How long does it take to get a balayage in a professional salon?

medium hair

Are you thinking to balayage your hair and want to know how long it’ll take you at the beauty salon?


Getting a balayage from start to finish can take between 4 and 6 hours.

The exact amount of time will depend, among other things, on the length of your hair, the initial color of your hair and on the color you want to get, and of course on the hand of the colorist working on your hair.

I always use the same example.


Have you ever made a chocolate cake?

No doubt the first time you make a chocolate cake it’ll take a long time. The second time it’ll take less, and so on. With balayage something similar takes place.


 It’s a technique that requires practice and skill. The more practice the professional working on your hair has, the less time it’ll take. 

A colorist who’s done 300 balayage throughout his or her career will likely be able to do it faster than a professional who’s just starting.


There’s another factor to keep in mind to know how long you’ll have to be at the hair salon.

Can you guess what I’m talking about?


The kind of balayage you choose.

Because it doesn’t take the same amount of time to do an ash blond balayage on dark hair as it does to do a chestnut brown balayage on dark hair.

The process for each is very different.

As well as the time it takes.


Going back to the example of the chocolate cake, does it take the same time to make a chocolate cake as it does a chocolate mousse or cream pie?


I’m not an expert chef, but I’m pretty sure that a chocolate mousse and a cream pie both take longer to make.


So now you know.

Those are the two most important factors that determine how much time you’ll be at the beauty salon.

  • On one hand, the experience of the professionals working on your hair
  • And on the other, the type of balayage you want for your hair


Now let’s take a look at each of the steps for a perfect balayage and how long each one takes.


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Step one: selecting the color in conjunction with your colorist (30-40 minutes)

half day at the hairdresser

Once you’ve decided to go to the salon, you should already know what kind of balayage you want for your hair.

Do you want to change the tone? The color? Or do you want to revamp your look altogether.


Oftentimes you have an idea of what you want, but you don’t know how to explain it.

Has this happened to you?


This happens to my clients all the time, if not to most of the time. There are so many tones and colors to choose from.

 I’d recommend that you bring a photo of what you want for your hair; if you saw a photo on social media that would be ideal. 


When you’re stylist has a clear idea of what kind of balayage you’re looking for, she’ll determine whether it’s possible to do it in one session alone or if you’ll need to come back again.

She’ll know how to decipher quickly what you want and be able to recommend the perfect balayage for you.


This selection process for your new look can take about 30 to 40 minutes.


Step two: bleaching

This is the longest part of the process.

The first thing your stylist should do is to perform a strand test to assure that your hair will be able to handle being bleached.


The strand test consists of separating a small portion of hair, applying peroxide to it, and letting it sit and take effect for about 20 minutes.

If your hair doesn’t break or get “rubbery” (you comb it and it sticks right back up), you’re ready to begin.


Another factor to keep in mind is the kind of balayage you’re going to get.

The maintenance of your balayage is not the same as the makeover itself.


  • If it’s maintenance of your balayage you seek, your stylist will start by preparing your hair, separating it into small sections.

She’ll apply peroxide and wrap them in aluminum foil, so that the bleach can take effect.

This part of the process is very long.

It lasts approximately 1 to 2 hours depending on the skill and experience of your stylist.

If she has an assistant helping with the placement of the foil, even better!


  • If it’s a complete hair color makeover, your stylist will have already applied the base color you chose. This will take an hour to an hour and a half.

In order to then apply the bleach with the foil paper. Therefore if you’re going to revamp your color you should add another hour.


A fun thing that my clients do is take photos while I’m placing the foil paper and post the images to social media; it’s pretty funny to see the comments they get.

Once the bleach has gotten you to the color your stylist is looking for, your hair is rinsed and combed.


You’ll spend approximately 30 minutes at the rinse tray, since your hair gets pretty tangled in the process.


Step three: toning

After bleaching, an orange or yellow tone can appear that isn’t what you were looking for.


Your stylist will undoubtedly tone your hair with dye, which can be done 2 ways:

  • With your hair still wet after rinsing and styling, the application of the dye is about 20 minutes and then its washed.
  • Drying your hair and applying the dye, again the application of the dye is about 20 minutes but we should add about 10 minutes more for drying the hair depending on the length.


In summary, toning will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes more.


Step four: drying and cutting (40 minutes)

Once all the steps of the balayage are complete, it’s time to dry.

You can request that your stylist apply a hair reconstruction treatment.


 Always after a chemical process that involves bleach, it’s good to cut off the ends of your hair. 

Don’t be afraid! Just 3 centimeters is enough to make your hair shine healthy and vibrant.


This part of the process takes another 40 minutes.



In conclusion, balayage takes 4 to 6 hours, depending on the length of your hair, the type of balayage you choose, and the experience of the stylist working with you.

At my salon, I offer my clients manicures to help pass the time.

No doubt in your salon they offer them as well.


It’s so nice to have time to dedicate to yourself, without having to think about work or kids.

Relaxing and enjoying each step of the process is essential.

Whatever time you can dedicate to your beauty, is time well spent.

So? Have you reserved your appointment to revamp your look yet or what?

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