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Last updated: May 13, 2022

3 Steps To Building A Brunette Balayage

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Photo credit: Instagram via @suparkhair

How To Balayage Brunette Hair Without Muddy Tones 

Since dark tones seem to be reigning supreme this year, a brunette balayage might be your client’s next request, so make sure you’re able to build it to last—without damage! Follow along with these three steps from the salon pros to get the hang of balayaging with a dark twist.


What Is Brunette Balayage?

Think any flavors of chocolate melted and swirled together—yeah, it’s that good. Brunette balayage is a perfect blend of dark tones that pop against each other for a super dimensional look. The goal is to create the seamless contrast of a balayage without the bright, platinum tones. 


Photo credit: Instagram via @styledby_katie
Photo credit: Instagram via @heyheatherdk
Photo credit: Instagram via @suparkhair
Photo credit: Instagram via @joico



3 Steps To Get The Look

1. Add The Right Amount Of Contrast

Struggling to create blended contrast without banding or harsh lines?


Try these tips:

  • Use zigzag partings in large sections before weaving out foils—this creates movement before adding foils for dimension. 
  • When clients want a subtle balayage, backcomb the root of each section before applying lightener. This lessens the amount of hair that will be painted, creating a soft look. 
  • To prevent banding, feather lightener upwards to the scalp. You want to be sure the strokes are even and fully saturated so the dark tones lift properly without splotches.


Pro Tip: The key to perfect contrast on brunette tones is not lifting the hair past a level 7 or 8. You want just enough lightness to be able to add the right tones back into your client’s hair to create a gradient.


Check out this dark-toned balayage demo from @suparkhair!

Formula: Joico LUMI10 7NA + 7N

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A post shared by SU PARK (@suparkhair)


Find the perfect brunette shade for your clients—check out LUMI10 color swatches!


2. Cover Grays While Toning

Gray regrowth can make dark hair look dull (even if color is just a couple of weeks old!) Keep things looking fresh by throwing a root touch-up on your clients while their toner is processing.


To shadow root and tone clients at the same time, Jessalin Ferrer (@hairtingz) uses Joico LUMI10 for quick gray coverage during her client’s balayage touch-up appointments. “It eliminates the mess of applying color in between the foils and it processes in just 10 minutes,” says Jessalin. 


Pro Tip: An even color deposit on dark hair is super important to avoid muddy tones. Jessalin uses a few sprays of Joico Defy Damage 1 before coloring to prep the hair for a brunette balayage. PS—you can easily offer this as an add-on to make more money at every appointment!


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A post shared by J E S S A | YYC Hairstylist ♡ (@hairtingz)


3. Finish Your Balayage With A Topcoat

Using a topcoat for your client’s brunette balayage will not only neutralize unwanted tones but increase the longevity of client’s color!


Ever struggle with your dark clients fading in-between appointments? Foilayage specialist Su Park (@suparkhair) recommends trying a permanent color like Joico LUMI10 on wet hair. The low ammonia content in the color won’t penetrate the hair but instead, deposit pigment. This will help color gradually fade—ensuring your hard work won’t disappear after a few shampoos. 


Formula: Equal parts Joico LUMI10 8NA + 8N + 7NA

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A post shared by SU PARK (@suparkhair)



UP NEXT: Find out how to transition from balayage to brunette for 2022’s Expensive Brunette craze:

Photo via Instagram @andrewfitzsimons


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