I'll Take A Black And Tan

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

A blended head of hair, or a delicious drink?

This beauty came to me about 6 months ago as a last minute emergency color correction. With her hair a natural starting level 3, and her ends a whole other story. This is a recap of where we first started, and where we went next.

The goal has always been to be a high contrast balayage with the end goal being a smokey platinum color on her ends. Obviously this was always cut out to be a multi process color correction, but we have thoroughly enjoyed every step of the process.

*BALAYAGE IS NOT A COMFORTABLE TECHNIQUE FOR EVERYONE. Many stylists who have been behind the chair longer than 4 years were never taught anything about balayage in school, and are either completely self taught, have invested thousands in their own balayage education, or just stay the heck away from it all together.

I personally learned much of my own balayaging from my good friend Shayna Huse. She has started an online educational hub that is a GOLD MINE of information, guys. She's been behind the chair for well over a decade, has educated independently and brand specifically, and has dedicated so much of her career to spreading the immense knowledge she has. If you're in need of balayage education, PLEASE do yourself a favor and order her online classes. It is a single purchase, not a subscription, and I do not receive anything for sharing this information with you. We deserve all of the tools we can get without spending $2,000 plus every time we want to learn. You won't regret it!*

Todays goal was to address her ends and to take her a little lighter than we did last time. She does not care to be an up to the root blonde, which I completely agree with for her skin tone. Since her ends are already light, this is the FIRST time we have been able to utilize a true balayage technique!

This is our starting point and her grow out from our last session in which we utilized a full foil to break up her very dark base and blend it into her lighter ends.

Because of how gingerly we have been treating her hair, and how great of care she has been of her hair at home, I have been able to work more aggressively than if that weren't the case. In most instances of color correction, pulling lightener through the ends can be off of the table.


Today, our main focus was the ends of her hair. We wanted to lift them lighter and brighter while maintaining the blend that we have worked so hard to achieve. With our starting palette and end goal in mind, balayage was the perfect technique to achieve our brighter ends while blending in the rest of her hair.


30g Clay Based Lightener

60g 20 Volume

Processed for 35 minutes

Because we were only working with 20 Volume, I didn't want to feather the lightener too far into her natural base to ensure that we did not expose too much unwanted warmth. The goal was just to blend, not so much to lift her light ends higher.


Because her natural color is so dark, and her natural texture is so coarse, 20 Volume was our best option to achieve lift without over processing, but also without falling short of where we wanted to lift to.

I began her application in the back in case the first sections needed to be rinsed before the rest of her head was complete. Once her back had been applied, I worked through her sides. This whole application took less than 25 minutes! Once she processed for 35 minutes, I shampooed her twice with a cuticle smoothing shampoo, then toned her.

Toner (liquid demi-permenant):

20g 9,22 (level 9 Double Violet)

20g 8,23 (level Violet With Gold)

80g 10 volume

This processed for the full recommended processing time of 20 minutes. I then cleansed and conditioned her with a cuticle smoothing line, prepped her hair with a nutrient dense oil, blow dry primer and a thermal protectant.

Because of her strict at home regimen and the care we have taken to get her to this point, we did not need to cut today. We cut at her last appointment, and she really wants to obtain more length! We moved forward with her blow out straight after applying product.

I prepped her hair with a medium hold hairspray and curled with a 1 1/4 inch marcel iron to give us this beautifully waved finish! This head of hair gets me every time! Each time it is more beautiful than the last, and I LOVE seeing the progress after each application!!!


She was SO happy, and so was I. Her hair is STRONG and willing to lift to levels some other heads of hair simply won't. Another satisfying step towards our end goal is in the books, and as usual we are just loving and embracing this progress!

As you've already read here, I will be headlining in an independently run hair show, The Artistic Collective, this September 29th & 30th in Chicago, IL! I will of COURSE be teaching color theory IN PERSON, and it's something you don't want to miss!! We have a start studded line up of educators and I couldn't be more excited to be sharing the stage with these industry giants!! Right now, the tickets are $675, and I recommend to JUMP ON THEM because the price will be raising to $775 on 6/1! All purchases of Dreaming In Color get you a code for $100 off your ticket purchase, so grab a book AND your ticket at the price of $575 just for my book supporters!

Line up as follows:







@hairbywillow / @theformulationfiles