This post addresses everything you need to know before getting your first balayage on Indian hair, keep reading for all the info!
Last week when I shared my new hair color on IG stories. I received a lot of questions on the highlight technique, colors used, how to find the best stylist, etc. So I decided to dedicate an entire post answering all the questions.
Dying your hair can be a scary process. Whether you are doing it for the first time or have done it a dozen times. There are a lot of knowns and unknowns that can make the process daunting. If you are on the fence whether to color your hair or not. I hope this post will help you make the decision.
The highlighting technique my stylist used on my dark hair is Balayage. I have had balayage highlights before and loved the results. I liked the natural-looking gold highlights that seamlessly blended into my Indian hair. And the fact that it didn’t damage my hair makes it my top choice.
Here’s everything you need to know about balayage, from what it is to how you can get balayage highlights on Indian hair or brunettes.
Disclaimer: By no means, I am a professional. Whatever I am sharing today is from my experience (highlighted in italics) and the information I gathered from experienced hair stylists.
Balayage on Indian Hair 101
What is Balayage?
Balayage is a hair lightening technique that imparts a more natural, sun-kissed look to hair. The word comes from French and means “to sweep” or “to paint”, which describes how the highlights are painted onto the hair using the free-hand technique.
Balayage creates soft and a natural gradation of lightness along the hair strand- usually slightly deeper closer to the scalp and lighter towards the ends.
Advantages of Balayage Over other Color Techniques
Natural Look– The Balayage application is designed to give a very seamless look with subtle highlights. So if you are a color newbie, this technique is a great option for you.
Low Maintenance– Unlike traditional highlights, Balayage highlights don’t need regular touch-ups. I didn’t get any touch-ups when I got my first balayage back in 2017. The highlights grew naturally with my hair without any regrowth line. But the highlights did get slightly dull over time. So, In order to maintain the color, see your stylist every 4 months.
Pictures from my 1st Balayage back in 2017. It was lighter than what I got now in one session
Will Balayage Affect your Hair?
Unlike other hair-coloring techniques, balayage may not require bleaching but If you want a dramatic color change from dark to light, then you will need to bleach your hair.
Bleaching can cause damage to your hair, it is strong enough to rip the natural pigments of the hair so that you can add a new color. However, balayage doesn’t involve completely saturating your hair in bleach. In Balayage you are only painting on the surface of the strand without touching the tips or roots resulting in less damage and dryness. Plus, the toner used post bleach adds shine and moisture back into the hair.
I personally didn’t notice any hair fall or dryness in my hair post my first Balayage treatment. It could be because I was deep conditioning my hair with my natural DIY hair oil blend once a week.
What do you Need to Know Before Getting a Bayalage?
Balayage highlights are permanent. A lot of articles online don’t mention this. Although the color fades slightly after a few months (if not treated periodically), the hair lightning is permanent.
Another factor to consider is the health of your hair, is your hair sufficiently healthy to undergo the bleaching process? As mentioned above bleaching can make your hair dry, frizzy-looking and prone to breakage. So, don’t go for hair coloring until you think your hair is healthy enough for the transformation.
Last but not least, finding a good hairstylist who has experience in coloring or a specialist in Balayage is a key. Balayage is a permanent transformation. If you don’t like the results, you will have to undergo the whole process again and that might harm your hair.
The very first time when I got my hair color done (the traditional highlights, not Balayage, back in 2016). I hated the results. The highlights were too light for my skin tone. I still regret not doing enough research and for putting my hair in the wrong hands. I had to go back to the saloon again to deepen the highlights. The process took a toll on my hair. It made my hair extremely dry and fragile. It took me more than 6 months to improve the condition of my hair.
Highlights I got last week (my 2020 transformation)
Balayage on Indian Hair: The Entire Process
Balayage works on any hair color, so it doesn’t matter whether you have brown, blonde, or red hair. You can freshen up your locks with a sun-kissed look.
Depending on the darker your starting color is and the lighter you want to go with your balayage highlights, it might take more than one highlighting session to achieve it.
Based on my personal experience, it’s easier to go lighter on virgin hair and already colored hair. If you are not sure about how much lighter you want to go for your first hair color, opting for a darker shade like caramel balayage highlights may be a good place to start.
Colors that look seamless on dark hair is warm chestnut brown with touches of caramel and honey. If you like red shades then opt for deep russet red with dashes of bright copper and apricot.
When I went to get my Balayage done last week. My stylist Kathryn (she is ahmazing!!) did a patch test first to show me how light my artificial dark color hair can go in one session (I dyed my hair my natural hue for my wedding). If you notice the ends in the picture above, it’s not that light. She recommended at least 2 sessions to get the desired caramel/honey color highlights I asked for.
Balayage technique my colorist used on my dark hair is a mixture of freehand and foil. This process results in the more natural, painted look of balayage paired with the more intense coloring of foils.
She also bleached my hair to lift the dark color. This process involves sectioning the hair off into thicker or thinner sections, depending on the exact look you’re trying to achieve. Then the product is applied to the section using a brush and the treated sections are then covered with foil for processing.
Foil conducts heat better than open-air, allowing the product to penetrate deeper into the hair, and leads to a more intense look. Being said that, foil can also result in harsh lines if not done properly.
Balayage on Indian Hair – Step #2: Toning
Your final color comes from the toning process. Toners don’t just add color to the hair. They also add shine and moisture back to the hair. This gives hair a super glossy finish.
How do you Find a Colorist / Hair Stylist?
The less risky option to find a stylist is by referral. Ask your friends or colleagues about their hairstylist.
If you are new to the place and don’t know anyone who can recommend you, the best place to search is on Instagram. That’s where I found my hairstylist Kathryn. If you live in the DMV area, I highly recommend her. She also offered a 10% off coupon to my followers. Use the code LITTLEMOONSUR10 for 10% off your first appointment.
In the hashtag search on Instagram- type your city or state + hairstylist. Ex- #marylandhairstylist or #annapolishairstylist or #marylandbalayage. Once you find pictures that catch your eye. Click the stylist’s profile where you can have a closer look at their portfolio. From there, read the comments section for reviews.
What do you Ask your Stylist to Get the Color you Want?
Once you decide on the stylist, ask for a consultation. Make sure to take inspiration pics with you to the consultation so that the stylist knows exactly what you want. Also, let them know your expectations. For Example- I told my stylist that I don’t often do touch-ups and that I am looking for a low maintenance hair color.
A balayage specialist can create a custom look as per your needs. In order to ensure you and your stylist on the same page. Ask your stylist to do a patch test first before coloring your hair so you get an idea of how the highlights will look like. This will also help your stylist to give you an estimate of how many sessions you would need to get the desired color. It’s important to have realistic expectations to avoid any disappointments.
How much does a Balayage Cost?
Balayage highlights can vary in cost based on where you get them, how much experience your stylist has and the length of your hair. On average, balayage costs around $200.
How Do you Go Back to your Natural Hair Color?
As the Balayage highlights are only applied on the ends of the hair, going back to the original hair color is not impossible. The quickest way to do it is by getting a haircut. The first time when I colored my hair, this is what I did. I grew my hair out and chopped off all the highlights.
Another option is to dye your hair your natural hue. I did this when I colored my hair for the second time. I was growing my hair for my wedding and chopping off wasn’t an option. My stylist dyed my entire hair darker to match my natural hair color.
Even though my stylist did an excellent job matching my natural hair color, somewhere I felt like I lost my original hair color in the process. Sorry If I am scaring you by saying this but It’s a fact that very few people will tell you. I want you to be aware of everything that goes before coloring your hair.
Shop my Favorite Natural Hair Products for Color-Treated hair
If you like this balayage on Indian hair post, check out my other hair related posts HERE