Nancy Braun, owner of Balayage by Nancy Braun in Malibu, CA
Nancy Braun, owner of Balayage by Nancy Braun in Malibu, CA

Whether you’re just beginning your balayage journey, or you’re a pro and you want to stay at the top of your balayage game, ongoing education is essential. But when it comes to balayage training, it’s buyer beware! All instructors and approaches are not created equal! In fact, some balayage experts may be great in the salon, but have little to no experience as educators. Nancy Braun, owner of Balayage by Nancy Braun in Malibu, CA, developed the balayage education standard for L’Oréal Professionnel. Here are her tips for making the right choices when it comes to your balayage education.

  1. Real World Experience + Passion + Expertise. A qualified instructor brings three important things to the party, says Nancy. They must have proven expertise and success in the art of balayage. They must be passionate about the subject, and willing to share what they know fully and wholeheartedly. And they must be skilled instructors, which is a completely different skill than hair color. Just because someone is good at doing balayage doesn’t mean they’re good at teaching balayage. They must understand the type of information students need and the best way to present that information in a class setting.
  2. A Systematized Approach. Even though balayage is a freehand and artistic service, having systems in place will elevate the chances of success, Nancy believes. A methodology that covers things like how to mix formulas and products, lightener selection, tool usage, material selection, correct product placement etc. all provide the structure that ultimately gives you the freedom to paint creatively.
  3. A Comprehensive Approach. You can’t master balayage in an afternoon, Braun believes. In fact, mastery requires a commitment to many hours of practice. “It was three years before I felt I really had experienced every balayage situation,” she says. “And when I train other instructors, I insist they do 75 heads between each class over a period of six weeks. If they don’t, I can tell.” So beware of any class that promises to make you an expert overnight.
  4. Business-Building Content. Becoming a balayage expert requires more than mastering a brush and planchette. Much more. The consultation is important, as is understanding how to transition a foil client to balayage. There’s also understanding how to work on previously-colored hair, how to maintain the color and how to charge. “In our classes,” says Braun, “we connect with the students in a strong way. We make it real. We open up and let them ask questions. We hold their hands through the entire process.”
  5. Ongoing Support. Education shouldn’t end when class is dismissed. A conscientious program will make instructors available for follow-up questions, provide continuing touch-bases like the weekly Facebook Live sessions held every Monday evening by L’Oréal Professionnel and offer new classes that keep you up-to-date as the art of balayage evolves.

Check out Nancy Braun's Webinar on the "Fundamentals of Balayage and Business Development."

For more information on L’Oréal Professionnel balayage classes, visit

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