Balayage highlights have been around for a while, but the technique has become particularly popular in recent times. And there are plenty of good reasons for that.

This versatile freehand hair coloring technique is great for establishing a natural, blended look with soft, hard-to-notice regrowth lines. Patches of light and shade create a dynamic appearance, and it’s perfect for refreshing a client’s look without a full color overhaul. There’s also less risk of a stripey quality than when highlighting with foils, and it’s much lower maintenance than traditional hair coloring.

But there are some reasons not to apply balayage and to instead go with foils or single process coloring. Below are the five that come up most often.

Reasons Not to Use Balayage on a Client

  1. You don’t have any training. Balayage is a craft that requires know-how and practice. If you haven’t taken a class in balayage highlights, you aren’t prepared to handle the various challenges that can arise during application. Learn from a pro before attempting balayage yourself!
  1. Your client has coated hair. There’s a high risk of getting a spotty appearance when doing balayage highlights on a client who’s had henna hair treatments, multiple demis, or other coatings. Foils are a better approach so you can break through the coating.
  1. Your client has brassy hair. For clients whose hair is always brassy, use foils as a pre-lightener. Save balayage for the next appointment.
  1. Your client wants a significant color change. If they want to go four or more shades lighter, balayage obviously isn’t going to cut it.
  1. Your client wants intense contrast. A client who wants sharp contrasts, and is perhaps also considering use of lowlights, will be happier with the starker, more delineated effects that come from using foils.
  1. Your client doesn’t want depth and dimension. Its ability to create depth and dimension is one of the major advantages of balayage, but not everybody wants that look. If your client doesn’t want depth at the roots or doesn’t want any of their natural or base color showing, single process hair coloring is a better way to go.
  1. Your client is in a rush. Balayage is a freehand technique that takes time to do right. If your client needs an in-and-out appointment, don’t try to hastily do balayage highlights. And don’t try to use heat to speed things up, as this is likely to cause spotting or bleeding.

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