I’ve been a partial highlight kinda gal for the past million years. I went brunette once and almost immediately regretted it. I missed my blonde!
Since my minimal heydays as a brunette, I’ve stayed somewhere on the warm blonde to nearly white blonde scale.
But you know what got to me recently? The hashtag yolo.
I’m dead serious.
And I was like, you know what. It’s time to spice things up around here ya grey wearing, neutral eyeshadow loving, boring person. This was the main source of inspiration.
So I decided to start softening my new growth a bit, and go for a more natural look. It was a bit of a process, but I’m glad I did it gradually instead of diving in head first.
I mean, it is my hair after all. I’d like it to look nice.
So, starting around the early fall, I asked my stylist to balayage highlights in around my part and hairline, but add more slices of lowlights through the middle sections of my hair.
Balayage is the act of painting color on the hair instead of using foils or papers. Balayage is often confused with ombre. Ombre is a coloring technique focusing on darkness to lightness. Balayage is similar in that it’s a painting method so it’s challenging to get extremely close to the scalp like you would with a foil, but it is not necessarily focused on only lightening the bottom of the hair.
Slicing simply means coloring a thin slice of hair, from roots to tips, instead of pulling out a weave pattern for foils. Slicing provides more color coverage in wider panels.
Because I had been highlighting for so long, my hair looked mostly one color of blonde, so my goal was to add depth from the inside out, leaving my root area and “outer most” sections of hair last for the darkening.
After that appointment I basically let my hair just grow out. That, my friends, is the perk of balayage versus traditional foiling. (OH ALL THIS HAIR TALK MAKES ME WANT TO GET BEHIND THE CHAIR AGAIN). Balayage is supposed to look quite natural and soft, and it grows out that way too.
So once I had about 2 inches of relatively distinct new growth, it was time to take the plunge. And I was doing this myself because I’m a control freak like that.
So, on a Sunday night I added more slices of Redken Shades EQ 6gb + 7g into the middle and top of my hair. I washed it out, and waited until the next day to do anything else.
Monday night I added more slices of the lowlight shade mentioned above, as well as pieces of blonde above my ears and near my temples. I washed that out and waited until I styled it the next day to see how that looked. I’m pretty conservative when it comes to hair color so I knew what to expect based on what I put in the night before.
Tuesday morning I was pleased with my hair, but I felt like the top was a bit too dark. The “ombre” look was a bit disconnected for my taste. So, Tuesday night I added a few more 1/2 inch to 1 inch slices of blonde in the sections above my ears and near my temples. And I added a few thin pops of blonde in through my bangs too.
By Wednesday morning, I was really happy with the color! It was much more of a soft balayage highlight than ombre, which I prefer for my style, and it felt really casual and natural. I liked it immediately!
I also love the warmth, the softness to it, and the brighter pieces closer to my face. And I feel really cool with cool hair now so that helps a 30 weeks pregnant lady feel pretty cool. Also I just traded in my cool sporty SUV for a minivan so I needed a boost in the cool department. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled about my minivan, but, well, you know what I mean.
The thing that I’m anticipating loving about this hair color the most is how low maintenance and flexible it is. I can add more blonde if I want to, or just let it grow out a bit.
Below are a few tips I have on going darker from blonde. I do not recommend doing this yourself unless you are a licensed professional (like myself). Home hair color can be risky sometimes, and doing a complicated coloring technique like balayage should be left to professionals.
Tips on going darker as a blonde:
1. Find a stylist you trust and will stick with you through the process. This isn’t true in every case, but it often is prettiest do to the transition in stages. Laying dark color on top of blonde can sometimes lead to the color looking flat.
2. Know how warm or cool you want to go with the darker shade! This should be covered in the consultation.
3. Lowlighting is a soft way to introduce a darker color into existing blonde hair. This won’t often contribute to a “major hair change” reaction amongst your friends, but it’s setting you/your hair up to accept darker colors well and hold on to them!
4. You can never go wrong keeping a bit of blonde around your face if you are afraid of your hair looking dull. The brightness and lightness right next to your skin will not only be pretty but also keep you somewhat familiar with your hair.