Balayage Gone Wrong

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Update November 2018: This post has gone viral and I have some new info to share with ya’ll. 🙂 Since sharing my scary and horrible first time balayage experience, I have found the most incredible hair team here in Dallas who has transformed my hair from crispy, yellow and horribly styled to classy, clean, and the perfect blended balayage.

Both of my hair professionals work at the Osgood O’Neil salon off Knox in Dallas. My hair colorist, Daniel, does incredible work (you can follow him here). My sweet hair stylist is Tram and you can follow her here.

They are an incredible duo and can transform any “botched” hair into locks you can love. Here are some pics of my hair now that it’s been fixed:

Original Post (August 30, 2016): 

I’ve been wanting to write a post about my CRAZY hair experience over the past 6 months as I aspired to achieve the “perfect” balayage or ombre look – but fell short[ish] of this goal.

I hope this post is insightful and helpful to any ladies wanting to go out and spend their hard-earned dollars on this popular hairstyle.

First tip before I get started: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Google, Facebook and Yelp your local hair salons and look for reviews about the service you are wanting. I failed to do this and in the end, I feel like I lost my time and money. Also check out photos and ask your stylist for before/after photos and how long he/she has been doing balayage.

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Second tip: DON’T BE FOOLED by expensive salons. Just because their services cost more does not mean they do better work. This is the naive truth coming out: I thought by paying more I would hopefully in return be getting a better, more experienced hair stylist. Silly. Me.

Back in the spring, I started my balayage journey by going from a dark brunette to a medium golden balayage:

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After a few months with the highlights, I wanted to lighten things up even more for summer. I wanted to be as blonde as possible without the hassle of having major dark roots.

Balayage is supposed to be the proper solution for brunettes (or even blondes) looking for a low maintenance style. I thought with the right hair stylist, this could be done on me!

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I decided to see a stylist in Dallas who I’d been to before, but my FIRST mistake was going back to him after a bad highlight experience with him a year prior.

I asked for partial highlights and he left me with blonde bleach spots in pieces of hair near the front of my face. When I went back, instead of fixing the handful of messy pieces, he refoiled my entire head turning it almost completely 100% blonde. Why would I go back? Short-term memory loss or ADD? [I love how the long-term memory kicks in afterwords]…

SECOND mistake was me assuming that because I was going to a nicer salon in Dallas and was paying double, I would get exactly what I was looking for… W R O N G !

When I arrived at the expensive salon, I showed the hairdresser some photos of what I wanted to look like and mentioned how I wanted to lighten my existing balayage. Here are the photos I used:


Can I just say how obsessed I am with Jessie James Decker?! I LOVE her, and her hair, and her make up, and her voice, and her reality show, and her YouTube channel, and her family, and her life! Okay..rant over.

Anyways, about 5 hours later, he turned me into this:

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Not bad, right?


Check this:

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I think he thought that maybe I’d never part my hair and look at the damage done? Some days I part my hair in different ways and wear it in different styles. After noticing all the misplaced bleach, I immediately contacted him to fix this mess.

I debated on just going somewhere else and never going back, but after dishing out $300, I couldn’t get myself to spend any more on these damaged locks. So I went back a few days later.

That was a big mistake.

I showed up for my appointment and he forgot to buy the brown hair dye that was to fix some of the misplaced bleach. This particular salon specialized in blondes and apparently didn’t have many shades of brown in stock. So I wasted about 45 minutes going downtown, parking, just to turn right back around with my splotchy bleached hair.

Round three: this time I show up, we spend three hours trying to fix his mistake. His first solution was to add brown back to the roots. When he was applying the brown back to my roots trying to blend it with the blonde, he ended up leaving several large brown splotches on my bleached blonde hair.

When he washed it all out, he kept rubbing his fingers through the spotted strands as I sat there mortified. My hair was already fried from the initial blonde he put in, and adding more to it just fried it even more. He then proceeds to bleach the brown spots not once, but twice because the first time he did it, they didn’t come out.

The second time they didn’t completely come out either, but he was tired and had somewhere to be. His friend was waiting for him in the empty salon and was rushing the entire process. He sent me home with soaking wet hair and free Kevin Murphy and Olaplex (which I’m pretty sure he stole from the salon). We washed and dried my hair three times. I was left with this:

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Now, this wasn’t awful, but I still needed to go back for a third [really fourth] visit to have him blend it one more time. On my final visit, he went through my entire head and added partial brown lowlights all throughout once I got back from our trip. This made it a little bit more blended:

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In the right lighting, it was pretty. But I have really dark hair and dark eyebrows and it was SUPER blonde and still not blended well. It still didn’t appear natural and over time, it became hard to manage.

I needed to be able to afford a blonder color without the constant need for maintenance and upkeep. I let some time pass and after about 2.5 months, I decided to go to yet another hair professional.

I added a shadow root and more, thicker brown low lights. At the end of it all, I ended up with this:

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I hope this was helpful for anyone who is interested in balayage. If you happen to be in a situation like this, try not to panic. It is just hair… as hard as it is to convince yourself when you are actually in this situation, know that it can be fixed.

Worst case scenario – you can go back to your natural color and start over a month or two later.  Also, don’t be rude to the hair stylist who messed it up. I was never arrogant or mean towards the guy who messed my hair up and I will not share any information on him or the salon he works at.

He was nice enough to try and fix it for free and that’s all I can ask for. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Not to mention, when someone has control over the way you look, you definitely do not want to rub them the wrong way! I just simply will never go back 😉

I’m very happy with my look now and will probably continue to experiment with my hair. Have you tried the balayage hairstyle? Did you like it the first go round? I’m curious if I’m the only one who had a bad experience [which I partially blame myself for] and how you may have fixed it?