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What's The Secret to Finding the Best Balayage for my Client?

amy lawrenson.jpg
Sep 242019
By Amy Lawrenson
Find the best balayage for your client
Here are some pointers to ensure that you’re giving your client a balayage that is totally on point for them.

Every client that walks through the salon door is unique, so helping them to find the perfect balayage for their hair should be a unique process, too! Balayage is one of the most asked for hair techniques right now, and for good reason, because it is so versatile. Regardless of hair length, texture or colour there is a balayage look for every single client and it’s your job to guide them to total balayage bliss. Below are some pointers to ensure that you’re giving them a balayage that is totally on point for them.

"Will Balayage work on my hair?"

This is one of the most-asked questions and unless your client has a buzz cut, the answer is yes! Balayage can add beautiful definition to curly hair, create the illusion of fullness and texture in fine hair and even contour the face especially on shorter-haired clients. Yep, balayage is like makeup for your strands!

Searches for Brunette Balayage spike +106% come autumn, clients want to evolve from lighter, brighter, beachier looks to something more seasonally on trend. Your client may be naturally brunette and want some subtle blonde tones woven through to lift their complexion or they could be blonde and want to add some dark pieces for a more autumnal vibe. Make sure you’re both on the same page of the balayage book by showing them some images. A picture speaks a thousand words, so it’s well worth having a Pinterest board or saved images on your Instagram that shows balayage on different hair textures and virgin colours. That way, you can show your clients what effect you’re both aiming for helping to put them at ease.

How to do a Balayage consultation

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There are a few key things to cover off in a balayage consultation. Brunette balayage is trending, especially cool tones but always take into consideration what shade family— warm, cool or neutral— will suit the client. If they lean towards silver jewellery and a blue-grey palette in their wardrobe, cool tones will most likely suit them best, but if they’re dripping in gold jewellery and always reach for coral, pink and tan accents in their outfits, then a warmer-toned balayage is more likely to work. If they’re lucky enough to suit both cool and warm tones, then chat through what their preference is right now.

Don’t forget to let your clients know how easy balayage is to carry off! “Subtle colour techniques will make your clients look like the best version of themselves,” says Ashleigh Hodges, Matrix Global Artistic Director

Balayage should be low maintenance for the client, it’s not a complete colour overhaul so it shouldn’t affect their makeup or wardrobe choices afterwards, it should work to emphasise their natural colouring and beauty. 

If a client is nervous of colour, but keen to jump on the balayage bandwagon, go easy and try baby lights (more on those later). Apply a few complexion-lifting pieces and explain that, if they like it, they can add more next time.

Show your client: Balayage can work on short hair!

On Instagram and Pinterest, balayage is often shown on long, wavy hair but balayage can work just as well on short hair, too. Not only does it add texture to a pixie crop, bob or lob, but adding pieces of balayage around the face can lift the complexion and even contour the cheekbones. Tell this to your clients and they’ll be keen to try it.

A long face can be nicely framed by light pieces on dark hair or darker pieces on light hair just around the front, from the mid-lengths down to add the illusion of width.


On a heart shaped face adding lighter pieces around the cheeks and ends can soften a pointy chin.


If your client has an oval face apply balayage so it’s level with the middle of the face to accentuate their cheekbones. It’s like contouring with hair!


Round faces can be lengthened by keeping the top dark and graduating to lighter ends. A few subtle, light pieces around the forehead and cheekbones will also create an illusion of length.


For square, angular faces a very subtle and pretty gradient from dark to light can soften everything.


How to explain Blonding Techniques to your client

Balayage is well known these days, but there are so many other blending techniques that live in the same world as balayage but offer slightly different end results. Be sure to let your clients know all the options before you get them gowned up!

Tell your client about Root-smudging: A seriously popular technique right now, root smudging involves adding depth to the root area and, in some cases, extending it. "The root smudge is so on point because it really enhances the rest of the hair colour,” says Ashleigh. “It’s all about the 90s this season and that grunge feel is definitely coming through – but in a chicer way. Deepening the roots makes the colour look more natural, but also makes the blonde look blonder.”

Tell your client about… Foilyage: For clients that want a look that’s a bit bolder, why not recommend foilyage? This is where the freehand painted pieces are then placed into foil, this prevents the bleach from drying and results in a brighter blonde. “Foilyage is amazing for brunettes and darker bases because you really get that extra pop of lift.” says Ashleigh. And top tip, “I love the deeper smoky root trend combined with foilyage, as most brunettes still need depth for their skin tone and keeping a rich root really works for that.”

Tell your client about… Baby lights: On the flip side, you might have a client that is nervous of dying their hair or wants a seriously subtle lift. If this is the case, guide them towards baby lights. This is where you apply the subtlest highlights to the hair, again using a freehand technique, but this time to create an effect that is similar to natural sun kissed highlights on a child’s virgin hair (hence the name).

Tell your client about… Ombré and Sombré: Ombré is for clients that want to make a statement! This is where the colour transitions gradually from the natural colour at the roots to an opposite colour at the ends, so it could be brunette to blonde or blonde to brunette. Once the hair is lightened, clients can always experiment with adding bright pops of rainbow colour! Sombré, on the other hand, is the same ombré transition but super subtle, mellow and seriously sophisticated.

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"How do I look after my Balayage?"

Every great colourist knows that you can only do so much! The client needs to take care of their lightened strands to prevent them turning brassy. Make sure to let them know that tap water, pollution, UV rays and heat styling can all turn a clean bright blonde brassy! But that they can swerve the tangoed strands by using the Matrix Total Results Brass Off at-home range of products to all your balayage customers.

And there you have it, all the tips and tricks you need to offer a balayage consultation that will have your client feeling confident that they’re in the best hands!

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