How to section your hair for balayage without going crazy (6 easy steps)

long hair

Do you want your balayage to end up looking perfect?


Dividing your hair into different sections is a key part of making the end result of your balayage perfect.

  • If you section your hair correctly, your balayage will look GOOD.
  • If you section your hair wrong, your balayage will look BAD.

Why am I stressing this so much?


Because a lot of women watch one or two videos on YouTube, and they think they know how to do a balayage at home. They believe they are experts in the technique.

The truth is that balayage is a complicated color technique, and an essential part of this complexity is because of the way you need to section your hair to do it correctly.


 Sectioning your hair is as important to a balayage as wheels are to a car.  

No wheels, no car.

No sectioning, no balayage.


A few days ago, a girl wrote to me who wanted to do a balayage at home.

She had experience dyeing her hair, so she thought that getting a balayage would be as easy as fishing in a fishbowl. Want to know what happened?


She ended up with a straight line in her hair across the middle of her head. Half of her hair was one color, and the other half was another. And that happened because she didn’t section her hair correctly.

So, you can have a lot of experience dyeing your hair, but that doesn’t count when it comes to balayage. The only important thing is to know how to section your hair.

Want me to tell you something else?


 Sectioning your hair for a balayage is really hard because you have to divide the little hairs into each layer of your hair, and it’s even harder to do that on the back of your hair. Unless you’re Elastigirl, of course. 

And it’s even harder when you have to apply bleach and wrap the tin foil.

That’s why in most salons, two stylists work on it at once.


Now that you know all of that, you have two options.


If you decide to go with the second choice, stick around because I am going to tell you how to section your hair step by step so your balayage can look like you always dreamed it would.


You will definitely need someone to help you. Don’t be too stubborn to think you can do it yourself.

 Ask a friend, aunt, niece, husband, boyfriend, lover, whoever, but don’t even think about starting on the steps I’m about to tell you until you have someone to help you.  


One more thing.

Before you start, make sure you have all the materials you’re going to need both to section your hair as well as for when you apply the balayage.

What materials do you need?


I’m about to tell you that very thing right now.


Tabla de Contenidos


Materials you need to section your hair to do a balayage

You don’t need too many materials to section your hair, but they are all essential.

Basically, you’ll just need two or three things, depending on how long your hair is.


1- Brush

You can use this to detangle your hair if it’s long.


2- Wide-toothed comb

Use this to detangle your hair if it’s short.


3- Pin/Rat Tail Comb

 We could say that this is the main character in this story. Without a pin or rat tail comb, there’s no balayage. 

You’ll use it to separate your locks and comb upward. You’ll use the “tail” of the comb to separate your hair.


4- Hair clips

Hair clips are the next most important characters in this story. You’ll use them to keep your hair in the sections that you make with the tail comb.


Once you have all the materials, you can start to section your hair.


How to section your hair for a balayage in 6 simple steps

four sections


Step 1

Perfectly detangle your hair, so no knots remain. If you have long hair, use a traditional brush. If you have short hair, it will be easier for you to use a wide-tooth comb.


Step 2

Here comes the part where you’ll actually section your hair.


  • The first step is to divide your hair into two halves. With the tail comb, draw a line that goes from your forehead to your neck, cutting your hair evenly in half.
  • Then, also with the tail comb, draw a second line that goes from ear to ear. You can use the highest point of your ears for reference.


After drawing those two lines, your hair will be divided into two sections.

You’ll have to tie back each section, so they don’t get mixed together. Take each part, one by one, make a small bun, and clip it into place.


Step 3

This is the hardest step because this is where you need to work with the back part of your head.

And unless you have elastic arms or an extra arm, you’re going to need somebody else to help you.


So far, you’ve divided your hair into 4 sections. Two front and two back.


The person helping you should now unclip one of the back sections.

Which one? It doesn’t matter, you can start with whichever side you prefer.


So, take out the bun, bush, or comb your hair out to make sure there are no knots.


Step 4

Right now, you have 4 sections in your hair.

Three are still tied up.

You’re going to work with the fourth section, the one that your helper undid in the last step.


With the tail comb, estimate 1 centimeter and separate out the first lock. Once you’ve already sectioned it away from the others, apply bleach to it and wrap it in tin foil.

Then, leave 2 centimeters and separate out another lock. Apply bleach to it and wrap it in tin foil.

Repeat until you reach the end of this section of hair.


Step 5

Repeat step 4 on each of the fourths of your hair.


Step 6

Let the bleach sit, then take off the aluminum foil and rinse your hair.

I’m not going to go too much into detail during this part because the idea of this article to tell you about the process of sectioning your hair to do a balayage.


If you want your balayage to turn out good, don’t make these 4 mistakes when you’re sectioning your hair

When it comes time to section your hair for your balayage, there are a few common mistakes. I think it’s a shame, because they’re errors that are easy to avoid if you look out for them.

So, I’ll tell you what these mistakes are.


Mistake 1

The most common mistake is not leaving enough hair between each lock. You should leave an inch or two.

 If you leave more space, it’s not that big of a deal, but if you don’t leave enough, your locks will be very close together, and they will look more like highlights.  


Mistake 2

The second most common error is to make the parts that you’re separating out to bleach too large.

They should be a maximum of half an inch in width.

 If they’re wider than that, then the fading effect will be lost, and they’ll look more like wide pieces of tape. 


Mistake 3

Not respecting the 4 sections that you divided your hair into in step 2.

If you don’t respect the sections, your locks will look disorganized, and it will seem like you need to touch up your color.


Mistake 4

Washing your hair before sectioning your hair.

Your hair naturally produces oils which will actually help you during the sectioning process as well as when you apply the color.

If you wash your hair, the only thing that you’ll achieve is to take away those oils, which makes sectioning your hair correctly more difficult.

That’s why, ideally, you will not have washed your hair for at least 48 hours before doing a balayage.



Now you know how to section your hair to do a balayage.

Like we’ve said, sectioning your hair correctly is a vital part of the balayage technique, so if you’re unsure of how to do it or you don’t have anyone to help you out, it would be best to go to a professional salon.

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