Beauty

DIY balayage

Get light hair on a tight budget.

By Amelia Bowe

Bored with my hair and on a strict saving regime, I decided to ombre at home last night. Luckily it turned out pretty damn well, so I thought I'd share the how-to. Here's my advice on how to achieve sun kissed ends without any actual sun.

First things first, buy the product. I used Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime in Light Blonde.

Step 1: Read the instructions on the box. I know, it seems obvious, but it's highly important! In this case my hair needed to be dry and unwashed.

Step 2: Pull your hair up into a top knot, leaving a thin bottom layer down.

Step 3: Take a small section (a few centimetres wide), and twist the hair from the mid lengths to ends. Then gently tease where the twist starts (it should be about halfway down the strands) using a comb.

Step 4: Apply the mixture to the very ends first, really massaging it in with your gloved-up hands. Using small downward movements, work your way up each piece of hair. When you reach the middle mark, use the product more sparingly, blending it into the teased area.

Step 5: Once you've sectioned, twisted and applied the mixture to the whole bottom layer, twist the hair all up to the midpoint so it's not resting on your skin (because the colour can cause irritation, ouch!), and bobby pin in place. Be careful not to pin it to your roots as you don't want the colour to bleed.

Step 6: Release your top knot and continue the process of letting down layers gradually, until you're left with the top layer untouched.

Step 7: For the top layer, I worked the mixture just into the hair around my face to create texture and depth, instead of from the midpoint down and all the way around my head. This helps the colour blend from dark to lighter as the top layer keeps the old colour with the exception of a few highlights around your face. When your hair's out, the lighter colour will be evident without looking 'top deck' or 'dip dyed'.

Step 7: After 45 minutes (or refer to the timing instructions on the box), I rinsed and toned with my favourite Fudge purple shampoo in the shower. Then I applied the silky hair treatment included in the box, left it to absorb for 2 minutes, and rinsed.

Post blowdry, would you look at that! I had creamy, lighter ends. No salon budget required.