Learn the easy 8-step guide to DIY balayage and get that style du jour on a budget from the comfort of your home. It’s been a while since the talk of the town has been anything else than the amazing balayage hair coloring technique.
And for good reason, we may add.
This free-hand technique which implies highlighting hair yields a different result than ombre or conventional tinfoil highlights.
The internet is buzzing with balayage ideas and balayage looks donned by celebrities, on the catwalks or on the streets of the world’s fashion capitals.
Nevertheless, achieving the subtle, sun-kissed finish costs big bucks in professional hair salons. As such, we’ve made it our mission to bring you the easy 8-step guide to DIY balayage.
Our motto: lighter hair on a tight budget.
But first, here is a short overview of what balayage (implicitly DIY balayage) is.
What is Balayage and How to Do Balayage Hair?
Balayage is an innovative, free-hand hair coloring technique used to create a natural, sun-kissed look. Traditional highlights can be more dramatic or slightly more subtle. Nonetheless, they involve saturating your tresses in hair dye and wrapping them in tinfoil.
Depending on your hair type and previous hair treatments, highlights can leave the hair brassy and lifeless. The use of bleach can equally add to the damage.
Balayage has nothing to do with tinfoil, the use of bleach, or prolonged exposure to a heat source. This is why DIY balayage has loads of advantages and can easily be done at home.
This hair coloring technique implies gently coloring the hair strands by hand. As such, your hair looks natural and the highlights are easily kept under control.
Compared to ombre, the balayage method for coloring your hair is far more subtle. Ombre is used to gradually lighten the hair, typically obtaining a duo-toned hair color. The darker color spreads from the roots to mid-length, while the lighter shade is applied on the ends of the hairs.
With DIY balayage you can get a more subtle, elegant, and natural hair color transition as each strand is dyed individually.
Without further ado, here are the 8 steps to achieving the perfect DIY balayage.
8 Steps to DIY Balayage
The steps for DIY balayage highlights are fairly easy to follow and you will learn how to do balayage hair yourself. Don’t despair if you don’t get it right the first time. At worst, your hair will be just a tad lighter than initially planned.
If you have dyed your hair at home before, some of the steps will be a piece of cake.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A balayage board and brush – although optional, the board will ease the whole process.
- A dye that’s a few tones lighter like this sulfate-free and ammonia-free hair dye for dark brown hair or this extra bleach blonde dye for lighter hair or a more nuanced and visible balayage effect.
- Optional: Nourishing and repairing shampoo that works against frizzy hair.
- Optional: Damage control hair treatment to repair damaged hair – especially recommended when using hair dye with extra bleach.
Now, here’s how to do balayage highlights at home:
1. Follow the Instructions on the Box
We guessed that you already chose the hair color you will be using for DIY balayage hair. Note that for a natural look, you need a hair color that’s at most three shades lighter than your natural one.
Now, don’t ignore the instructions on the box.
Also even if you have used the same hair dye or hair dye brand before, it’s recommended that you go through with the allergy test. You never know when allergies develop. That’s why it is best doing a strand test before going all-in with your balayage.
In some cases, the hair is too damaged or uneven for a satisfactory final results. In other cases, you may have an allergy to one of the dye’s ingredients and not even know it. A strand test we’ll help you spot any issues from the get go.
Here’ a short tutorial on how to do a strand test.
Use gloves to prevent your hands from getting tinted and Vaseline or other creams on the areas around your head to prevent dye from tinting your shoulders, ears or back.
Note: If you are looking for a fun look, we also recommend reading our DIY ombre hair tutorials which include colorful transitions from blue to purple, fire red to yellow, or midnight blue to Atlantic blue!
2. Get Your Hair Up
Depending on the DIY balayage effect you’re after, you can create more and more layers. For starters, pull one section of your hair up and secure it in a knot.
Leave a thin hair layer down. Another technique that could help you get your hair ready for do it yourself balayage at home is called the hot cross bun method.
Basically, you divide your hair into four sections by creating a mid-part at first. Then, run a comb from the middle point of the mid part to one year and then the other.
You will have four sections of hair, each making it simpler to work with one section at a time.
3. Twist and Tease
Section by section, twist from mid-length to the end. Tease at the start point of the twist with a comb. This will act as a barrier against the hair dye going to close to the hair roots.
The whole point of DIY balayage is to weave your natural hair color with a lighter shade. Having natural hair roots is more convenient as far as maintaining your hair color goes.
4. Apply the Hair Dye
The first part of each section that gets colored should be the ends. Quickly go through the ends and then start applying from mid-length downwards.
Don’t be scared to use your fingers. While a brush may offer more precision, using your fingers to spread the dye on the tresses which would typically be colored by the sun offers a more natural look.
Apply the hair dye on the rest of the hair without touching the roots.
Naturally, the roots are the most resistant to sunlight exposure discoloration.
5. Secure the First Section
Congratulations! You are now on your way to becoming a DIY balayage expert. The only thing you need to know is that you will need to secure the hair section you have already worked on.
Once again, try to pull the hair up without letting the color bleed on the roots. Bobby pins may help. Pin down the technique and working on the rest of the hair sections will be a breeze.
6. Release Another Hair Section
Whether you’ve used the hot bun cross technique or others, you still have some hair sections to work on. Don’t worry about your DIY balayage highlights not being symmetrical.
One of the greatest advantages of this free-hand coloring technique is the effortlessly natural, unstudied look.
7. Apply the Finishing Touches
You know your hair better than anyone. Of course, hairstylists have a trained eye to spot the specificities. Nevertheless, one extra point for trying DIY balayage is that you can control the exact amount of coloring and the specific area that you want to be more highlighted.
For instance, if during summer your hair tends to have a lighter color around the face, try face framing highlights. They also help the lighter color become more obvious throughout.
8. Rinse, Apply Treatment, and Dry Naturally
Follow the instructions that came with your hair dye and don’t let the color sit for longer than it’s necessary.
Rinse with lukewarm water, tone if you need to and apply hair treatment.
Rinse again, this time leaving your hair to dry out naturally.
You can also try following this video tutorial from YouTube user somegirljess:
This is the easy step by step guide to DIY balayage. Lighter hair while on a budget has never been easier! Try it out and let us know how it went or add your own tips for do it yourself balayage in the comments section below!