15 June 2024

Painting with Light! Beyond Blonde Balayage with Candy Shaw!

Candy Shaw, also known as ‘The Balay Lama’, has been teaching balayage since long before balayage was cool. Shaw founded her French Cutting & Balayage Highlighting Academy in the U.S. more than 20 years ago.

Since then, Candy has taught the art of ‘hair painting’ to tens of thousands of stylists around the world and Shaw’s widely credited with starting the balayage revolution that hairdressing is experiencing today.

As the founder of SUNLIGHTS Balayage, the makers and purveyors of the world’s leading balayage products and education, Candy developed THE BALAY BOX®, ‘the complete balayage class in a box’ containing everything a stylist needs to learn and do balayage including both education and SUNLIGHTS Professionnel Balayage Lightener, a kaolin-clay based lightener Shaw designed exclusively for ‘hair painting’ techniques.

When balayage started gaining popularity a few years ago, the biggest misconception I had to overcome was everyone thinking balayage and ‘ombre’ were one and the same thing,” says Candy. “Now most people realize that ‘ombre’ is just one of many ‘looks’ that can be achieved with ‘hair painting’ techniques. Today the greatest misconception I face is people thinking balayage is just for blondes.”

“Balayage is NOT just for Blondes anymore!” explains Candy.

With the new and improved techniques Shaw’s teaching, and versatile products like SUNLIGHTS, “balayage can now be used to achieve just about every hair color look seen on the runways and in the streets,” says Candy. A few of the many innovative techniques Shaw’s teaching follow.   

Balay color or painting on top of a base color is a popular technique used to save time and increase efficiency. The rule of thumb is if the balayaged pieces will live in the same tonal family as the base color or grey coverage you can paint directly on top of color; however, if the base color is darker and the guest prefers 7 to 8 levels higher for her highlights, it’s best to do them separately.

Relying on a technique she calls ‘skimming’ Candy loves to prelighten and balance hair prior to base color applications and her ‘Ravishing Reds’. This technique paints hundreds of babylights throughout the head adding contrast and creating brightness.

When painting hair that’s really curly Shaw’s ‘go to’ technique is to select the curl she wants to see highlighted, flat iron it straight and then paint it (see photo). This allows the perfect placement and control. If a woman wears her hair both straight and curly, Shaw prefers to paint everything on straight hair.

In addition to expanding its usefulness well beyond Blonde, balayage application techniques also continue to evolve and improve,” says Candy. For instance, Candy has developed and salon-tested several new balayage techniques that she’s teaching including Bowlayage® where selected ‘face framing’ pieces and pieces on the part line are quickly painted at the shampoo bowl giving the stylist the opportunity to perform a fast, efficient  and highly profitable ‘add on’ service.

‘Minking’ is another technique that Candy’s developed to create an ‘ombred’ look on short hair and make a short hair balayage look seamless, Here, Shaw teases the Mohawk section up and paints the ends. The result of ‘Minking” is strong concentrated ends with no lines or hash marks like foils create.

To learn more about the latest balayage techniques + education dates visit www.sunlightsbalayage.com


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