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Lowlight and Highlight Balayage Tutorial



Not all blondes are created equally, and whilst many like their blondes bright or ashy, sometimes a natural lived-in blonde can be a great option, especially if you are looking for something super low maintenance.

Today, we will be applying lowlights and highlights for our client to create a beautiful natural, lived-in blonde.

But before we get started, our client has some old colour from a previous session, so we need to clean up our canvas before we can get started.

Removing old vivid colours


Step 1:  As our client only had the colour applied to the top layers, we need to start by isolating the blue sections. Starting from the bottom and working your way up, take thin slices of your client's hair before using your pintail to pick out the blue sections.



Step 2:  Using a balayage board and foil, apply your bleach formula to the blue sections, angling your brush onto its pointed edge and changing stroke directions to ensure that every strand is saturated. The bleach formula we used was 10g of vol 10 developer, 30g flashlight bleach and Olaplex.

Step 3:  Repeat this process throughout the hair until you have covered all of the blue hair.

Step 4:  Check on your foil regularly to keep an eye on how the colour is developing, and apply more bleach if necessary.

Step 5:  Once your first foils have developed, remove them at the basin and use your fingers to blend the bleach slightly towards the root. Work your way through the head, checking on the foils and removing them when developed.

Step 6:  Once all foils have been removed and the bleach smudged towards the root, start rinsing the first side and work your way across the whole head.The bleaching process removed the majority of the blue, however there is still a little remaining, so we will use a toner later to help further correct this colour.Now that we have a cleaner canvas, it is time to dry the hair and start on our lowlight highlight balayage.

Step 1:  Divide the hair through the centre and at the sides, so you have four vertical sections.

Step 2: Begin by weaving babylights around the hairline of the front and back section of one side of the head, around three foils deep. We apply the bleach to the root only, as our client already has very light ends.



Step 3:  Once you have your foils around the entire hairline, you can introduce your lowlights. We used RedKen Shades EQ in colours 7NB (9g), 7N (9g), 7T (6g), 6G (6g) and gloss for our low lights. Begin by lifting the top foil and slicing the hair underneath. Using an alternative coloured foil to your highlight foils will help you keep track of which foils are highlights and lowlights later on. Apply your toner to this slice, and then fold it into the foil to stop any colour transfer. Apply your toner just below the roots, and leave the tips of the section out.

Step 4:  Repeat this alternate process as you work your way up the hair, always completing the highlight foil first before lifting the foil and placing the lowlight foil underneath. This is to ensure the light is always highlighting the dark and will give the hair a beautiful natural dimension.

Top Tip:  To add more dimension, switch your highlights from babylights to a broken slice as you work your way up to halfway up the head.



Step 5:  Once you have completed the first half of the head, repeat this entire process on the opposite side, keeping an eye on your foils as you go to make sure they don't overdevelop.

Step 6:  Leave your bleach and toner to develop before taking your client to the basin to start removing the first foils once they are ready.

Step 7:  Work your way through the first half of the head you did, removing the bleach foils and leaving the toner foils in place.

Step 8:  As you remove the bleach foils, remove the excess bleach with your hands and pull the excess through to the ends of the hair.

Step 9:  Clip the bleached hair out of the way and begin removing your toner foils.

Step 10:  Rinse the toner sections first before adding in the bleached hair and rinsing thoroughly.

Step 11:  Repeat the process on the opposite side before washing the hair with shampoo and conditioner.

Step 12: Now it's time to tone! For the roots, we used the same colour as our low lights, which was a mix of RedKen Shades EQ in colours 7NB (9g), 7N (9g), 7T (6g), 6G (6g) and gloss, and then we used 7GB (4g), 10GI (15g), 9AA (15g), Pastel Pink and gloss for the mid-lengths and ends.

Top Tip: The pastel pink toner was added to compensate for the remaining blue in the hair, as they are opposites on the colour wheel.

Step 13:  Use a tint brush to apply your toner to the root, using a hairbrush to melt the toner into the lengths of the hair.

Step 14:  Once the roots are fully covered, use an application bottle at the basin to apply your toner to the mid-lengths and ends.

Step 15:  Once developed, rinse, wash and condition your client's hair, ready for styling and the big reveal!