Balayage and curly hair

One of the most asked questions I’m most often asked when teaching balayage classes is “what about curly hair?

As I’ve said before, balayage is a highlighting technique and in its purest form it is colouring from root to tip. With curly hair it’s brilliant because you are working with the natural curl, which makes the placement visually easier.

For the best balayage on curly hair, I tend to pull the hair out a little with my fingers and a hairdryer to soften the curl before I start.

If you’re looking to balayage a tighter curl, such as afro hair, the same rules apply, so you’ll need to take into account:

  • The porosity of the hair
  • Sensitivity
  • If the hair has had another chemical process, such as a relaxer
  • How thick or fine the hair is.

Working with balayage on fine hair – either afro or caucasian – is the hardest thing to do because a little goes a long way and it lifts quickly. You need to go easy on the application, remembering the cardinal rule that this is a surface technique. Do not saturate the hair with pre-lightener or it will be one hot mess! Only saturate the last inch or so.

Balayage on curly and afro hair has lots of rewards. It’s really effective and, because you are literally just picking curls out, its creative and fun. It works well for ladies who are embracing their texture, but it can also look seamless for clients with afro hair who like that smooth finish.

It’s easier to hide a not so well executed application behind a curl (there’s a reason why so many hairdressers share balayage pics of the back of a head of curly hair on Instagram!). Personally, I love it when people ask for a smoother look and the colour still looks effortless.

Many people I teach say that I make it look easy but that’s years of practice and that’s one of the key earning points in my balayage education classes Do you remember your first set of foils, pin-curls, round brush blow dry or even a simple haircut?

We become accomplished by learning from those who know, practicing our craft and honing our skills – and that takes time. To make sure your skills and training are up to date, you check out my exclusive balayage training courses.

Aluna Francis curly balayage

For quite some time, I’ve been looking after Aluna Francis from the band AlunaGeorge, who are an English electronic music duo from London, consisting of Aluna Francis and George Reid. When we first met Aluna was wearing her hair longer and blown-out smooth, so we used balayage to give her that typical fresh sun-kissed look. More recently, she has embraced her fantastic texture and gone shorter, which I really love! She wanted some colour to give definition to her hair, as you can see from the images it’s quite a different look. I’m really loving that natural curl vibe and balayage works so well with it.

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