The Strawberry blonde balayage took me a few years to master. To clarify, it took several hairdressers, some experimenting of my own, and MANY disappointments. Toss in some highlights, and the difficulty to achieve the right hair tone without turning brassy also known as orange only gets harder!
Let’s be real, for those of us that have been blessed with naturally dark blonde hair, the signs of aging will cause you greater stress than any other hair color. Shades of light brown and dark blonde hair contain multi tones, tones which can not be easily recreated out of a bottle.
For me, the signs of aging came in my early twenties, thanks to my father’s genetics. I waited until my early thirties to add a few highlights to cover my increasing and coarse white hair. Then one day, as I bent down to my shoes, my cousin gasped when noticing my white hair. He said, “Beck, it’s terrible you need to fix it!” You gotta love family!
That is when my research began on how to avoid overly brassy and orange locks!
As a side note, my hair dyeing methods and recommendations will work regardless of your hair color.
Should You Leave The Balayage and Highlights To A Professional?
Although I am pretty much a do-it-yourself type of girl, experimenting with my own hair was not something I was willing to roll the dice on. There is just too much at risk when coloring your own hair. First, the color process is complicated, and at times it includes lifting your color with bleach, which could compromise the integrity of your hair.
And if or when your color doesn’t turn out how you wanted – then what? You’ll be stuck!
Furthermore, non-professionals don’t know proper techniques, and without the appropriate training, our results can cause brittle, dry, and damaged hair.
So, my friend recommended her hairdresser and warned me of the steep entry price of being her client. She further added she was not always a happy client since most hairdressers tend to take too many liberties, and her hairdresser fell into that category.
As I walked into her three-story hair salon, which appeared more like a Manhattan art studio decked out with crown molding, steel windows and lighting to die for, I explained my dilemma. She was understanding and talked up her skills and unique heat lights as having miracle powers to transform hair into its most natural color. Yet, I was a skeptic!
Trying To Avoid Brassy Hair At All Cost
My only request was please don’t give me brass, orange, or a deep red hair color. Okay, so how much did I pay? My base color alone cost an embarrassing $120, and she advised that it could take a few visits to perfect it. Future visits would be less, and it would be during those visits that we could begin to transition into the strawberry blond balayage and add highlights.
Finally, when my hair was revealed to me, I hated it!!! It was the complete opposite of what I asked for, and my silence and teary eyes said it all. She played defense almost immediately by explaining that all tones from dark blonde to brunette shades are created with red pigments. Therefore, red would always be a factor.
She later pointed out I should embrace my color, but I wasn’t a deep red when I arrived, and I was dying my own hair at home – How do you explain that?
To be fair, when trying to dye my hair at home, my color was flat, dull, and my hair did not have the vibrancy she gave me. Needless to say, I never went back, nor did I explain why. I did however, let my friend know when she asked how things went, and she later happily followed me to my next hairdresser as we both were orange redheads at this point.
Finding The Right Hair Professional
Over the next several years my friend, a high profile NY hairdresser, starting taking on clients in his NJ based home. Angel was not only a master in his craft but also educated his clients along the way since his priority needed to be given to his NY base clientele, and he could not always cater to his friends.
He was a bit of a chemist who would adjust my color depending on the season and weather. He explained how the summer sun would fade the shade at a faster rate, and so on. To ensure his friends could touch up their color at home, he would provide us with our current color mixture to take home in case he was too busy to squeeze us into his schedule. He was our saving grace.
So, when I told him I was relocating to Florida, he gave me some advice and promised me if I didn’t listen, I would learn to regret it!
It was the following, “You will never be able to perfect your dark blonde hair color at home since it needs constant adjusting, so don’t even bother. The tropical climate, sun, and swimming will fry your hair within months, so you need to avoid bleach at all costs.”
I must admit we had many arguments about me trying to stay in the light brown and blonde shade for one main reason – he thought it was overly common and not flattering to most skin tones. In short, it wasn’t original, and a real copy cat type of hair shade that everyone does.
He followed my wishes because it was my natural color, and he was simply covering my grays.
He was never a fan of the ever-popular blonde trend; however, his skill disproved my previous hairdresser’s opinion that it was unattainable.
Due to my fair skin and freckles, he urged me for years to let him test out a strawberry balayage, but I didn’t listen. Now I didn’t have a choice since I was going to have to figure this out on my own, ugh!
Professional Salon Hair Color At Home
Shortly after arriving in Florida, Angel’s words became a reality; my light brown and highlighted hair quickly lighted up. My hair began to feel dry no matter how much hair conditioner I added, and straightening my hair was no longer an option.
Even the thought of using my flat iron to straighten out my wavy hair began to scare me since I also began shedding hair at a fast pace. For help, I watched every YouTube video out there to learn how to care for my hair, which led me to avoid heat tools altogether and to change to curly hair products.
Along the way, I learned about a professional custom hair color that could be perfected at home. So, I gave it a try and have been hooked for years ever since.
How I Create The Perfect Strawberry Blonde Balayage At Home
First, eSalon is a professional-grade hair dye that is custom blended by a licensed professional. When signing up for a trial, which is only $10 for your first kit, you are asked to fill out a questionnaire and upload photos of your current hair and your future goals. What?!
That’s right! Not only do they custom blend your color, but they will also continue to do so for all future orders. About a week or so before your next shipment, you will receive an alert asking if your color needs adjusting or if you would like to change your shade.
They’re committed to making sure you are happy with your color and will reformulate or adjust your shade anytime. If your’re not 100% satisfied? It’s free.
In case you’re wondering, future kits are $20. Yep, it’s totally affordable. Personally, I have my color shipped about a week or two before needing it so it’s ready whenever I have some downtime.
It gets even better – eSalon added highlights to the growing product line, and your highlights are custom blended as well. Therefore, you can go for subtle highlights or high contrast.
When your kit arrives, it will have all the necessary items for you to complete your color. The attention to detail is beyond me as they have even thought of including two pairs of gloves and a sticker to hang your instructions for easy viewing.
Not sure about you, but I’ll say that’s pretty fantastic. After using eSalon for over three years, here’s what I found surprising. Angel always needed to use a stronger developer to cover my grays, and when I continued using his color when arriving in Florida, the color wouldn’t take.
My Review Of eSalon Hair Color
I have now ordered over 33 hair kits as shown below in the photo of my profile. All of the color ordered has been to achieve a deep strawberry blond balayage look. In doing so, I have only requested three adjustments, one of which was for better coverage.
Now, during summer months, which is almost ten months a year in South Florida, I swim in my chlorine pool at least a few times a week. Okay, don’t be jealous, as a blogger I work from home most days and swim on my lunch break. Sometimes I even float!
Although my color must get affected by the chlorine, my hair still does not have an orange brass color, nor does it look unnatural.
In fact, when I do go to a hairdresser, which has only been for hair trimming, they have commented on my beautiful natural strawberry blonde hair color. They have been shocked when I tell them it’s been created from a bottle – further shocked when I tell them it’s a mail-order product.
One of the hairdressers asked me for the information as they have never been able to achieve my color for some of their clients. Now that shocked me!
Pro Tips For Perfecting The Strawberry Balayage Color
To keep my hair moisturized, I add tons of conditioner to style my hair, probably about a half a cup. Therefore, the night before touching up my roots, I wash my hair to be product-free which helps ensure even color.
I’m not sure if you caught that I mentioned touching up my roots? The reason for this is because that is my secret to creating my strawberry balayage color. As per my instructions from eSalon, I am only placing the color on my roots for 35 minutes. However, your instructions could have different time requirements.
When the timer is up and I’m ready to rinse out the color, I use a little shampoo, about a dime in size. Then I add water and shampoo my hair for about one to two minutes which will spread the dye from the roots to the end of the hair shaft. Afterward, I rinse out the color.
The length of time I shampoo the color depends on how much color I want to be distributed to the rest of the hair.
During winter months, I like a deeper shade so I let the color sit longer. Also, if I’m swimming more often than usual, I prefer to have a darker shade since my color will probably be more faded. Amazingly, eSalon’s color never appears overly brassy as other professional lines that I’ve used on my hair.
Angel, my previous hairdresser, taught me to do this since it will help to even out the color and tone my hair in the process. This will prevent the dreaded line created with most at-home hair coloring.
Your roots will hold onto most of the color, providing you with deep dark roots which is what is needed for a balayage technique.
I would suggest reviewing your profile before your next shipment and making notes. This way you will have a detailed profile, and your colorist will know exactly which formula is your favorite.
Below is a screenshot of what my current screen adjustment window looks like. As you can see, you can skip your orders or space them out according to your needs. The price is still the same.
Protect Your Color: Strawberry Blond Balayage On Dark or Light Hair
Of course, we all want to ensure that our color remains vibrant and true for as long as possible. To help with that, I’m passing on some additional tips I received recently during my last hair trimming.
As a side note – for the past two years, I have been receiving a Diva Hair Cut for curly hair. In short, this hair cut is performed on dry hair; your hair professional is only removing the dry ends and shaping your wavy or curly strands. I do not use the Diva hair products since I have always found them to be very drying.
Although the recommendations below are for people with wavy or curly hair, all suggestions help to protect your color.
Wash your hair with conditioner only. No joke; depending on where you live the chlorine in the water is usually strong enough to remove product build-up. I typically wash my hair with conditioner twice and pick a conditioner with a lot of “slip” to help with tangles.
The detergent in shampoo strips your hair of color and its natural oils. To my surprise, since applying this suggestion, my hair has gone from wavy to curly. I will be updating the photos on this post shortly for my readers to compare the results for themselves.
Twice a month, I use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water before washing my hair with conditioner to help remove any product buildup.
Try to avoid using both heat styling tools and alcohol products in your hair. To style my hair, I now use the eSalon leave-in condition, which is very light and finish by scrunching in some DIY Flaxseed gel.
|Use DIY Flaxseed Hair Gel To Protect Your Hair Color|
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
Add 1/2 a cup of flaxseed and boil for ten to fifteen minutes; stir occasionally.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for one hour. The gel will thicken as it cools.
Use a stocking to strain the gel and remove the seeds. If the gel is too thick, you can add water.
Flax seed gel can last for about three weeks in the refrigerator with the help of essential oils.
Since I’m confessing all my hair secrets, I might as well add this final one. To keep my roots dark in between colorings, I use tinted dry shampoo.
I’ve tried few, but the only one that has earned repeated purchases is the brand Batitste with a hint of color Divine Dark, which could be picked up at your local Target, Walmart, or drug store. Any blonde tinted dry shampoo looks very chalky and white when applied, so don’t waste your money on those.
Hair is 80 percent a selfie, and I am not ashamed to say I’m a little bit vain about it. Coloring your hair is one of the easiest things you can do to help age gracefully, and I intend to go down fighting!
So to my fellow strawberry blonde women, let’s rock our color proudly and toss in some highlights along the way. Please feel free to drop a comment if you need help or have a question.
Just remember that we should leave the mixing and adjusting of our color to licensed professionals, the application process is where our cost savings should take place. By providing eSalon with a photo of your current color and future goals, a licensed professional will help you attain your perfect shade while helping you maintain healthy hair in the process.
If you’re interested in more lifestyle tips, you may enjoy my post on Time Saving Tips For Busy Professionals. For home styling tips and tricks, drop by anytime. Hey, we’re always up for company.