Sunday, 25 September 2016

Brunette -to- Blonde Balayage - The Process!

A month or so ago I mentioned on twitter that I was ditching the outgrown Ombre and joining the Pinterest-worthy world of Balayage. I thought this was going to be an easy, stress-free process after all - loads of people on Pinterest have brown-blond Balayage and look boss, so why wouldn't I be able to?

Yeah. It's definitely not that simple! 

So I thought I would share my experience from going Ombre to Brown to Balayage and let you know what it actually takes to get to that colour, in case you are wanting something similar yourself.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I wanted an Ombre. It was the trend and, I really felt like I needed a change up. So at the time with my short bob I decided to get ombre and for a while I loved it. It looked great, I got loads of compliments and I felt really good about it. 

Then it grew out and it started to look like a poorly done dip dye. Thus is the nature of the short hair ombre. Inevitably it's going to grow out and look a little bit... naff. 

You may notice that in the photo of my ombre on longer hair that the blonde is brighter - that's mostly down to violet shampoo but I will chat more about that later! 

So I needed a change up and I decided that Balayage was the style for me. 

I went to my hairdresser and told her what I wanted, she cut off my old ombre and did her magic on the rest of my hair. 4 hours later at 9pm I came out feeling fresh and thinking that my hair was going to look bomb in the morning... but it didn't. 

If I've learnt one thing from this process, it's that my hair hates bleach. 

My hairdresser, bless her, was mortified when I sent her these photos as clearly in the clear light of day my hair was not as it was intended. The bleach had only taken on certain chunks of hair and the whole thing ended up looking rather patchy.  Thankfully, at this stage, it looked okay when curled, so I was still able to go about  my daily business until she could fit me in to correct it. 

So another 4 hours sitting in the chair totalled my time to a stunning 8 hours. 
As you can see from above the second bleaching took much much better. But left me with the bottom being bright blond and the middle looking slightly orange. So I started to use the Bleach London Violet Shampoo and that helped a tonne, but still didn't get rid of that orange completely so I brought the Scott Cornwall Colour Restore in Cool Ash that is specifically designed to reduce the orange tones in bleached hair. 

It worked! As you can see from the right-hand photo the hair is considerably ashier (although the lighting is obviously different - quite annoyingly -) I can confirm that my hair is much less orange now and it wasn't just a trick of the camera that it looks so different. 

Here's the final result! It's about as close to perfect as I'm going to get it without another round of bleach! I thought I would add in the nice sweaty photo of me at graduation with the boy, purely because it was shot in daylight outside, so I thought it was the most accurate representation of the colour of my hair. But you can clearly see the orange has gone and the ash prevails! 

So in total this took:

8 hours of chair time.
Countless washes with Bleach London Violet Shampoo.
30 minutes of Toning with Scott Cornwall Colour Restore in Cool Ash

and close to £200!

I wanted to make this post though to let anyone know, who is planning on having a brunette -to- blonde balayage just how much work is involved! As I certainly wasn't aware of it! But also to let you know that it is achievable if you have naturally dark hair. I was told multiple times by a different hairdresser that my hair wouldn't get to a light blonde without it being badly damaged but the hairdresser that did this for me used Olaplex and my hair is beautifully soft and just require a hydrating conditioner to keep it in good condition! It's not frizzy and has no visible signs of damage! 

Have you got any hairdressing stories to tell? How have your bleaching experiences faired in comparison to mine? I would be really interested to find out if other people have had this sort of issue when bleaching naturally brown hair! 



  1. Your hair looks so gorgeous! You must be so happy with it xx

    Gemma ♡ Miss Makeup Magpie

    1. Thank you so much Gemma!! :D Yes I'm thrilled with it now! It's taken a long time to get to this stage but I think it's been worth it! :D

      Thanks for reading!
      Emily xx

  2. Oh my Emily - your hair is gorgeous!

    Parie x

  3. Your hair looks lovely. <3

    I usually dye my hair myself (naturally dark, dyed blonde too) and it has largely been a success apart from one time I ended up with accidental green streaks!


    1. Thank you! Oh wow that's so brave of you! I'm far to scared of bleach to risk doing it myself haha! xx

  4. What a transformation, your hair looks fab! I recently went from blonde to brunette, I'm still finding odd haha x

    1. Thank you!! I still get confused sometimes when I look down at my hair and see the blonde! Haha! xx


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