right one is a complete minefield.
And yet nearly half of all women who get their hair coloured choose to do it at home. If you’re one of those people who use a box colour – or are a sometimes user of at home hair dye – please hear me out as I share the 8 reasons you’d look (and feel) so much better if you had your hair coloured in a salon.
- You’ll choose a hair colour that really suits you
Hairdressers and hair colourists train hard. We learn about the science of hair and hair colour and we also learn about shades choices and what depths work with different skin tones, so we can help find your perfect shade. Good colourists will talk to you about the look you want to wear and then choose the right colours to make that happen.
- And you’ll actually get that shade
That pretty picture on the box might be just the hue you have in mind, but without knowing what the model’s base colour was, or what condition her hair was in you can’t know whether you’re going to get the same shade. Put simply, it’s a hair colour lottery.
- You’re less likely to suffer from an allergic reaction
It’s an age of allergies and we’ve all seen the scary pics of someone who’s reacted badly to colour (usually at-home-colour). Your colourist should do a skin test before your first colour application (if they don’t, please choose a different colourist!) so your risk of a reaction will be spotted before the worst happens. They might even have an alternative colour range that will work for you.
- You’ll get a head massage and some ‘me’ time
Need I say more…
- You’ll get multi-tonal colour; not flat colour
Now here’s the truth: I don’t colour my own hair at home. I wouldn’t even try! Multi-tonal colour is all about placement. You need good lighting to see where the pieces should sit at the front and you need another pair of hands (and eyes!) to see where to put any highlights at the back. Do not try guess-work at home folks. You will regret it.
- You’ll get subtle colour blends; not tell-tale lines
That box might say it’s for balayage or ombre, but those looks are all about the technique and the application. It takes lots of PRACTICE to get that right. Balayage shouldn’t have any definite lines, but that’s hard to achieve. In my experience DIY balayage has an unfortunate habit of looking like regrowth.
- You won’t get any nasty surprises
We all know someone who’s ended up a delicious shade of pumpkin or with frazzled ends or nasty bands of colour after an at home dye job. And when that happens you either have to go for the chop, invest in colour correction (now that really can be a costly route to go down) or walk around feeling rather self-conscious until it grows out.
- You’ll learn how to get the best out of your look
Do you know what shampoos, conditioners and styling products you should be using to make your colour (and your style for that matter) look as good as it could? As hairdressers we’re really not trying to give you a hard sell, we’re giving you our professional advice to help you look as good as possible – and it really does make a difference.
The bonus one: You don’t have to tidy up after you.
Do you really want to be emptying out bowls and tubes, cleaning the bathroom and washing towels when you don’t have to?
I genuinely believe that when you find a good colourist you’ll wonder why you even considered colouring your hair at home. Here’s to a stylish new you…
Cultivating a good hair care routine may seem elementary – but it truly isn’t.
Like anything, once you know what you’re doing, it’ll slot into your everyday life without any difficulty, but you need to come up with a routine to suit your hair type and life. That’s where these come in…
- How do you shampoo?
Yes, choice of shampoo is important, but how you use it is almost equally so. If you like to shampoo twice, you need to make sure you’re using a formula that won’t strip. Also, consider how you apply it: you want to massage it into your roots to remove oil, then gently pat the shampoo down your balayaged ends. Never rub – this will weaken hair and encourage breakage.
- How often do you shampoo?
While shampooing regularly won’t necessarily dry your hair out, what you do to it after might. If you’re addicted to your curling tongs, your coloured lengths are more likely to lose strength and lustre. If you want to extend your style, dry shampoo is helpful. Batiste is affordable and available everywhere, while if you like vegan haircare, you might want to try Maria Nila. For a little perfume in your dry shampoo, Sam McKnight makes a great dry shampoo with scent by Lyn Harris.
- Always hydrate
Balayaged hair can be slightly thirsty, so make sure your hair care routine includes a conditioner and try using masks to really pack moisture in. Make it part of your weekly routine so that you don’t forget.
- Think about what happens to your hair once it’s styled
This is key – hair once dry may be less susceptible to breakage, but it still needs care. Consider investing in a hair brush that won’t drag (Mason Pearson hairbrushes are cult for good reason), and switch to a silk pillowcase if you find you hair is knotted when you wake up.
As someone who LOVES commercial hair colour, I’m so excited to tell you that it’s all about natural-looking hair colour right now.
I’m not saying vivids and brights have had their day – there’s always going to be a place for them, especially now there are so many fantastic products to create them, and they are perfect for that colour pop that makes you stand out at a party or a festival – but searches for natural hair colour have now overtaken searches for bright hues. Hooray!
Natural-looking hair colour isn’t just about the choice of shade. It’s about the placement and application too. If you want to have fresh on-trend hair colour, old-school foil highlights simply will not cut it – no matter how good the technician is!
I’m also seeing a bit on an unfortunate trend of people with over-applied balayage. When you have too many pieces of balayage put in, it all becomes a bit too blocky and solid looking, almost like an ombre. That’s starting to look a bit stale and dated.
So how do you achieve hair colour that suits you and looks on trend? These are the key balayage trends I’m seeing in London right now. Go for one of these and you’ve got Autumn/Winter 2018 nailed.
The ginger balayage
I sometimes moan about micro-trends popping up on Instagram and everyone talking about them being ‘the next big thing’, but the ginger balayage is the social media favourite of the moment that is here to stay.
I’m loving the firey reds and shimmering coppers that are the signature of the ginger balayage.
This is a colour trend that works for every client. If you have a blonde base, you’ll look fab with an injection of copper, while brunettes can add more rich intense reds and mahogany balayage to bring their look up to date.
The London blonde
The big vibe for Londoners is a soft au-natural blonde. It isn’t super ashy and we’re over the white-as-white blonde trend that was all over Instagram a couple of seasons ago.
If you’re looking for a bang on trend blonde right now think soft and natural looking. You need to steer clear of brassy tones and nothing too golden. It’s not too perfect, but rather sassy-looking and a little lived-in.
I’m being asked to recreate Emma Louise Connolly’s hair a lot at the moment. She’s one of my clients and she’s really nailed the London balayage look. Gorgeous.
The London brunette
Ashy blondes may have had their day, but it’s all about the ashy brunette.
To nail this trend, avoid too much warmth and there’s no place for that orangey glow you see all too often on brown hair.
When it comes to your balayage, it’s all about the power piece right now, so some face-framing highlights will make all the difference. Keep them within a shade or two of the base colour best results.
Are you still looking for the right hair colourist for you. I’m currently taking bookings for new client consultations and follow-up appointments in Paul Edmonds London salon and I’d love to help you to find your perfect hair colour.