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Last updated: June 17, 2019

Balayage “Singles”—The Technique For Natural Ash Summer Blondes

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Balayage “Singles”—The Technique For Natural Ash Summer Blondes

Real talk, even though balayage is popular all year long, you have more clients than ever coming in right now requesting the technique—and they want to be lighter, brighter and blonder. But, how do you eliminate warmth at the root? How do you reach the ash blonde level? And, how do minimize that dreaded line of demarcation?


We talked with BTC team member Jamie Sea (aka @prettylittleombre) and Redken artist + balayage expert Lori Zabel (@lorizabel) for their take on creating bright, natural-looking summer blondes. Their answer? A balayage technique that includes even saturation and doesn’t have a specific direction of brightness. Scroll down for the details!

Products Used

OK, so you’re seeing warmth at the root. Here’s why:

  • You’re using a V, W, or slanted placement pattern (aka painting for an intentional direction of brightness). This results in warmer, diffused roots, and isn’t ideal for a client who wants to go bright all over.
  • You’re blending the lightener too much at the root, and when you blend the product, you remove some of the lightener.



Here’s How To Fix It:

If the desired end result is to be blonde from roots to ends, the same amount of product needs to be applied over the entire section of hair.

  • Jamie breaks it down like this:
    • Use a single balayage placement technique that applies even coverage/saturation from roots to ends.
    • This creates a highlight effect that looks much more natural than a traditional foil highlight, and it will eliminate hard lines of demarcation when growing out.


Customize the single sections—these can be painted super skinny or a little bit wider for a heavier ribbon effect! (Instagram via @prettylittleombre.)


  • Lori balayages the same way and uses this analogy when teaching:
    • Think about icing a cake. When it’s complete, you don’t want to see any of the cake, only the icing—so make the “icing” (lightener) thick enough all over.
    • The same goes for painting single sections of hair—the lightener needs to be thick enough from the very top of the section to the very bottom. This ensures even lightening.


When doing this technique, use elevation to your advantage. Higher elevation = easier to paint closer to the scalp. Lower elevation = easier for painting mids to ends. (Instagram via @prettylittleombre.)


Choosing Your Products + Maintaining Blondes  

  • Consider timing and the end result when choosing a lightener, says Lori. Redken’s Free Hand Blonde Idol is a good option for balayage because it offers six levels of lift, a smooth consistent texture and stays put after it’s applied—perfect for the open-air technique above!
  • Set clients up for success by teaching them how to maintain their blonde at home. Lori uses Redken pH-Bonder in her formulas to protect strands during the process, then she sends them home with pH-Bonder Step 3. Instruct them to apply the product to lightened strands, leave on for 10 minutes, then jump in the shower and shampoo it out.
  • Give your client a cool-toned look with the new Shades EQ Natural Ash range, which have black to gray backgrounds with blue/violet reflect. Use the range to correct yellow undertones and keep her soft and balanced.


Instagram via @prettylittleombre.


More blonding techniques! Check out these formulas and steps!

Icy Blonde Balayage Using Redken Products and Shades Eq

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