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Why The Balayage Trend Could Be Losing Your Salon Money [Gasp]

by charlottegw / last updated August 20, 2019

balayage salon

Balayage is one of the most-requested hair looks in the salon, but is the low maintenance look losing you business in the salon?

For clients, balayage is a win-win – they spend less money and time at the salon and get an on-trend and long-lasting look. Perhaps thanks to its universal and low maintenance appeal there’s been a dramatic 170% increase in the search term ‘balayage near me’ in the past 12 months, according to Google Trends and L’Oréal Professionnel. But is balayage’s popularity bad news for a salon’s business?

[featured image: @jessicascotthair hair via @wellahairuk]

Balayage – is it bad for your salon?

Although balayage has freed clients from the monthly fight against the ‘hard-line’ root regrowth of global colour or the high maintenance aspect of a full head of highlights, it could be argued salons are the ones losing out on the regular business that these techniques once brought in.

The colourists we spoke to suggested balayage follow up appointments that ranged from as little as six weeks to as long as four months after their initial service. Four months is a far cry from the four-six weeks usually recommended between appointments for a full head of highlights.

The term balayage can also cause problems for salons. Balayage is a colouring technique, but it is increasingly used by clients to describe a finished look. “The trend is frustrating for our team,” admits Kerry Mather, owner of KJM, a Schwarzkopf Professional salon. “Balayage is a technique for colouring hair – not a finished result.” As such, clients have confused or unrealistic expectations of what balayage actually is and the journey their hair needs to go on to get to their desired result.

In the future we might have to consider giving our clients a price for their balayage look after a full consultation because everyone’s desired results are so different

Because clients are getting their inspiration from Instagram, images are often incorrectly hash-tagged. Clients often mistake balayage with ombre, for example. This means their aspirations can be a far cry from the reality that can be achieved on their hair or with their price point. Kerry continues: “In the future we might have to consider giving our clients a price for their balayage look after a full consultation.”

balayage salon

Paul Chandler, Advanced Pro Salon & ColourCode

Balayage – the bonuses

Speaking of positives, there are of course lots of business benefits to balayage.

The technique can be suitable for most hair lengths and types so it actually opens up a colour service to clients who might have felt excluded in the past. It’s ideal for clients who have been previously nervous of colour. Market your balayage services in this way and you could attract new colour clients to your salon.

Another plus point is that every balayage is bespoke. In a period where consumers demand a personalised service, this only adds to the technique’s popularity and means you can charge a bespoke price. “Balayage is bespoke to each client’s hair type and texture, you can have a subtle or a dramatic look,” explains Luke Dawson Brown, Salon Success’ regional technical consultant.

The perfect blend is something colourists make look easy, but behind the flick of our wrists is committed hours of passionate practice and legions of technical know-how

Adele from OSMO also points out that balayage is a technique that is very hard to achieve at home. “The consequences of an at-home balayage, or what I call a ‘home-bre’ are disastrous,” she explains. “The perfect blend is something colourists make look easy, but behind the flick of our wrists is committed hours of passionate practice and technical know-how.” Clients might be tempted to box dye an all-over colour, but it takes a brave or foolish client to attempt balayage at home.

balayage salon

Chris Williams, RUSH

How to increase salon balayage spend

Aside from your client’s next full colour appointment, encourage clients to book in for treatments such as glossing or toning to keep their balayage looking its best and to boost profits. Luke Dawson Brown, regional technical consultant for Salon Success says: “I always recommend a glossing treatment between full balayage colour services. It should be factored into the colour maintenance programme and re-booked before guests leave the salon.”

Doctors give medication, personal trainers give diet plans and colourists should give a take-home kit that will ensure clients protect their colour

Take home products are essential for boosting your bottom line, and the health of your client’s hair. “Doctors give medication, personal trainers give diet plans and colourists should give a take-home kit that will ensure clients protect their colour,” says Crazy Color ambassador Patrick Marrow, owner of Hive Hair, Manchester. “I believe that if you’re not teaching your clients to look after their hair at home, you’re not fulfilling your role as a colourist.”

balayage salon

Blond Studio 9 Levels, L’Oreal Professionnel

A better future for balayage

Like a lot of salons Kerry has found that balayage is actually bringing more clients into the salon, not less. “I would say the balayage trend has increased our overall colour business,” she says. “We’ve started to introduce babylights into our balayage technique which can be topped up more often with our Colour Express service – so this has actually increased a clients’ number of visits to the salon.”

It’s enabled clients to trial a hue that they would be too cautious of trying as an all over colour. With balayage you can put the new tones at the ends of the hair without worrying about unsuitability and it not working with their skin tone

Balayage has also created an openness to experimentation. “It has definitely allowed us to be more creative with our colour menu,” says Siobhan Jones, owner of Rose & Wild, a L’Oréal Professionnel salon. “It’s enabled clients to trial a hue that they would be too cautious of trying as an all over colour. With balayage you can put the new tones at the ends of the hair without worrying about unsuitability and it not working with their skin tone.” Robert Eaton, Wella ProfessionalsUK and Ireland technical director and creative director at Russell Eaton salons is also positive about the effects balayage is having on clients in the salon. He says: “I’ve found clients now spend more on their balayage appointments and happily invest in home care products and in-salon treatments.”

Healthy-looking hair will always be in demand and with some savvy know-how you can boost your business with balayage. It looks like a bright future for hairdressing’s most-used term.

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