Blonding Services Breakdown

In the modern salon the blonding menu seems to have been well and truly blended.

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Blonding Services Breakdown


In the modern salon the blonding menu seems to have been well and truly blended. Most colour clients that want a blonding or lightening service seem to always request a balayage whether on line or over the phone. Cut to the consultation where they pull out their digital mood board curated on their smart device and we often find balayage is not actually what they want.

I want to take it right back to blonding basics and just give a brief overview of the different types of blonding services available so that we can all gain clarity on the extensive options available when it comes to brightening up your barnet and choosing you blonde archetype.


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The Full Highlight

Consists of sections of the hair that are woven and lightened from the root to the ends. This leaves some natural hair in between to add dimension. There are certain sectioning techniques that are used to ensure we avoid a streaky or striped effect in the hair. These sections are kept in foil with a lightener to isolate them from the other hair not being lightened. This process is repeated all over the head.

The Partial

This method is similar to a full highlight. Small woven sections are lighted from the root to the ends and are encased in foil. However, with a partial highlight, only the top section is lightened. Looks very natural since it lightens the hair similar to the way the sun may lighten your hair.


Babylights are a superfine woven highlight. This process is used to blend highlights into the base, not to create any drastic dimension in the hair. This is usually a technique that is used around the hairline in combination with others to create a unique look.



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The word Balayage comes from the French verb balayage, which means “sweeping.”

That name in and of itself does a pretty good job of explaining what balayage is: It’s a free-hand hair lightening technique that’s performed by painting, or sweeping, product onto the surface of the hair building up the saturation.

The process and application can look very different and vary depending on the stylist performing the service. In general balayage is a freehand application with a placement that is far more organic than a traditional highlight and usually tailored to fit the head of the client.

This involves sweeping the product along the length of the hair, with careful attention paid to transition areas where blending is required in order give smooth and seamless results. This technique is usually processed in open air, or possibly covered in a plastic film (but not foils).

PLEASE NOTE: Balayage isn’t ideal or designed for creating high contrast and dimensional blonding. It’s for clients that want the soft, subtle and sun-kissed look.




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Foliage is a hybrid lightning technique that is designed to emulate some of the balayage characteristics especially on clients with darker hair. Hair is painted pieces are placed in a foil for the ultimate lift. Foiling keeps the product moist and active which provides a much greater lift than an open-air balayage.

Perfect for brunettes and girls wanting to be super blonde. Resulting in the ultimate dimensional and high contrast colour. This colour process also provides low maintenance, longevity that look great as they grow out.



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Ombré is also a word that comes to us from French. It means “shaded” in French, and it refers to the gradual blending from one colour or hue into another. Typically this will mean transitioning between tints or shades within the same colour (for example, from a dark brown to a light brown, or vice versa)

As it relates to hair, ombré also known as “DIP DYED” is best characterised by gradual, but dramatic, shifts in colour or tone. Traditionally, the hair will remain darker at the root and mid-lenghts, then transition into the lightest shade at the ends.

A typical ombre will not have any lighten higher than the cheekbones or around the face. The main focus with this techniques is getting the blend right on the mid-lengths and ends.



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A toner in isolation isn’t a lightening service. However, it is a very important component to all of the services outlined above. This is the magical part, when done right that takes your freshly lightened hair from the raw light yellow or orange tone to the beautiful shade, tone or hue that you see in your inspo pics.

To break it down. Lightening removes natural pigment which usually exposes warmth. Toning helps neutralise or control any unwanted warmth. The result. A beautiful bespoke colour tailored to meet the needs of the vision or goal for your hair.

Toners do not last forever. Eventually they do fade or wash out. To maintain your blonde it’s important to treat yourself to a toner in between your usual appointments. You can be in and out of the salon in under and hour and leave feeling brand new!

Lastly, Your shampoo and conditioner matters. There is so much choice out there. I wrote a whole post about it recently which you can find here.  Until you get a chance to read that i’d always encourage you to go for the colour safe options.

Peace, Love and Ponytails!

Louis Driver – Head Creative



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