Balayage 101: What It Is & How To Charge Accordingly
Coloring techniques that include balayage have grown significantly in the past few years. As a truly bespoke service, it’s always a great idea to brush up on the foundations as stylists continue to grow their offerings. Here, we break down everything you need to know about balayage, along with how to charge in the salon and a few take-home tips to offer to your clients.
What Balayage Means:
The term “balayage,” which translates to “sweep away” in French, originated in Paris during the ’70s. Originally called “balayage á coton,” named after the strips of cotton used to separate the hair during applications — the freehand technique is used to add subtle light and dimension to strands. Unlike standard highlights, this technique doesn’t require any foil and is known for the ability to deliver seamless, natural-looking lightening results. Due to the artistic nature, colorists are able to apply color where and as needed, to create movement and dimension without harsh lines of demarcation.
When To Use Balayage:
If your client is looking for a subtle, “sun-kissed” appearance or a soft transition, balayage is usually the best option. Not only will the application look natural, but it can be tailored to create any shade under the sun — from golden blonde to bubblegum pink.
Due to the fact that balayage is such a bespoke service, it is important to have clear communication with your client. Visual examples are a great place to start and should be followed up with clear questions about the thickness of sections, strokes and the level of lift they wish to achieve. *If they are looking for a brighter result, be sure to address the fact that it may take a few times to get the exact result that you are looking for.
Which Bleach to Use for Balayage:
Balayage is best achieved with clay-based bleaches or lighteners designed specifically for “open-air” or “free-hand” techniques. This allows the stylist to paint freely on the hair, much like a canvas, without worrying about the product drying too quickly before developing or bleeding.
Appointments, Upkeep and Home Care:
Balayage is a fairly low-maintenance color service. Unlike traditional highlights or permanent color, which both require frequent touch-ups as the hair grows; balayage leaves behind a softer appearance without lines of demarcation.
A balayage service, can span anywhere from 1-2 hours or longer depending on the goals and should be priced accordingly. Clients can expect the results to last 8-10 weeks and occasionally will require gloss touch ups in-between.
To ensure color lasts as long as possible suggest that clients use a purple toning shampoo 1-2 times a week to keep brassiness at bay, minimize hot tool usage and invest in a deep conditioner to restore softness and shine post-lightening.
How Much to Charge for Balayage:
Balayage can sometimes be extremely labor intensive so you’ll need to charge your clients accordingly. During the consultation discuss a service minimum with them based on hair length and density. You'll want to let them know that because they may have underlying factors within the hair that might not be present until you start lifting that it may require a few hours of work and that you will be charging for your labor and your time. You can also determine your service charges based on whether you’ll be creating full, partial or face-framing balayage. While it might be a bigger investment up front, ensure clients that because balayage has little to no line of demarcation that they will be able to go longer between appointments, cutting down on their overall spend throughout the year.
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