Today, it’s not unusual for clients to actually request "balayage." What’s important to know, is that balayage is a technique and there are hundreds of ways to incorporate it into your service tickets.

On a daily basis, Gina Bianca, (@THE_Hair_Doctor) color specialist and salon owner of Gina Bianca Hair (@ginabiancahair) of Southington, CT, uses balayage as the foundation for most of her looks.

She often refers to the technique as “building the house” and utilizes dozens of creative toning methods which she refers to as “painting the house.”

“This explanation helps your guest understand the value of balayage. By explaining this to your guests, it will help get them back in your chair within six weeks.”

Bianca shares her tools, technique and formula used for this transformation:

Prepare color products to be used:

-Wella Freelites (about 3 level scoops with 3.5 ounces of 40 volume developer) with Uberliss bond builder added.

-Paintbrushes found at a hardware store.

-Product Club Color Whipper “which gives the most amazing balayage/color consistency.”

NOTE: “Add Uberliss at the end of your mixing cycle and mix again with the color whipper," says Bianca. "This is a great tool because you aren’t breathing in any fumes and it incorporates air into the color. This helps double the amount - it saves us a lot of money and it allows us to multi task while the color is mixing!” 

Before: Previously lightened with some red undertones, and a natural 5/6 base.


Step 1: Horizontal diagonal back section from mastoid process to the opposite side of the nape. Paint off the hairline - surface painting only to leave dimension underneath. Mimic this section on the opposite side. Paint horizontally, but around the hairline paint almost directly off the skin. 

Step 2: Take triangle sections, working up the head, surface painting about 2-3 inch sections. “The key is not saturating until you have reached the ends. If you want lighter pieces, take smaller sections and saturate. I always take triangle sections and utilize the points, skipping some points so there is dimension.” After application, process until your desired level is achieved.

PRO TIP: Check underneath each section and make sure you have no spots, bleed marks or excess product.


“Now that the house is built, you can play with your toner,” says Bianca. “I love the new Demi by Paul Mitchell. I love the demi because its translucent but packs a ton of tone. It will cancel out anything and gives you amazing coverage. Utilizing the Color Whipper, I can manipulate the consistency of the color to be thicker and easier to apply. I always use 2 parts demi, 1 part processing liquid and 1 part 5-volume cream developer and whip it for 70 seconds. The results are absolutely amazing, You can have a cleaner application allowing you to be more creative with your toning process.”

Step 3: Tone using 3G and 6R equal parts for the base, on damp hair, then 1 part 9G 1 part 9R and 1 part 7N and applied using vertical diagonal back sections to break up her placement. “You can use the pinwheel technique, triangles, or whatever creative toning you want. The best thing is to be creative and always stay either within the same color family or the same levels. That way, it will harmonize no matter what.”

Step 4: Process for 10 minutes, comb through and process for another five minutes to blend.


“Start your sectioning by making a small triangle at the nape. I recommend Hattori Hanzo carbon shears. This entire hair cut is an undercut, cutting each section about 1/8th of an inch longer than the last and always holding the hair at a 45-degree angle horizontally.

"Start with a small triangle and then end up horizontal once past the low occipital. Always remember to maintain your elevation, finger position and sectioning. Once you reach the middle of the head, (just above the ears) slide cut layers from underneath to maintain the length and create volume. In the front, using horizontal diagonal forward sections, pull everything back and cut the front to blend with the back. Then take the same sections at a 45-degree angle. Pull them back completely (using the back layers as your guide) and point cut them so the hair cut is connected.”

Blow dry the hair using Paul Mitchell Extra Body Sculpting Foam and Super Skinny Relaxing Balm. “It’s the perfect balance of volume and control.” Round brush blow dry (using the Paul Mitchell Neuro Brush) and texturize with blending shears. Curl with a Paul Mitchell Express Ion 1-inch iron using the Marula Oil Hairspray.

“We are real hairdressers who want to bring stylists of all backgrounds together,” says Bianca. “We provide diverse, affordable and technique driven education for stylists and students who want to take their skills to the next level. Our mission is to share salon friendly education that can be taken directly from our classes to your chair so you can boost your confidence and make more money. Our team is super passionate and education driven, but we also host educators from all over the country so you can enjoy them too.”

This March @GBHACADEMY will be hosting Nina Kovner (@passionsquared) DJ Muldoon (@danieljosephmuldoon) and Jamie Sea (@prettylittleombre). For more information about the academy, go to all of our upcoming classes. Follow on Instagram for more classes and education.

(After shots shown in different lighting from a ring light.)

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