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Ellie Toia’s (@xoxo_balayage) page looks like a Pinterest board dedicated to shiny, beautiful balayage—some waved, some tied half up in a knot and some with playful braids. Even better, though, is that Toia has figured out how to get the most mileage out of the photos she takes of her work by creating various repost-worthy collages. Her most popular photo to date is a collage she created of four balayage tones paired with coordinating French bulldogs. In a sale of sweet serendipity, she happened to post this collage (unknowingly) the day before #NationalDogDay! The photo seemed to appear on every hair feature page out there, including @modernsalon. *Frantically searches for other possibly made up national holidays*

Ellie Toia

@xoxo_balayage

Luxe, A Boutique Salon, Austin Texas

Specialty: Balayage, knots

Top-performing post: I did a French bulldog hair collage that went viral! I happened to post it the day before #nationalpuppyday and seriously had NO idea that “holiday” was the next day. The French bulldogs just made me laugh, and I guess I lucked out.

Favorite apps: Facetune2 to whiten my backgrounds, Picstitch for my collages, UNUM to let me know the best times to post for my followers.

I follow: @maneivy @coloredbycaitlin @aaashleee @anotherbraid @lisalovesbalayage

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Pro tip: Lighting and how it best represents the color I did. I use natural light with a ring light as well. For my brunettes, sometimes I won’t use the ring light because I feel like it can wash it out. In those cases I just use natural light. I’ve found that the mixture of both gives me the best, most true to tone results. If the lighting is off or doesn’t represent the color as it was I won’t post it.

Hidden beauty talent: I don’t write down any formulas. I just remember them all in my head.

My audience follows me because: I don’t take myself too seriously and try to have fun with Instagram. I love to laugh and have a good time, and I hope that comes across through my page and my captions.

How social media changed my life: It’s completely transformed who is sitting in my chair. I post what I want in my chair, which is long hair and balayage, and within a year my clientele has morphed into exactly that. Now I go to work and get to do what I truly love every sing le day. I’m booked out 8-12 weeks and feel like I can decide whose hair I want to do or not do.

My first @modernsalon feature: I completely freaked out! It was right when they hit a million followers and the caption was “This looks like a million bucks!” I went and bought a bottle of champagne and celebrated!

Click here to the see the full list of this year's MODERN SALON 100.