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Ask a Hairstylist: How to Do Balayage Highlights at Home

Without frying your hair.
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Q: I am really loving balayage highlights, but the price to get this look is pretty steep. I saw a video online of Jessie James Decker who, unbelievably, does her own balayage highlights at home with the Revlon Frost & Glow kit in Honey. Her hair is fabulous, and she makes it look so easy with her technique. 

I am naturally dark brown, and I currently have blonde highlights in my hair with grown-out roots. My question is, would I need to start off with a base colour to cover the existing highlights, and then use the Revlon kit to do the balayage highlights? If not, what colour and brand should I use? 

I have not had great experiences with box colour in my hair. I want to make sure it doesn't turn my hair brassy or reddish brown, as I tend to pull more red. 

Heather wants to do balayage highlights at home.

Would I need to use a filler first before I use the base colour, to make sure I add the pigment back to my hair? A balayage stylist once told me I would need to use a base colour first to get this look. Jesse James has naturally light brown hair, so it's lighter than mine.

Jessie James Decker at a 2014 Smirnoff event.

My hair is in pretty good shape right now. My ends are a little drier than the rest of my hair, so I'm anticipating lots of conditioning hair masks and even a trim to get the moisture back in after processing it. I am so afraid to fry my hair doing this and don't want to screw it up! Thanks! — Heather

A: Heather, I understand your concern about damaging your hair any further. 

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

In the picture you sent me of Jessie James, she has golden hair. It looks like a golden toner with some soft highlights. I saw the video and she does a great job. 

Your hair is already too light, so I would approach it this way: 

Step 1: Use an ashy base colour to neutralize the red pigment you have underneath your natural dark brown colour. 

Step 2: Use a golden toner. This can be which one quarter of a tube of Schwarzkopf 9-55 mixed with five inches of Schwarzkopf 0-55 colour.

Step 3: Use 10 volume developer off the roots, only on the blonde pieces, for about 15 minutes. You will see the colour change in front of your eyes. Be patient; do not wash it right away. 

The result should be a caramel base with golden highlights, which is what you want.

Jessie James Decker at the 2014 CMT Music Awards.

The next time you do it, you can follow the steps in the video of what she did, with the ashy base I recommended to you. At the very end, you could use the 9-55 and 0-55 mixed together as a toner for five minutes, and that should be flawless. 

Please continue to moisturize your hair—it is very important. You should also take it a step further and use liquid protein.

Joico K-Pak Liquid Reconstructor

Any other questions, please email me at

Tony Chaar is one of Canada's top celebrity hairstylists and the owner of Tony Chaar Salon at 140 Avenue Road in Toronto. Call 416-920-9965 to book an appointment.

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