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Last updated: March 08, 2022

3 Hair Painting Problems + How To Fix Them

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3 Painting Mistakes That Are Affecting Your Balayage & How To Fix Them

There is nothing more satisfying than lifting a freshly painted section to find it spotless underneath. But hair painting skills don’t come easy, and every colorist has faced a problem (or three) when perfecting their surface painting technique. 


So when L’ANZA Global Color Ambassador Sally Lemmo (@clevelandhairboss) shared her hair painting secrets at the L’ANZA B.I.G. Event in Las Vegas, we took notes! Keep scrolling for three common surface painting issues and Sally’s quick fixes for each! 


Problem: There’s little to no dimension

Solution: Use opposing placement to protect internal dimension

Triangle sectioning is the go-to strategy for creating depth when surface painting. But if the final result is still more ombré than dimensional, the problem could be in the lightener placement. 


Sally’s key to protecting dimension: opposing partings. “Start with a diagonal forward parting to create a triangular section. Then, paint on a diagonal back to create an additional triangle. Using these opposing partings creates beautiful coverage, dimension and movement,” she explains. 




Related: Hair Painting Sectioning Tips For The Ultimate Blend


Problem: Lightener bleeds through section when painting

Solution: Hold brush parallel to avoid pushing through

Bleach bleeds can take a painted section from satisfying to splotchy FAST. To keep the underside clean (without compromising saturation), Sally holds her brush parallel to the surface when painting. 


“Using the side of the brush instead of the edge helps keep the decolorizer on the surface of the section. As soon as the brush is perpendicular, you run the risk of pushing the product through,” she explains. 


Pro Tip: Tension is also super important to avoiding bleach bleeds. “Don’t be afraid to adjust your tension multiple times on the same section when painting. As soon as the hair starts to buckle or separate, you risk the product bleeding through,” she explains.


Problem: Unwanted warmth & uneven lift 

Solution: Use the peace sign rule to control section size

Banding, unwanted warmth and splotchy lift could be signs of an oversized section. “Sections that are too wide pull the hair outside of it’s natural fall,” Sally explains. “The peace sign rule helps keep the section within the natural fall, giving us control over the placement, saturation and lift.” 


Here’s how it works:

  • Make a peace sign with your index and middle finger.
  • Place your middle finger at the center hairline. Then, set your index finger down. The width of the peace sign is the optimal size for a manageable section.
  • Maintaining that width, continue moving the peace sign around the head noting each new section and the natural fall of the hair. 


Pro Tip: Section too big? Fold it upward to create a buckle. The hair will naturally split vertically, creating two sections that organically follow the hair’s natural fall.


Want more from Sally? Click here for her toning tips for neutralizing warmth! 

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