Articles > Facebook Lives > 3 Tips For Balayaging 3C Curls
Last updated: August 31, 2023

3 Tips For Balayaging 3C Curls

Balayaging Curly Hair Made Simple With These Three Tips

Regardless of what you’ve been told, curly hair actually makes for the perfect canvas for balayage beginners. Why? According to Matrix Independent Educator and Master Colorist Kara Williams (@haircolorkilla), the grooves of the curls help to hide any imperfections. The challenging part about balayaging curly hair? Creating noticeable dimension. But not to worry, ahead Kara shares three of her best tips for creating a dimensional, lived-in look on 3C curls.


Shop Kara’s go-to lighteners for curly hair here!


Yes, You Can Free-Hand Paint On All Curl Patterns

If your curly clients rock their natural curls more often than not, it’s best to paint the lightener on their natural curl patterns. That way, you get a clear picture of their hair’s density and shrinkage so you can be sure to create enough dimension for their finished look.  


Pro Tip: Use a balayage board and avoid clay lightener when hand-painting curly hair. When lightener hits dry curls, they become wet, thus, shrinkage begins. Using a thick clay lightener will dry before fully penetrating the curls (aka—bleed marks and lines of demarcation)!


See Kara’s before and after on her 3C curly client:

This Lightener Placement Hack Creates A Seamless Blend

Try Kara’s lightening placement when working with high density and a lot of texture:
  • Always work in quadrants to keep sections neat.
  • Within each quadrant, alternate between painting a “V” and weaving out curls to paint each section. This placement keeps brightness around the face and through the ends while building dimension.
  • Always over direct hair the opposite way you’re painting. This creates tension by gently stretching curls to ensure even saturation when painting.


matrix balayage curly hair
Photo Credit: Instagram via @haircolorkilla


Shrinkage Serves As A Guide For Creating Dimension

“Think about your client’s hair and how it shrinks when it’s dry,” says Kara. “If you’re not leaving enough depth in the interior, you’ll end up seeing a lot of blonde and won’t see the darkness.”


Here’s a rule of thumb to follow:

  • If clients have a lot of shrinkage: Leave as many dark sections as you can untouched. If you think you’ve left enough, add a few more!
  • If clients have minimal shrinkage: Paint a thicker “V” in a section instead of painting more sections.


Photo Credit: Instagram via @haircolorkilla


Get the step-by-step guide for balayaging 3C curls here!

More from