Whether you’ve heard the buzz about balayage while sitting in your colorist’s chair at the salon or through word of mouth from your friends and family, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most popular hair color techniques in the world. If you want natural-looking, well-blended color, there’s no better option than this hand-painted French technique.
While balayage isn't for one hair texture specifically, a quick scroll through the “balayage” hashtag on Instagram mostly shows the results of the technique on long, straight or wavy hair. So, that begs the question: Where do curly girls fit in? Luckily, we recently learned about “curlyage”, a new spin on traditional balayage that customizes the results based on your specific texture type.
Want to learn more about the curlyage color technique? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
What is the curlyage technique?
Coined by Jamal Edmunds, Redken X Mizani #ForTheLoveOfTexture expert and owner of Lamaj In The City, curlyage offers the same soft, blended colors result you can achieve with a classic balayage—only, this technique is customized for curly and textured hair types. Not only is it about achieving the perfect color placement, but also about maintaining the health of the curls throughout the coloring process.
“Curlyage and balayage are similar in the sense that you are painting lightener onto the hair in both technique scenarios,” Edmunds explaining. “Curlyage is different because of the customized placement and focus on protecting the integrity of the curls.”
When it comes to curly hair color, the application is different than for those with sleek, straight hair—something that Edmunds was very aware of when creating curlyage.
“You have to be mindful that the light will reflect differently on straight hair versus textured hair, which makes customized placement of the lightener so important,” Edmunds says.
How does the curlyage technique work?
According to Edmunds, there are three factors he keeps in mind for all of his curlyage clients: the density of the hair, the porosity, and the elasticity. These three factors shape where he places the highlights, how he formulates the lightener, and what level of developer or “lift” he uses.
“My rule of thumb when lightening textured hair is to use a low developer, and lift slowly,” Edmunds says. “After lightening, I will gloss with Redken Shades EQ Gloss because it helps to seal the cuticle after lightening and provides beautiful shine, tone, and conditioning.”
All of these factors, combined with a custom-made color placement, ensures the integrity of the ringlets and a beautifully blended color that looks good whether you wear your hair in its natural texture, blown out, or straightened.
How do you care for your curlyage?
After your curlyage appointment, you’ll want to upgrade your hair routine with products meant to protect your color and maintain the health of your mane. Start by swapping your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system like Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner. This gentle, sulfate-free system prevents hair color fade while enhancing shine.
While your colorist will do everything in their power to protect the integrity of your hair throughout your appointment, it’s inevitable that you may deal with a bit of bleach damage. That’s why we recommend adding Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo and Conditioner to your routine. Made with citric acid and vitamin B, these formulas strengthen weakened bonds and improve your hair’s resiliency and strength.
If your strands are feeling a bit dry, complete your shower routine with a hair mask like Mizani Moisture Fusion Intense Moisture Mask once a week. Key ingredients like cupuacu butter and argan oil deeply nourish and hydrate for touchably softer strands.
Interested in getting your hair colored? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.