Balayage Gone Wrong? Do you hate the results? 4 ways to fix a bad balayage today

before balayage

If your balayage has gone wrong, you have two options.

  • Lock yourself in your room (where no one can see your hair) and cry your eyes out.
  • Or, find a way to correct the balayage.

Which option would you choose?


If you choose the first option, there’s not much I can do to help you. Best of luck!

Now, if you choose the second option, you’re in the right place, because here we’re going to discuss various ways to fix a bad balayage.


Of course, everyone’s hair is different.

So finding the perfect solution for each case is quite difficult. But, because I like to live life on the edge, I’m going to try.

 No matter why it went wrong, I’m going to try to help you correct your balayage. There’s always a solution, and I’m here to help you find it.


Let’s start with the million-dollar question: why did your balayage go wrong in the first place?


There are many possible reasons, but they usually fall into four basic categories:

  • An inexperienced hairstylist
  • Problems with the color
  • Problems with the bleach
  • Hair damage before the balayage


If your balayage went wrong, it’s most likely because of one or more of the four reasons above.

Let’s look at each possible problem in detail, see if we can figure out why your balayage went wrong, and discuss how to fix it.


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An inexperienced hairstylist

Who did your balayage? Was it done by a professional colorist or an amateur?

Or did you try to do the balayage yourself?


  • If your balayage was done by a professional, the best thing you can do is go back to the salon. I have no doubt they will have a solution for you.

Tell them that you don't like how it turned out, explain what you want, and I'm sure they'll help you achieve your hair goals.


  A good hairstylist wants nothing more than for the client to leave the salon happy with their hair. They understand how important a woman's hair is to her and want her to love her new look. 

And, let's be honest. A satisfied client is far more likely to recommend a salon than an angry one.


  • Now, if you did the balayage yourself and didn’t like how it looks, that’s another matter altogether.

Maybe you felt a hairdresser would be too expensive or couldn't find the right professional for you.

Or maybe you saw a couple of youtube videos and thought it looked easy. What you might not know is most of those tutorials are done by hairdressers, and behind the scenes, there's almost always a professional colorist.


 In either case, if your DIY balayage went wrong, I recommend you find a good professional to help you correct it. 

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear. But remember, a balayage is an advanced color technique. And if it went wrong the first time, do you think it will go better the second?


So now you know: the best way to fix a bad balayage is to find a qualified professional to help you.

Now let's move on to the second reason for a bad balayage and how to fix it.


Problems with the color

bad choice of color dye

The goal in a balayage is for the color to fade from dark to light gently. Generally, it starts from dark roots and moves to a lighter level on the ends.

 But, if the color difference between the roots and ends is more than two levels, the result will be a bad -or even downright ugly- balayage.  


For example, let's say you want a blond balayage and decide on level 6 brown roots and level 9 blond ends.

You carefully mix and apply the die, wait for it to process, finally look in the mirror... and are sorely disappointed. The color change is too drastic. If that's your situation, it's almost certainly because there's a color change of over two levels.

In other words, either the roots are too dark, or the ends are too light.


Now let's talk about how to fix it.



 If there's a color difference of over two tones between the roots and ends of your balayage, the easiest way to fix it is by correcting the color of the ends. 

Why is correcting the ends easier than the roots?


Apply dye to the roots, and you run the risk of creating a distinct line in your hair where the color changes.

Or over applying the dye and losing the balayage effect altogether.

This means it's much easier to change the color of the ends.


  • To go back to the example we used earlier, if your roots are a level 6 brown and your ends a level 9 blond, you’re going to need to lower the ends to a level 8. This will create the natural gradation you’re looking for.
  • On the other hand, if your roots are a level 3 dark brown and your ends are a level 7 medium blond, you’ll need to bring the ends down two tones to a level 5 light brown. This will create a much more gradual, more attractive color.


Now let’s take a look at how to do this.


You’re going to need two things.

  • Dye (remember, to change the ends to the correct level, you'll need a dye two levels higher than your roots)
  • 20 volume developer.


Then mix the dye and developer and apply it in long strokes, similar to applying a hair mask.

Finally, let it for 20 minutes and rinse.


Did your balayage go wrong because of problems with the bleaching process?

A balayage is supposed to lighten from the roots to the ends gradually. The gradient effect is achieved with bleach, which strips the natural pigment from your hair.

Bleach is to balayage like dough is to pizza.

Can you make a pizza without dough?


Definitely not.


Along the same lines, you can't create a balayage without bleaching your hair first unless you're very blond.

Back to pizza: what happens if you burn the crust?


Well, you might be going out for takeout instead of having homemade pizza.

And what happens is you don't bleach your hair correctly before a balayage?


 A simply bad balayage, that's what. It will end up looking messy, with patchy, uneven color

But before we discuss how to solve this problem, let's explain why the bleaching process of a balayage might not work.


The most common error is applying the bleaching mixture incorrectly.

  • Correctly applied bleach leads to a great balayage.
  • Poorly applied bleach will result in a bad balayage.


To create the perfect balayage, the hair should be separated into small, half-inch sections. But here's the most important part: the bleached strands should be about one inch apart, or you'll end up with the entire lower section of your hair bleached evenly.

And of course, a balayage shouldn't be all one color, but gradually change. The color should slowly lighten as it moves from the roots to the ends.


 If you don't leave some sections unbleached, you'll end up with a straight line instead of a gradual transition. 


As you can see, correctly spacing the sections of hair is the key to a successful balayage.

If you follow these instructions carefully and leave some space in between the strands of bleached hair, you'll get the balayage you're looking for.

But the slightest mistake when spacing the strands could result in a balayage gone wrong.



 If your balayage looks bad because the hair was not divided correctly, the solution is to raise the balayage by an inch or two. 

What does it mean to raise a balayage?


Basically, to change where the color begins, leaving a shorter amount of the roots of your hair dark.

For example, if your first balayage left 2-3 inches of roots, you should raise it an inch or two, leaving 1.5-2 inches of natural roots. In other words, leave less of your natural color at the roots.

What does this accomplish?


When done correctly, with unbleached strands mixed with the bleached ones, this will create the graduated look of a balayage. And erase the line left from the first balayage.


So, we've already discussed three possible reasons why a balayage could go wrong and how to fix them.

Now let's move on to the fourth possible problem.


Did your balayage go wrong because the roots were bleached?

This is a serious error that an amateur could only make. Someone who's never done a balayage in their lives.

Any hairdresser with any idea how to do a balayage knows to leave the roots unbleached.


  • First of all, if you went to a salon that promised you the perfect balayage and then bleached your roots as well as the ends, I would never step foot in that salon again.
  • Second of all, hire a good lawyer to represent you in the lawsuit. Ok, maybe that’s too far.


Why shouldn't the roots be bleached?

Because that's not a balayage, that's just normal highlights.

And there's a huge difference between a balayage and highlights.



 Whether you bleached your roots yourself or the mistake was made by an amateur hairdresser, the solution is very simple. Let your hair grow at least 1.5 inches for a high balayage or 2-3 inches for a more traditional balayage. 


Or, if you've given up on a balayage, for the time being, dye all your hair a darker color.


Was your hair healthy enough for a balayage?

split ends

The fifth and last reason why your balayage might have turned out bad is that your hair wasn't healthy enough for the technique.


As I said, a balayage requires you to bleach at least part of your hair.

And bleaching is a very aggressive chemical process. If your hair was already very dry or weak, it might not have been able to tolerate a balayage at a salon, much less a DIY balayage.


Many women bleach their hair at home to discover that their hair could not stand the chemical process. Unfortunately, this often leads to damaged hair that may even have to be cut off.

What happens if you try to apply a balayage to dry or damaged hair?


It's as bad as kicking someone when they're down.

Bleach damaged hair, and you'll ruin it. And you won't get the trendy balayage you're looking for. More likely than not, you'll be left with stiff, frizzy hair.

But what if you've already tried to apply a balayage to damaged hair?



 The first thing to do, if your hair is even salvageable, it is to hydrate it with keratin treatments or reparative ampoules. 

Alternatively, you can look for a quality salon that can evaluate your hair to see if it can tolerate a cauterization treatment or if it's better to cut it and wait for it to grow out.


Of course, if your hair is this damaged, a balayage isn't even an option. At this point, you should be more concerned about how to save your hair while you still can.

But don't lose hope; you'll be able to get a balayage, just not right now.



Ideally, the solutions we've discussed should be done by an experienced professional.

Especially if you're looking to correct a balayage gone wrong. Remember, balayage is an advanced color technique, and a correction is even more difficult than the first application.


Now it's your turn to share: have you ever gotten a bad balayage? If so, leave me a comment!

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