From Prep to Process, a Balayage Expert Shares Her Technique
From Prep to Process, a Balayage Expert Shares Her Technique

Although the balayage technique was introduced decades ago, the natural-looking, seamless and sun-kissed effect of painting the hair (balayage means “to sweep” in French) sky-rocketed to one of the most in-demand color services in recent years.

For flawless results that stand the test of time, balayage educator and expert Georgia Reed, a Malibu C National Educator and Artistic Team member, says it’s all about prep, formula consistency, perfect placement and maintenance.

“Dimension looks good on everyone, and balayage creates beautiful depth,” says Reed, whose clientele at Stellar Salon in Sterling, Illinois, is packed with blondes. “I even have balayage guests who only want to come in once every six months, or even just once per year. As long as I follow these steps, they look incredible long-after they leave my chair and all through the grow out.”



A critical step in all of Reed’s color appointments is a Malibu C Crystal Gel Treatment to rid the hair of mineral build-up and color blockers, while priming the hair for greater color absorption and retention.

“Before balayaging, a Crystal Gel Treatment helps me get the lift I need,” Reed says. “When you process in open air, you need to get rid of any barriers that could prevent lift—like minerals or medications. Crystal Gel Treatment ensures you’re working with a totally fresh, clean canvas.”

Although your client needs to process the treatment, this step actually saves time and stress in the end, Reed says.

“We’ve all been at the shampoo bowl looking at lightened hair and kicking ourselves that we either didn’t let the lightener process long enough, or didn’t properly prep the hair,” she says. “I call the Malibu C Crystal Gel Treatment my ‘insurance policy.’”

Three of Reed's balayage favorites: Malibu Blondes, Crystal Gel and De-Ox.

Three of Reed's balayage favorites: Malibu Blondes, Crystal Gel and De-Ox.



Although Reed uses a variety of open-air lighteners, her go-to is Trionics. When balayaging, she mixes Malibu C Concentr8 Color Klay into her powder lighteners to give her the lifting power of a traditional lightener, but with the consistency and incubation of a clay-based lightener—all without impacting the strength of the formula.

“Powder lighteners are stronger than clay lighteners,” Reed says. “But clay lighteners create that outer shell so the lightener dries on the outside but continues to incubate on the inside so it can still process. By adding Klay into my powder lightener formula, I get totally customizable consistency with maximum control.”

Reed prefers a consistency in bowl similar to that of sour cream.

“You want it thick enough where it won’t leak through your section,” Reed says.






Often working in triangle sections, Reed says the top section at the crown can make-or-break your finish.

“It’s not uncommon to find a cowlick at the top of the crown,” Reed says. “It’s important to look at the way the hair naturally falls and paint it that way, so you don’t end up with a ‘black hole.’”

Reed takes the section of hair that has a cowlick or whirl, gives it a  shake, and ensures coverage on all the places the sun would naturally hit.



Malibu C’s De-Ox Wellness Remedy is a blonde’s best friend, as it stops the oxidation of chemical services, normalize hair’s pH and porosity.

“When you use developer, you’re working with an oxidative product,” Reed says. “If you don’t stop the oxidative process, that can last in the hair for 48 hours. De-Ox is an anti-oxidant, so it stops the processing.”

Reed likens De-Ox to the parallel of turning off a running car—although the car will eventually run out of gas and turn off, you should use your keys to stop the car when you’re done with it.

“We’ve all had that client that leaves the salon happy but, after 48 hours, calls and says something looks splotchy or that it looks different than last time,” Reed says. “Stopping the oxidation ensures your tone won’t be impacted after she leaves your chair. I always keep De-Ox at my back-bar.”



Once she’s prepped the hair and processed it to perfection, Malibu C Blondes Wellness Remedy protects your client’s balayage results at home by keeping minerals and brass at bay, while preventing color-fade and increasing shine.

“Not only are my balayage clients happy with their long-term results, I’m happy because Malibu C Blondes captures those retail dollars,” Reed says.

Browse Reed’s beautiful balayage work on Instagram @peachpaintshair, and learn more about Malibu C’s vegan, cruelty-free and paraben-free product offerings by visiting and following @malibucpro on Instagram.

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