The History of Balayage: From France With Love

I have long looked at hair color as a means of expression. From precision highlights to dramatic, dark hues to a lavender purple… your hair color tells a story about who you are. And if balayage were to say something about the women who rock the trend, it would say things like “sophisticated, cultured, intelligent, effortless beauty”. Who doesn’t want to make that statement? This look is only gaining in popularity and now, more and more hairdressers are beginning to take classes and specialize in this unique style of coloring the hair.

Balayage Begins. 


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The trend that’s quite literally sweeping the nation has been around for nearly forty years, tracing its roots back to a little salon in Paris in the 70′s. While it stayed safely nestled in Europe through much of the dramatic, foil highlighted days of the 80′s, the technique made its way to us in America by the 90′s. It was mostly used on celebrities who were lucky enough to visit European trained colorists and pay top dollar for the best in hair color.


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When Sarah Jessica Parker began rocking the sun-kissed, dimensional color pattern in the last days of Sex & The City, every fashionista in the nation was on board. We wanted to know exactly what that dewy, natural looking color, perfectly accentuating her big curls was. And when social media became a useful tool for sharing the details of what this beautiful new trend was and younger up and comers like Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port traded in their foils for the softer, European style, a phenomenon was born. Officially.

And It’s Here To Stay.


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Today, we love this technique because of the statement it makes. I think American women have latched on for a multitude of reasons (8-12 weeks between retouches anyone?), but most importantly, I think we like the story it tells about us. It’s been a tool to give American women that laissez-faire yet chic French vibe. It’s a way of saying you don’t take yourself too seriously, but you somehow always seem to look effortlessly pulled together. It has absolutely revolutionized the way we think about highlighting and contouring in the hair. And on top of the statement it makes, it can drastically enhance and accent your haircut and style like no other technique can. Balayage can give the illusion of length if you’re in the process of growing out your hair, it can add width to your style to balance out a long face shape or it can even just add points to give drama to an asymmetrical cut. It is structure and technique and knowledge. But it is also freedom and creativity and style. Balayage is both customization and classic skill. And in that, we Americans have just fallen in love.

My First Steps.

I took my first balayage class in 2011 from a Vidal Sassoon educator when I was living in Seattle. My first time painting the hair with a tiny brush and using cotton to separate sections left me knowing I would HAVE to learn everything I could about this trend. I was totally hooked from my first try because the dimensional, buttery highlights were more soft and sun-kissed than any foil work I’d seen. And that’s not to speak negatively at all about foils or what they can do. I want to be clear that there is certainly a place for foils in today’s salons and for modern clients. Sometimes they are really the only option depending on what you are doing! However, this fresh take of free-painting the hair made me feel like a true artist rather than a worker bee just placing foils one after the other in the same few patterns. It opened up a new world to me and allowed me to use both my knowledge and my creativity together.

Balayage is...

Balayage is…

From that first beginner’s class I took back in 2011, I moved on to watching every video I could get my hands on, studying every article I came across and dissecting images of celebs wearing the style. Then I chose to work under a colorist who had been using the technique in Los Angeles and learned from watching her, asking questions and practicing it over and over. Since then, it’s been all about developing, taking various webinars and classes I can find and learning to hone my skills as much as I can.

The Journey Continues.


Last week, I took an amazing class with Brooke Evans, a balayage specialist for L’Oreal Professionnel who is based here in Denver. I learned so much about the fundamentals of balayage that I hadn’t known previously and it left me wanting much more. Just in the past few days, my technique has been more solid and concise and I can’t wait to keep learning and growing. My goal for that? In 2015, I will be attending various classes across the country at L’Oreal Professionnel academies to become a certified balayage specialist. From New York to California, my plan is to learn from the best and bring what I learn to you, my amazing clients here in Denver.

You can stay up to date on my journey here on the site and through my Insta and Facebook accounts. Can’t wait to share more with you as we go and I especially can’t wait to see balayage techniques becoming more and more popular here in the States! If you live here in Denver, feel free to contact me for your own balayage appointment with me! 

And if you’d like to dive deeper into the world of balayage, I published a piece about it here that you can check out. I even profiled photos of three clients I’ve done balayage on so that you can see the technique on a pixie, long bob and long layers. Enjoy!


Editorial Training, A New View & A Pretty Gold Key

Fall always seems to be a time of transition for me. It was the season that I first took the leap to try working for myself back in 2010 and a year later, it was when I up and moved to Seattle on my own. Last fall was when I met my hairdressing idol Kevin Murphy AND began my current position as a beauty columnist with And most importantly, back in the day,  it’s also when I decided in 2007 to leave college and try out beauty school. I think that one worked out okay, don’t you? ;)

And the trend continues this year with my fall having been full of exciting new adventures. Because some of you don’t get to see me in the salon (okay, like about 9,000 of you!), I wanted to keep you updated on these new ventures. I think it’s important for you to know all the ways I’m staying up to date on my training and for you to see how I’m always taking active, planned steps to keep my career moving full steam ahead. And let’s face it… it’s also great for you to know what’s keeping me away from this blog when I’m not posting more than once a week!

David Lopez Editorial Training


The first thing I got to be a part of this season was watching the amazingly talented David Lopez showcase his editorial skills. David is a part of the Kevin Murphy team and is based in New York. He taught a small group of us dedicated Kevin Murphy artists how to craft his “Beach Bardot” look among quite a few others. He showed us photos of the awesome campaigns he has done this year so far and walked us through step by step how he created and designed each hairstyle and theme. And with every editorial shoot, there’s always a good story to go along with it and those proved to be just as fun to hear about as the glamorous hairstyles themselves. After the show, I was able to catch a few minutes with David and let him know what a great job he did and I truly meant it. He was calm, collected and accessible and there wasn’t even a shred of an ego on stage with him. I loved his energy and presentation and I really took a lot of great tips home with me that night. I can’t wait to see what else he can bring the editorial world and to our fabulous industry.


To learn more about David or see some of his work, check out his site.

Kevin Murphy Training


As most of you know, I’m a huge Kevin Murphy junkie. Ever since I attended my first hair show in 2011 in Seattle, I’ve been addicted to the brand, the mission and the products. This spring, I began a new journey in submitting my application to be a part of the local education team here in Denver and I was accepted. Since then, I’ve been mentoring and shadowing under some of the most talented hairdressers I’ve had the pleasure of being around. I attended one training in the summer and one last month to get more in depth with the brand and to learn better presentation and teaching skills. Both of these training sessions were under the amazing Natalie Morgan, who I have long admired as a Style.Master with the brand and seen on stage several times. Last year, she came to teach a class at my salon and I couldn’t shut up telling everyone how excited I was to see her! Lol! She would totally laugh if she heard me speak about her like this, but it’s been a huge honor for me to train under her and to share in some of the knowledge she has. To date, I’ve done about six days of intensive classroom training with the team and more spent in salons learning how to teach Kevin Murphy stylists more about our brand. And of course, lots of studying and flashcards in between! :)

So imagine how excited I was when I got my official Gold.Key this past weekend! Literally, it’s a GOLD KEY! When I got word in the spring saying my application had been accepted, I screamed as loud as I could and jumped up and down for minutes. And my reaction to finally getting my Key was more subdued and professional, but there was quite a bit of excitement! What this means is that I am now an official educator with the team and I will head into next year attending all regular training’s with other Key’s in the western U.S. and here in Denver, I’ll be teaching stylists at Kevin.Murphy salons about the brand, styling and products. Becoming an educator with a product line has always been a huge goal of mine for my time in this industry and after waiting for the perfect brand for me to come along, I’m thrilled to be able to spread the Kevin.Murphy goodness!

If you’d like to see more of my day to day dealings with the brand and fun behind the scenes photos, be sure to follow my Instagram account: @HairWithKate.

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Making A Move To The Oxford

And last, but most definitely not least is my big move to The Oxford Hotel Salon this month. I’ve been looking to make a move since the summer and I wanted to really spend a few good months figuring out where to go. I’ve had to switch salons more than I’d like to here in Denver and for myself and my clientele, I really wanted to find a home that felt comfortable, luxurious and that would allow me the opportunity to take advantage of education opportunities as much as possible. I’m so happy that after a couple months of searching, I found that in The Oxford. This week was my first week behind the chair there and I’ve been so happy with my new salon home. It’s an environment that is supportive, encouraging and warm and I genuinely admire the talented stylists that I’m working with. And being that The Oxford itself has a longstanding reputation as a high-end and professional establishment as well as one that takes customer service and attention to detail to a new level, I’m really enjoying being in the kind of environment I’ve always tried to create. The big difference is that now, I have an amazing company to support me in my mission to give my clients the total experience.



I’m currently at The Oxford on Sunday-Wednesday and you can book any appointments with me there by contacting our wonderful front desk team at 303.628.5435. So far, the clients who have come to see me this week have already loved taking advantage of the discounted valet parking for their services and the complimentary access to the eucalyptus steam room, fitness center and yoga studio. Oh, and of course, the beautiful view from my chair!

More Future Goals

Now that this season of transition is winding down to a close, I will just be working on settling into my new roles and enjoying my continued role at Hello Giggles. I will be continuing to build my clientele now that my availability has opened up a bit and becoming more acquainted with the staff at The Oxford. I also have quite a few classes lined up for the next couple months, so I will be busy with my pursuit of knowledge and in particularly, my skill set when it comes to styling and balayage. I will begin teaching all about Kevin.Murphy and settling into that role and hopefully improving day by day. And of course, I will be focusing on creating content for and finally launching the new and absolutely amazing website that I’ve been planning and putting together since the summer. Oh, and re-doing my vision boards because my 2014 boards are almost completely accomplished!!

Thank you for your continued support of my mission to bring beautiful hair, a dose of confidence and a positive outlook to all the women I meet in my chair or on this site. Your emails and notes of gratitude and appreciation mean the world to me and I love knowing that I can help you feel as beautiful as I know you are! :)



Ask Kate: The Stylist Is In

Every week, I’m the excited recipient of tons of emails from curious women wanting to know more about their hair, how to handle a recent salon disaster or just general questions about what I’ve written on or this site. I love being able to share with you all my best tips and expert advice on all things hair and I really value being in touch with all of you who write in! Because of the constraints on my time, I haven’t been very good at keeping up lately and because I regularly get repeat questions as well, I am going to start chronicling all the emailed questions I receive here for you all to see. I’ve made each question anonymous and edited some of them down so that you get the general idea of what’s going on. Thank you, thank you to all of you who trust me to give you detailed, professional advice and make sure to keep them coming in! Email to submit your questions for next month’s #AskKate and as always, thank you for being a loyal reader of this little corner of the interwebs where we try to make you look and feel your best everyday! Enjoy! :)

**Though I am a professional in the field, I know that every head of hair is different and takes differently to color or various processes due to anything from hormones to medications to climate. Please know that when reading through these answers, it’s always best to consult with a hairdresser who can see and feel your hair if you can before trying any at-home chemical processes!


Hi Kate, I read your article about hair color and absolutely loved it, how true that is. My question is, why do hairdressers not rinse out the color well when they’re washing it? I always have stains all around my face and ears, even after she puts on jelly….and this is not just my hairdresser! It’s been all hairdressers I’ve gone to for 25 years. I go to good salons: I have no problem paying whatever it costs. I asked once and my hairdresser said “You should never have color still on your hair when you leave.” But it still continues… so, I’m asking you if it’s something they do so the color will keep taking?? Is it an inside thing with hairdressers?? I’m at a loss at this point and just hoped you could help me understand…. Thank you for your time!”


I actually learned all about this when I was in beauty school from a really knowledgeable educator. I had the dreaded scalp stains on a lot of clients (even after I tried using stain remover that the beauty supply sells) and I COULD NOT figure out how to fix the problem! I obviously knew I didn’t want clients walking out with stains, but I was trying all of the professional tools (like the jelly you mentioned) to try and guard from stains as well as take care of them after they took place and nothing worked. Especially for certain clients with darker hair color and porous skin. Then one day at the shampoo bowl, I was dealing with the same situation and my educator came up behind me before I put any water on my client’s head and started vigorously rubbing leftover hair color from my client’s hair onto her scalp’s stains. I was horrified because it looked like she was just rubbing more stains onto her hairline!!

But after just a couple seconds of rubbing out the color, the stains started pulling off her scalp. I had literally never seen anything like it and I could not believe it was working… what a ridiculous, simple solution. My educator just looked at me, smiled, said “color removes color, Kate” and walked away. From that day on I’ve done that on every single client and it’s worked on almost everyone. And even the clients it doesn’t work fully on, it takes out 90% of the stains and the rest scrubs off with the next shampoo. The only thing to remember when it comes to this is to do it before you put any water on the head because the water will help set the stain in deeper.

I would let your hairdresser know you read about this cool trick and suggest to her that maybe it would help take off your color stains? If she seems really reluctant to try it out and scared of the idea, put a glove on your hand and do it yourself before she takes you back to the shampoo bowl. I know it seems silly to do this yourself, but sometimes when a stylist is scared of something like this, it’s a liability thing. If she’s still reluctant, have her Google it. Plenty of hairstylists know this trick and I’m sure she could read that on some threads on professional, cosmetology sites.

From your question, it sounds like you might also be asking about whether the color is fully rinsed out of the hair when you leave. If that is also a problem as well as the staining effect you’re having around your ears and scalp, then it’s a big problem you should address in the salon. Especially if the girl you’re seeing has already done this in the past, after she finishes washing your hair at the shampoo bowl, sit up and literally feel around your nape to check if you feel color. I’ve gone through this when I’ve changed salons and had to adjust to new bowls that dip differently around the neck, but I always double check before we leave the shampoo area to make sure I’ve gotten all of the color rinsed out. If you still feel color, politely ask her to rinse you again until all the color is out. When I started at a new salon last year, I made the mistake of not getting all the color rinsed out on the neck and my client asked to double-check because she still felt some. I was embarrassed that I hadn’t caught it, but I can guarantee you that if I had when I went to comb her hair out and start our cut, I would have escorted her back to the shampoo bowl and we would have rinsed it out before continuing. It’s perfectly fine to ask for that and in fact, you should demand that kind of basic service.

Good luck with these tips and be sure to let me know how it works!! :)


Dear Kate, If I could make it to your salon I would. But I guess I can only hope to get your advice. My hair growing up had always straddled the line between blonde and brunette and was generally pretty cool toned for the most part. About a year and a half ago, I decided to go very light (almost platinum), cool toned blonde with all over highlighting. I was satisfied with the color for a while but about five months later I decided on going darker. I asked my hairstylist for a cool medium brown, specifying that I wanted no red tones whatsoever, and at the end of the appointment, my hair was full-on red. I panicked and went to Sally’s beauty supply and used color stripper packets to remove some of it. Over the next few months I tried a couple box dyes to get rid of the red-brown that I was left with, but to no avail. In July of this year, I went to a different salon and asked for a medium neutral brown and was pretty pleased with the results, but the red underneath seemed to take over, and when my hair is in the sun, it still look like a redhead. The first salon attempt at going darker was supposed to slowly fade over time, but the box dyes and the second salon attempt were both permanent, so I can’t figure out what to do! Right now I want to go a really dark brown (about a three or four according to your chart) and I want the undertone to be completely cool, with no red or orange whatsoever. Is there a certain process or set of processes that you think will get me to what I want without fading back to red? Thank you so much, your website has been such a help to me thus far.


Unfortunately, I get emails about this problem all the time! It’s such a bummer when you have so much red in your hair and all you want is a more natural, cool tone. I’ve certainly been there myself as well on the client side of things and I know how frustrating the process is!

It sounds to me that the problem of the red you are seeing hasn’t actually been taken care of yet and that’s why you keep seeing it shine through and pop back up when your color starts to fade. Red pigment has the largest molecules of any color and because of that, it takes a lot of neutralizing to work it out of the hair strand and replace your pigment with your desired color.

Now, there’s a difference between “neutralizing” your red and using a “neutral” color on your red-toned hair. Adding a neutral color to your hair is what you’ve done so far and you see how that has worked out. That’s because when you see a color bottle that says “Neutral Brown”, that color has a little bit of every pigment on the color spectrum. That’s what makes it a true “neutral”. That means it has some coolness and also some warmth. The coolness might work for a hot minute to make your hair look like it doesn’t have warmth, but as soon as that fades out (and because of it’s smaller molecules, it will be the first to fade out), the warm pigment is back and your hair looks more red again. This can also give you the false sense that the warmth has been taken care of, but really it’s just a temporary solution.

Neutralizing your red, however, means to use cool tones on the opposite side of the spectrum to make your red a cooler or neutral tone, depending on where you really want to be. In order to get back to either of these, you literally have to do an all over color of blue or green (depending on if your red is more “true red” or “orange-red”) to counteract the pigment you currently have. I know this can seem like a really scary prospect and that’s why you probably haven’t seen a stylist ballsy enough to do it. But I can guarantee you that unless you use that red’s opposite color to work it out over time, you will always had that red shining through.

Unfortunately, at this point, I’m not sure how much has built up on your hair with the box color that you did, so you might have to see a professional for a double process. This means because there is so much built up of that darker, red color, you might have to completely strip it out to start again. For that kind of opinion, I’d have to see and touch your hair to know what to do. But if you are a bit scared to potentially waste your money on another failed salon attempt, I would start by getting a demi-permanent green color and leave that on your hair for about 10-15 minutes. Watch that for 2-3 weeks and if that seems to be neutralizing your red, then keep doing that process every 5-6 weeks. With some luck, this will take care of your problem and you won’t have to strip out that color underneath again. I would also get a good clarifying shampoo, which can help open your hair strand and work out deep build up and I would wash your hair with that before each time you use your cool demi-permanent. And when you finishing rinsing out your color at the very end, run some cool water through your ends to seal up your cuticle and keep that color in longer.

Without seeing your hair and knowing what I’ve seen in the salon over the years and on my own hair, this is the best way that I think you should approach this dilemma. I hope this helps you out a lot and good luck, friend!! :)


Hi Kate, I’ve just read your blog on HelloGiggles and it was extremely helpful! I’ve been searching for answers on how to avoid pulling red/orange for years. I often use Ion Color Creme from Sally Beauty when I color my own hair and I’m looking to achieve a medium brown that won’t be brassy. My hair is naturally a light ash brown but it has a few layers of coloring from my hairdresser (mostly warm browns, once we did ombre). Last night, I tried a mixture of 4A and 5A from Sally’s, both ash browns, and my hair still seems to pull orangey undertones. I’m wondering if you know of any products I could get from a store like Sally Beauty that would incorporate green undertones? Thanks so much!


It sounds like you know your stuff when it comes to color theory, but I’m so glad I can help you further! While I don’t know the brands and colors available at Sally’s, I do know that if you are still pulling mostly orange, then the green undertones won’t do much for you besides create a muddier, flatter color. My guess is that the “Ash” colors you tried were more on the purple side than the blue side and that’s why they aren’t totally helping with the orange that’s left shining through.

Since I’m not familiar with the colors at Sally’s, I’m not sure what to recommend. But I know that if you are pulling more of a true orange, brassy color, you’ll need to use a blue toned demi-permanent color to counteract that and get you back to a neutral. Instead of looking for an “Ash” color that can possibly be any combination of green, blue or purple, look for a color that says “Blue”. Just like with the last answer, I know this can sound really scary to just put over your head, but leave it on for only 10-15 minutes, especially the first time. Or better yet, head to a salon and tell them you need a blue demi to counteract the orange you are still seeing in your hair and they will have plenty of strong options for that.

I hope this helps you out and thanks for writing in! Let me know what you decide to do and I can’t wait to hear about the results! :)


Hi Kate! I’m a HelloGiggles reader and I love your hair articles! I always have trouble with my hair because, well, there’s a lot of it and I can’t really do anything with it so I like seeking solutions.

I was wondering if you know Toni&Guy products? They recently started selling them at my local store and they’re a bit pricey for my range (I’m used to buying regular market brands), but I’m thinking of giving them a try because they’re sold as salon products, which I know you generally recommend. Are they worth it? I hate buying whole bottles of products I don’t know just to try them and see they’re not for me…

Thanks in advance!!


Thanks so much for the HG love, friend! I actually have never used a Toni&Guy product, which is so crazy, but the brand has a tremendous reputation in the salon world for being edgy yet professional and upscale. So I know that with this brand, you are most likely in great hands using their products. Even one of my fave hairdressers (Tabatha Coffey from Tabatha Takes Over) is a former educator with them and loved her time with the brand.

The one thing that I would advise you to do is pull up the Toni&Guy website and try to find one of their salons near you to get your product from them. There are a couple reasons why I would suggest that. The first is that usually in the grocery store, the products are a bit higher of a cost than you would get at a salon because you’re basically paying for convenience. And the second is that in a Toni&Guy specific salon, you can sit down for a complimentary consultation with a hairdresser who knows the line well, can look at and feel your hair and recommend the perfect shampoo and conditioner in the line for you. If you look at those pretty little bottles, they say on the back that they’re “only guaranteed when sold in a professional salon”. I still haven’t figured out how grocery store chains and department stores are able to sell these products outside of a salon (some manufacturers like Kevin Murphy take great pains to make sure their products only go through a salon), but I know that if you buy something through a salon and don’t love it, they can usually take it back without any kind of penalty and exchange it for something different. And they can do another consultation with you and help you find something perfect!

I hope this advice helps you out and good luck!


Good evening Ms. Kate. I have a one year old son who I’m still breastfeeding. I’ve read your post on hello giggles. I would like to ask if it’s okay for me to undergo hair re-bonding while still breastfeeding? I’m worried my son would ingest the chemicals used during the treatment. I’ve never tried this before and I’d appreciate your advice. All I’ve gone through previously was getting a hair relaxing treatment twice, 2005 and 2010, with an accidental mahogany shade/color during cellophane treatment on 2010. Also, my hair is dry and brittle and some strands fall whenever I brush it, especially while taking a bath.Thank you very much, more power and God bless you. :)


Hey, friend! Thank you so much for writing in with this question! It sounds like you are very proactive with making sure your son is taken care of and healthy and that is completely admirable!  First things first, when it comes to what you can pass through to your child through breastfeeding, I would always check with a doctor before doing. I have done re-bonding treatments since I learned how to in beauty school and I’ve seen various results depending on any medication the client is on and the hair type on which I’m performing. From what I’ve seen, any serious change in the amount of hormones you are or aren’t producing can really change the outcome of the treatment. As a hairdresser, I’d be concerned about this treatment not taking fully or doing something unpredictable just because of your body acting a bit differently while you’re still breastfeeding. Because of that, I just wouldn’t want you to waste your time and money on a treatment that might not take and do what you have paid for it to do.

What I would suggest is to check with your doctor first and verify that this is something you can in fact do. You can even just call and speak with a medical assistant or nurse in the doctor’s office if you need a quicker answer. Then, if they agree it won’t be harmful, I would do a “strand test” with a certified hairdresser to make sure it will take as you’d like it to. This just means your hairdresser will take a small section in the back of your hair and apply the treatment, let it process and determine whether the outcome is suitable or not. This way, you know whether it will be worth it to go ahead and do the whole head. Because you’ve said your hair is already in a brittle state (and I’ve seen this kind of treatment break hair off if left on too long), that would definitely be the best way to go! Good luck with pursuing this treatment and congratulations on your little guy!! :)


Hi Kate,
Loved your article and was wondering if you could help me pick what shampoo & conditioner without chemicals is good for fine hair that’s been previously colored. I’d greatly appreciate your response!


Great question and definitely one that I get all the time! I would like to first make the point that very, very few shampoos are made without chemicals. I know some women choose to make their own concoctions and at home and you can find plenty of resources on HelloGiggles that can teach you how to do that if having a chemical-free shampoo is of utmost importance to you!

However, if you are more interested in finding a shampoo and conditioner that is as eco-friendly and harmless as possible, but still works wonders for your hair (which I find the organic options often don’t), then I would steer you to Kevin Murphy’s Angel Wash & Rinse. Kevin Murphy as a brand only creates products with ingredients that have been micro-cultivated through very sustainable practices. Their products are full of antioxidants and essential oils which help deliver nutrients and vitamins to your hair and scalp and they are also certified by PETA as a cruelty-free company. And of course, they are completely sulfate and paraben-free, so I think this line would really give you what you are looking for. Angel Wash & Rinse in particular is great for your hair type because it has hydrolyzed oat proteins that plump and thicken fine hair and green tea leaf extract that helps strengthen damaged or colored hair. This is actually the shampoo that I’ve been using at home in my shower for the past few months and I’m loving how soft and thick my hair is feeling. I think you’d love this one for your hair, too! :)


Hello! I saw your article on hair color on hello giggles. I have just one question and I really hope you can answer since I really don’t know what to do..

I had very dark brown hair (nearly black) my natural color, I went to the hair colorist and I wanted a light orange-blond. I was totally ok to dye it if necessary since I know my color is very dark, but the hairdresser didn’t think it was necessary. But now I have brown-red hair!! He acknowledged that he did it wrong and I will have another color free. Now I just want to have a light brown or dark blond.

question: I think I need to dye now but can I get rid of the red by dying?

Thank you so much for your attention. I wish you a good day!!! :)


Hey, what a great question! I’m so sorry you had to go through that unfortunate situation to get to what you are wanting, but I’m very glad you spoke your mind and were able to come to a solution with your hairstylist! I always say that a hairdresser needs to be held accountable if they mess up and it can be a learning opportunity for them and you!

For your hair color, you can read the previous answers I gave to get to the bottom of the chemistry of red in hair. I would advise you to take a look at those answers as well as this segment of 10 Commandments of Hair Color to really understand why red becomes so apparent in certain hair colors and why it’s so difficult to get rid of! And once you’ve gotten that and can move on to figure out the solution to your unique issue, catch up with me here!

In your case, since there was only one poor color job that exposed a harsh red you didn’t want, you have some good options. Now, here’s where the trickiness comes into play… since you started with “virgin” natural hair and got a result you didn’t want, you should just have your stylist perform a “soap cap” or a color remover to get that previous application out and start with your natural base again. I know it sounds taxing, but it’s an easy process that can make your future with color much smoother. If you don’t go this route and just neutralize it, you might end up with a few different applications over a few different appointments to neutralize and that sounds like much more work than you want.

This “soap cap” option is something your stylist does to either pull color out that has recently been placed or it can be used to bump your level of color up by a shade quickly and easily. It’s a mixture that your stylist makes of lightener, developer and shampoo and though it sounds a bit scary, it’s a gentle mixture with the shampoo buffering. Your stylist will put this on and leave it for a just a few minutes until that red has been pulled out as much as possible. Then, they can simply deposit the color you were looking to do: a dark blonde or light brown. And once that color is deposited, you should only really need touch ups to keep your new growth covered and maintained. I would recommend doing this rather than neutralizing out the red because it will save you time and maintenance, you have only one layer of red in your hair so it can be lifted out easily with minimal damage and because you have a chance for the stylist to do this right complimentary, you should go with the most effective option.

I really hope that answer helps you out and make sure to let me know if you need any further help!


Hi Kate, So I found your blog this morning while looking for ways to fix my hair! I would really appreciate your advice… I have naturally brown hair but have box dyed my hair a mix of colours for about 5 years. In the last year I have stuck to a strawberry blonde colour that has lightened my hair slightly more every time. I tried a different colour last night that has turned my hair horribley bright red and slightly patchy! What would you recommend to get it back to my strawberry blonde colour? Or is it a case of go back to my natural colour? I really need to try and fix it ASAP as I have a few work meetings coming up (including tomorrow) and am working until 9 tonight so unable to go to a stylist!Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you soon!


I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to get to your question in time for your meetings, but I hope this answer will still help you nonetheless! :) First, I just have a general rule of thumb that any crazy color your hair ends up being can be hidden best in a chic, smooth topknot until it can be changed. I know that isn’t a permanent solution, but I’ve had to do that on myself in between color treatments and I find that it helps me still look polished for meetings and such even when my color is a bit “out there”.

When it comes to your color, though, there are a few things going on. First, you have five years of build up under your current hair color, so you have to understand that every time you change your color, you are also working with every pigment that has been on your hair since you began coloring. Obviously some of it has grown out, but all of that permanent color is still underneath and needs to be taken into consideration when making a change. Second, doing that much box color over five years time (because it has much harsher chemicals than salon color) can really cause a drastic change in the porosity of your hair. Porosity is just your hair’s ability to hold water or moisture and your lack of porosity is what you’re seeing when you see those patches. My best guess as to why this happened (without knowing your hair or what exact color you used) is that you used a color that had some redness to it, but because your hair was already lighter than normal and very porous from the box colors, it took to the red very dramatically.

Unfortunately when your hair is in that state, it will do things like this without you knowing it will happen! For a temporary solution (if you are over dealing with the box colors and redness), I would just do an overall darker color that can cover up what you have going on and leave you presentable for future commitments you have going on. However, for a longer term fix, I would probably see a stylist. They can do a few things depending on what you want your overall outcome to be. I would recommend them doing some heavy balayage highlights to begin lifting out those box colors you’ve been using and doing a demi-permanent darker color in between the highlights. This will cover up the red in between re-touches and slowly begin to lift the hair up to your desired strawberry blonde color in the meantime. Then when that color is lifted out of your hair, you’ll be left with your lighter strawberry blonde and you can pretty much take your hair anywhere from that point. And the other major thing I would recommend longer term is getting onto a treatment regimen so that your hair is in optimal condition. This will make it shinier, healthier, bouncier and way less prone to dryness and breakage. Your stylist can recommend something for your specific hair type, but definitely make sure to get on some kind of deep conditioner or masque treatment to start bringing your hair back to a great place. I hope that helps you out and again, I hope those meetings weren’t too scary with your red hair! Confidence can go a long way in situations like that, my friend and I hope you ROCKED it! ;)

Remember to get your questions in now if you would like your question submitted and answered for next month’s #AskKate! You can submit through email or use the hashtag #AskKate on Twitter! Thank you for tuning in this month and I can’t wait to bring you even more fun facts in November! :)

The 5 Keys To The Perfect Haircut

The perfect haircut for me!

The perfect haircut for me!

If you feel like you’ve never had a haircut you love, there are probably a few reasons as to why. It can come down to not knowing what is best for your face shape or texture or simply not having seen a hairdresser that can guide you in the right direction. Whatever the reason, it totally breaks my heart when I see someone in my chair who tells me how much they hate their hair. And fortunately, that’s where my job comes in… to help every client I see love, embrace and own their hair. To show them that finding their best look might take a minute and we’ve all had some battle stories to prove it, but by following a few easy tips, you can find the perfect haircut for you. This is how:

1. Embrace Your Texture: When you are realistic about what you’re working with, a whole new world of options and opportunities can open up for you. Besides the fact that it’s just a much more positive outlook to work with what you have everyday instead of fighting and struggling, it’s also amazing how you can come to really love your hair by embracing it’s natural state. It can be really helpful in this case to look through photos of women who’s hair looks like your own and study how their layers look, whether they wear more blunt or textured looks and the variations in how they style it. If your hair is coarse and curly, it can be really freeing to embrace a longer haircut with longer layers that have just enough weight to pull out frizz, but not too much weight that pulls out all of the curl. Or if you have fine, straight hair, it can be really freeing to embrace a long bob that adds body and movement to your limp locks with blunt ends that add weight and thickness. If you still aren’t sure what will work best for your specific hair type, this is where your consultation with your hairdresser can come in.

2. Know Your Face Shape: Choosing a haircut that matches and accentuates your face shape is really crucial when it comes to the perfect haircut. If you’ve never had a haircut you love, this is probably the reason why. This is the reason why women like Jennifer Aniston and Lauren Conrad never seem to switch up their signature styles… because they know what flatters them the most around their face and they stick with it. Jennifer, for example, has a pear face shape where the jaw line is wider than the forehead so to balance, she always wears a face frame around her jaw line. To find your face shape, hold all the hair back off your face and take a look at your facial structure. What is the widest point? Is your chin longer than your forehead? Does everything seem to be in perfect balance, making you an oval face shape? Take the time to really study your face (as awkward as it might be to stare at yourself in the mirror) and then read up on what the best cuts are for each. When you book your appointment with your hairdresser, make sure to clarify with her in order to achieve the perfect haircut. Check out this post on HelloGiggles for more info on how to find your face shape.

3. Keep In Mind Your Maintenance Level: This is the one that everybody forgets about. Those bangs sounded like a super fun idea until two weeks later when you realize you just really hate having to style them every morning. Or consider your place of business. Do you have to wear a ponytail everyday? Or are you at home with a young child everyday who likes to tug on your long layers? Unfortunately, every haircut is completely different when it comes to maintenance levels based on your texture. What takes five minutes for someone with curly hair can take someone with straight hair twenty minutes and vice versa, so it’s really important to consider how you want your every day to look. Think about your job, how much you tend to play with your hair, what products you want to use and how many, what kind of heat tools you’re open to using and how much time you want to commit.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something New: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a woman with a round face shape sit in my chair and say, “I know I can’t wear a short hairstyle because it will make me look even more round….” Or a curl client who says, “I don’t want layers because I NEED that weight on my length…” It always makes me sad that for who knows how long, that client has not been able to find the best haircut for them because they’ve been closed off to some of the best things they can do for their hair. Part of this is just research and trusting your hairdresser that they know what it takes to make your haircut work. But another big part of it is you truly being open to trying something new. Acknowledging that if nothing else has worked in the past, it might be best to try something you’ve been afraid of. I can promise you that pixie, if it’s shaped correctly around your round face shape can actually slim you. And by adding some layers to that curl, you will actually get rid of that “triangle” shape that your hair always seems to grow into. Sometimes the key to finding the best haircut is not being afraid to take a risk.

5. Detailing, Personalizing & Finishing: My favorite part in the whole process! In an average haircut, I spend about 30% of my time doing my finishing techniques once the haircut has been dried and styled. I do this because it takes a generic, step by step haircut to a detailed, perfect haircut that lays exactly as it should, goes right back to where it should after being shaken out and falls into place without much styling. This last crucial step to a haircut is what can take weight out of certain areas and add texture to certain areas that want to be “piece-y”. Sometimes the difference between a good cut and a perfect haircut is just a simple re-distribution of weight or texture and all of that is done with some personalization and finishing.

Now, I need your feedback! Does your hairdresser follow these steps or ask you about your maintenance levels or past haircuts? Or are you one of those women who would tell me they’ve never had a cut they loved? I want to hear from you about your experiences, so be sure to tweet me @HairWithKate! 

The Crown Braid (For Shorties) #WhatIWoreWednesday

The Braid Crown (For Shorties)

Check out another #WhatIWoreWednesday over on my Youtube page! This week, I’m showing you video from the morning last month where I had to catch a 7AM flight out of Denver. I thought it would be fun to give you an easy, quick way to throw up your hair into a Crown Braid, no matter what your hair length or type is. I love this look because you can be done in just a few minutes, have an adorably trendy hairstyle all day long and on day two, take your braids out and enjoy wavy tresses for a day. Who doesn’t love a style that can turn into a second day style?!

Enjoy the video and be sure to send any feedback or questions you have my way!

Image: Julianne Brasher

PPD: The Dangerous Hair Color Chemical You Must Know About

I have seen a trend behind my chair in recent years that has caused me to study a common chemical in hair color. As a hairdresser of six years, I’ve done my fair share of coloring and highlighting and rarely have I seen a reaction. Usually if something doesn’t go as planned, it’s due to increased hormones from pregnancy or a change in medication and any problems can be traced back to that by the doctor… and those problems have really been about color not taking or taking in a different color than it should. But recently, I know a few people (none of whom I’ve seen in my chair) who have developed severe reactions after using hair color. Those reactions resulted in redness, inflammation, itching and burning on the scalp, fever and in one case, a scary trip to the ER. All cases ended with a diagnosis of allergy and the harsh realization that suddenly, gray would be the way to go. No more hair color for the rest of their lives, they’ve been told.

The culprit? PPD or paraphenylenediamine, an ingredient in permanent hair color. It’s an essential and active ingredient as its main function is providing the permanent state of the color. Every other possible color available either fades over time or rinses out slowly with each shampoo, simply just coating or only slightly penetrating the cuticle of the hair strand. Whereas permanent hair color actually penetrates the innermost layers to permanently stain the entire hair strand, which is the most attractive reason to go for the harsher, more damaging color choice. It’s basically essential for anyone with gray hair or for changing your color level by more than a few shades without having it wash out in a week, if it takes at all.

PPD is also common in black henna dye, giving the dark paint its deep pigment. Though the henna color is not mixed with a developer (which can enhance reactions in hair color), it can still cause a reaction from the amounts of PPD in it.

The scary thing about this allergy is that it can just happen out of nowhere. It can develop after several years of coloring your hair on-scalp problem free. Because of this, it’s crucial to pay attention to your body when you’re at the salon and directly after. There’s no reason to get paranoid for every trip to your hairdresser because thankfully, seeking treatment early can easily and quickly eliminate any risk. However, don’t ignore any warning signs and if you feel any itchiness or tightness while color is processing or directly after you leave the salon, consult a doctor right away. I’ve had a couple clients over the years who have complained of itchiness while their color is on (one of which I rinsed off immediately because she was quite nervous), but even then, the itchiness is usually mild and only a discomfort. Because it’s not painful, most women would rather just deal with some itchiness than not have their color done. But it’s not just that; it’s also a warning sign of a major allergic reaction that could really do some damage to your body.

During an outbreak, swelling of the head will occur, which usually starts with a feeling of tightness on the scalp. Usually, there will also be lots of redness directly where all the color was applied. Once the allergy has developed further, fever, headache and just a general aching are common. The worst case of this I’ve heard of was from a woman who let her symptoms go for a few days and ended up in the hospital. While this allergy can become severe and require more maintenance to treat if it goes for too long, it rarely is if you listen to your body and contact your doctor as soon as things don’t feel right.

The best way to help prevent an allergic reaction is to be safe with your hair color choices. The first rule of that is to only receive your color treatments from a professional salon and/or stylist. Box colors from the grocery store (even if bought at Whole Foods and labeled as “natural”) are much harsher and higher in this ingredient than salon professional color lines. And because demi-permanent color lines are usually PPD-free or very low in PPD, your stylist can transition you into one of those color choices very safely and efficiently. It’s also important to stay away from black henna dyes, whether used on your hands or with hair color. Most women assume that once they can’t use permanent color anymore, henna is the next best option. But with black henna (as opposed to pure henna), you have PPD in the actual dye, so it’s just as bad. If you do want to try that option, be 100% sure the henna is pure. I also just believe that being in the salon at the time of coloring is safer because your hairdresser can watch your scalp and head as you process and determine any necessary steps. Your hairdresser is also trained in how and when to do a “patch test” before applying any color and can perform this on you and watch your skin for the next two days to see if there is in fact a reaction or if it’s safe to proceed. Part of our job is to take care of you and follow up with any concerns, so I know when I even hear about itchiness or if I see a lot of redness, I can take your color off, soothe your scalp and send you to a recommended doctor to be seen.

Another great option for women with PPD allergies is to transition to highlights. Because the color doesn’t sit directly on the scalp and the toners are very low in PPD (should they need to sit on the head for a few minutes to eliminate brassiness), this is by far the safest choice. I know for women who have lots of gray, it can be really scary to think about moving to just highlights. However, if you are 60% gray or less, it’s actually fairly easy to cover most of the gray with highlights and tone out the rest so that it blends really naturally. I suggest this option to all women who want to step away from on-scalp color whatever the reason.

In today’s world, we own almost every part of our lives. And I’m making the claim that your hair, your health and your beauty are also worthy of being owned, understood and taken care of. Share this information with a friend and mention it to your hairdresser. The more women who understand the serious risk that can arise from something that most women do on a regular basis, the better we all will be.

Have you had a negative reaction from hair color? Have you tried other options that have worked? Email me {} your feedback and questions because I would love to hear from you!


Fall Trend Report | 2014

It’s that time of year again! We’ve been wearing cut off shorts and throwing our hair up in ponytails all summer long and now with the calendar turning to August, fall is around the corner. With the new season comes promises of leaves turning orange, legs covering up in tights and longer nights snuggling up by the fire. And if you’re a beauty and fashion junkie like myself, it brings a whole new season of trends to explore, hairstyles to try out and runways and fashion spreads to pine over.

I get asked by clients, readers and friends alike each season about what is on the runways and how they can translate these looks into their everyday lives. This season, I’ve been researching and studying my little heart out to know everything I need to know about the fall trends before fall even gets here. I thrive on knowing what’s going on in Europe before Katy Perry or Rihanna have even jumped into a certain style and I love being the first in my city to cop a trend and pull it off boldly. I love studying Vogue and Elle and watching how these trends have already started becoming staples of our summer style and I certainly love giving all of that information to people I love! So this season, I’m taking that passion and using it to answer your questions before you even know what to ask!

This is your full, comprehensive Fall Trend Report for 2014. I’ve profiled the three most popular trends that I’ve seen on runways and in fashion magazines from Europe, Australia and beyond. I’ve broken each one down complete with images and a mood board for inspiration to help you truly understand each concept and be able to style for it yourself. And of course, the whole point of this all is really the hair! In light of that, I’ve spent a lot of time spelling out exactly how each trend incorporates texture, shape and angles of haircuts and styles and I also spotlight what each trend is open to when it comes to color. I think each of us can go from one trend to the next (sometimes even within the same day), but I felt that it was important for you to understand why the hair is the way it is in each category in terms of balance and proportions with the entire look.

Without further adieu, take a look at your new fave styles and learn all about taking them from catwalk to sidewalk in your fab city!

Trend Inspiration: Girly Grunge

GIRLY GRUNGE | Fall Trend Report 2014 |

Images via:,

Grunge is really just getting started as a major theme in fashion and style, especially here in North America. And the trend this fall is to not only embrace the leather, plaid and bright hair color, but to mix it with some girlish accents for a complete, balanced look. If you look at Katy Perry with her green ombre, she’s paired it with loose waves and a floral, fitted dress for a more modern and feminine take on the trend. And Olivia Palermo, always the chic sophisticate, simply wears a black dress and minimal makeup to match her grunge inspired angled bob. I think you get a great feel for what this trend really looks like from the mood board below. Take a look at the inspirations and the many ways women have rocked the trend this year:


Images Via Pinterest

When it comes to hair, which is what we are obviously all about, there are a few major themes. We’ve seen them on runways in Paris and Milan and on celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez, but there are multitude of ways to make these styles your own. Like Selena Gomez, I tend to love the more “futuristic” side of this girly grunge style and I like to opt for a sleek, straight hairstyle paired with a simple black leather dress. Kylie Jenner (and some ladies I know here in Denver) would go for something more fun and playful, like her blue ombre worn very textured with cut off shorts and an over-sized band tee. The key here is to take the trend, understand it and wear it in a way that suits you and makes you feel comfortable!

The most popular hairstyle for this trend is by far the blunt, mid-length cut. Most women are opting to wear it slightly angled towards the face and in a more straight texture, but I’ve also seen it worn one-length and more bold with waves. However, it is important to note that the focus is on natural texture. Whether your hair is straight, wavy or naturally curly, the key is to embrace that texture and wear it in a mid-length style. With color, pastels and bright pallets are huge. Both are worn best either in a subtle ombre or all over, but should not look grown out or sloppy. The modern update on this trend is that it should look “effortlessly cool”, so a bold color is perfect, but it has to be done tactfully to still be feminine and sophisticated. This is also why balayage or ombre is a natural fit for this trend because it is ultra chic, but very low maintenance, very much like our girly grunge trendsetter!

Trend Inspiration: Modern Minimalist



Modern Minimalist is probably my personal favorite trend. It was huge in the spring and it’s getting even bigger this fall with couture houses like Narciso Rodriguez and Michael Kors proudly sending structured, neutral looks down the runway. I always think of Kim Kardashian rocking this trend because she seems to be the queen of slicked back, wet hair and form fitting minimalist dresses in various creams and beige colors. In the featured images above, Rihanna perfectly displays this trend with a sleek, white dress, a bold red lip and a textured pixie. The pixie was the hottest hairstyle of the 90′s and with this trend (and Rihanna pulling it off flawlessly), it’s only begun coming back this year. I also love the bob photo because the clean lines and angles are exactly what this theme is about. Think of white space in a chic apartment or the angles of a very modern building and how everything looks so concise and open. The whole idea that less is more is the motto of our modern minimalist girl. Take a look at the mood board below to see visually how this theme translates to all of fashion:

Images Via Pinterest

Images Via Pinterest

The hair is really the crowning piece for this trend and sets the tone because it is so different from everything else we will see this fall. The name of the game is understated structure and elegant, sleek styles. Everything should be a bit more severe and that’s why you’ll often see these hairstyles paired with a red lip or a form-fitting dress to add femininity. Women who tend to sway towards this trend can go for short, medium or long, but the pixie is definitely the most true minimalist style. And the way women like Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence are wearing it with natural texture is perfectly chic and modern. And for a true minimalist, it’s also less maintenance! With longer and mid-length styles, a heavy, blunt fringe is the coolest. It can add to a more textured look if you are in the middle of growing out some layers and in any case, it looks just oh-so-couture.

In hairstyles that are long enough, a slicked back wet look is so effortlessly beautiful. This look has been all over the runways and all the celebrities have tried it, so you don’t have to worry about being the first person on this side of the pond to rock it. I tend to like being the first to wear something, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea! :) And also with longer styles, a very clean part line is crucial. A deep side part has been more popular on the runways than a middle part (and a lot of us were wearing middle parts with our long waves in recent years), so it can be fun to mix it up a bit. But as long as it’s clean, straight and sleek, you’ll be fine! When it comes to upstyles or formal looks, a classic French chignon reigns supreme. It’s usually very structured and elegantly simple when done correctly and is the perfect complement to a modern minimalist dress. The other huge style is a sleek ponytail either worn parted and low or worn brushed back from the hair line and completely smooth, placed over the crown or higher.

When thinking about hair color in this trend, most anything goes. Pastels, dark browns, platinum blondes, reds… Almost any color can complement the neutral tones of a modern minimalist look. The most important factor with hair color, though is that the colors are muted and not too bold and vibrant. The pastel pink on the mood board above is the perfect example. You can rock a red, but go a bit deeper with it and add some cool tones like a red-violet rather than a bright, bold fire engine red. And of course, a balayage is completely in style across the board for any trend. In this modern minimalist theme, a balayage would look so beautiful worn in a straight, sleek style.

Trend Inspiration: Urban Naturale



The Urban Naturale trend is definitely the most fun and one that I go to when I’m feeling a bit more like a free spirit. It’s kind of the idea that anything goes and bigger is better as long as it’s balanced, modern and still feminine and elegant. I think in the past animal prints and bright, tribal colors and patterns have been seen as completely bohemian and only women like Vanessa Hudgens would wear these overdone styles. No hate on Vanessa, but it’s always been more Coachella than office appropriate which can feel too youthful. But I am soooo loving the way designers are presenting this trend for the fall. It’s very much city meets nature and it’s inspired by cultures all across the world. I’ve seen bedazzled elephants and sari inspired dresses coming from Indian inspiration, bold tribal patterns and lots of earthy, safari inspired colors coming from African inspiration, deep greens and exotic birds coming from Amazonian inspiration and even exaggerated butterflies, trees and natural elements that could be inspired by English or American cultures. Any of these concepts paired with a sleek pair of heels or minimal makeup is the ultimate Urban Naturale look. Check out this mood board to see what else can inspire this look:

Images Via Pinterest

Images Via Pinterest

I notice with this trend that even the straight hair has a kind of “straight texture” to borrow a phrase from Kevin Murphy. There is no such thing as sleek and smooth in this trend and it really is all about letting out your inner exotic goddess, which I think we all have a little bit of. Cue “Roar” by Katy Perry on the speakers, right? :) But seriously, whether it be through just a whole lot of natural curl, some manufactured waves, braids or just straight texture, the bigger the better!

One thing that I really, really love about this trend is the amount of braids incorporated and how creatively they’ve been added to a style. There are also a lot of accessories added in for even more texture, movement and playful accents. I love how the braided faux-hawk in the photos above is a cool, modern braid with a leather accessory built in and ultimately used to tie the braid at the nape. Gone are the days of a braided headband being daring and different and now, it’s all about bolder and bigger. I also love the comeback of box braids, like the style Beyonce is wearing in this photo above. I remember being a young girl who hated her fine, stringy hair and when Clueless came out and Dionne wore those fabulous box braids, I literally prayed at night to wake up with hair like hers… I seriously just love this look! It’s effortless, it’s chic, it’s couture and it can be pulled up into really intricate upstyles for a different look. Remember Bey on her trip to Cuba and that awesome upstyle she wore? Love it!

I also love the way girls like me with fine, straight hair can get into this without braids. Of course, I can incorporate braids and that’s super fun when I have the time, but on a normal day, this trend simply calls for a bedhead look. Check out the model at the top left of the mood board. She’s wearing a classic middle part and it looks like the stylists just bent the hair slightly with a wand and roughed up the hair with some product to get natural texture. I don’t know about you, but I wake up like this most days, so I’m okay with this look being a signature! A little dry shampoo, a little finesse and you’re all set!

In terms of color, anything goes as long as it’s bold and dimensional. In the photo of the model with the large back-brushed curls, you can see that her color is actually a pretty standard medium brown, but it’s got so much depth and richness to it that when it hits the light, the vibrancy just shines. Beyonce’s color is flawless because it’s a generic blonde, but it’s very neutral toned and rich. You can even go to more of a red or purple or bold color choice as long as there is richness to it, tied to a brunette or blonde base. Just remember with this trend, more is always a good thing and the inspirations all come from various cultures and the most natural of elements. You really can’t go wrong as long as you keep that in mind!

I hope you guys have enjoyed this guide to fall 2014 style! I always love knowing what’s coming around the corner when it comes to clothing, makeup, hair and really anything beauty or fashion related. And I always love to share what I know and help you, my readers, clients and friends, stay up to date on all things modern and chic. Please let me know if you have any questions about how to rock any of these themes throughout the next season or just shoot me any feedback you may have! Can’t wait to watch how everything evolves through the spring and give you my next report then! :)  


Product Knowledge | Kevin Murphy Fresh.Hair

Kevin Murphy Fresh.HairThe first product from the Kevin Murphy line I fell in love with was Fresh.Hair. It’s a dry cleanser that can be used on any hair type and in pretty much any situation to refresh and revitalize dirty and limp locks. When I first learned the miracle of dry shampoo, I went on a mission to find the best. Before I found Fresh.Hair, I was using another line that seemed to work really well, but eventually, I was getting way too much buildup in my hair. It worked, but it wasn’t perfect. Some others were too greasy, too heavy or just simply didn’t work. And the worst were the ones that showed up white on my dark hair and never rubbed in enough to blend in! Ugh!

So when I tried Fresh.Hair, it seriously felt like a life-changing experience. I loathe getting up early and at the time, I needed to leave for work around 7 to 7:30 most mornings. My mid-length haircut was difficult to style day old without some extra help and I certainly wasn’t going to wash my hair every morning and style it completely wet to dry. I was becoming the queen of topknots and ballerina buns and really needed something that worked. Enter Fresh.Hair. Let me share with you the details on how and why you should try it out, too!

What it’s for: Originally created by Kevin after needing an easy way to turn over models hairstyles in between shoots, this product is most simply designed to refresh hair. In the real world of everyday at-home hairstyling, the purpose continues with using the powdered substance to soak up grease at the roots, add volume and rejuvenate your style after a long day of it possibly flattening or falling out. Simply put, it’s for giving you an extra day or evening of great, fresh hair.

How to use it: Spray in small sections at the root from about 6 inches away. After spraying it in, work it in with your fingers and you can even use a towel or cloth to rub out excess powder if needed. I also like to brush it through to distribute and make sure I cover everything!

Added benefits: With ingredients like burdock root extract, grapefruit extract and Chinese cinnamon leaf oil, this product not only refreshes, but it helps to repair and regulate your hair and scalp. It’s antioxidant rich, so it can promote hair growth and it regenerates the cells in each hair. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps balance sebum production. A great product is one that has many added benefits which help improve the hair while you use it and that’s exactly what this product does. And it’s water soluble, so you never have to worry about buildup!

Always remember: Shake that can before using! The ingredients can separate while sitting, so make sure to shake, shake, shake before spraying it onto your strands!

Price Point: $22-$27 depending on location

Where to find it: Any Kevin Murphy salon or hairdresser. In Denver? Contact me and I can get it to you! If you’re anywhere else, try this link of the website to find the closest distributor near you!

The Twist & Turn | Youtube Tutorial

The Twist & Turn #5MinutePinIt

#WhatIWoreWednesday is all about giving you practical, easy and simple hairstyles that you can recreate in just 5 minutes. Every look is something I’ve actually styled in the morning (as you can tell by my lack of makeup and hairstyling at the beginning), though I am filming these bits in advance to stay up on content. In every video, I come to you straight from my own bathroom and I show you what you need to use, I do the look on myself and I showcase photos of the finished result. I literally give myself 5 minutes to do the look and I start with morning hair so that you can be sure every look truly is as simple as they seem. For sneak peeks and teasers, I’m posting to my Facebook and Instagram, so head there if you want to get insider info on when each video launches!

Check out my very first #WhatIWoreWednesday full tutorial on Youtube now! 

The art of balayage, 3 ways. Kate Allen.

Balayage 3 Ways & A List Of Benefits

Balayage is SO BIG, you guys! And guess what? It’s not going anywhere! Sorry, haters but this trend is only gaining popularity in new groups of women who have been shy to try it out. For women who thought it was just a fad not worth spending money on, for those women who can no longer color their hair on-scalp and for those women who just realized they can get sun-kissed, naturally beautiful looking highlights that are also low maintenance… Well, for those ladies, it’s just begun!

My prediction is that by 2015, most of us are going to be on board with this practically magical technique. So I think you should take a couple of minutes now to learn all about why you should switch your highlight game to this gorgeous upgrade….because it looks great on every length!

Scroll through for balayage three ways: on a pixie, long bob and long layered hair cut. Then, continue down for a list of all the best reasons to consider ditching your foils and trying balayage!

1. Bright Blonde On A Pixie

For this look, I wanted to have some statement bright blonde pieces to go with Gina’s natural dark blonde hair color. They are a bit more dramatic and they’re just perfect to go with Gina’s bright, warm personality. In this particular balayage technique, I use varying degrees of thickness for each strand of hair and I varied how close they got to the scalp from directly to the scalp to about one inch out. This allowed me to really play up the fringe area (to give the appearance of more thickness and texture) and to allow her color some “pop” around her face, mimicking the pattern in which the sun naturally lightens the hair.


2. Medium-Blonde On A Long Bob

Tina’s hair has been transitioning since I met her a year ago and it’s never looked better! This was after moving her over from highlights to balayage and though we want to go a bit lighter and brighter, this was the perfect first color! You’d never tell from this photo that Tina’s hair is a little bit thinner because the subtlety of the balayage gives an enormous amount of dimension and depth (one of the favorite things about it!). As you can see, I placed the balayage only around the crown and the front to leave her base color as the contrasting accent. I took each highlight straight to the root because Tina is used to a traditional highlight, so I didn’t want to change it up too much and make her feel like she had roots. But I still made sure to feather it in really well so that it would look very natural and sun-kissed as it grows out. Especially because my hair is a lot like Tina’s, I’m loving this look on her and how thick, vibrant and dimensional it makes her locks look!


3. Ombre Balayage On Longer Hair

Stephanie had quite a bit of grow out and I wanted to give her something fun, bright and youthful to match her personality and lifestyle, but also something that was lower maintenance, allowing her more time for fun and less time worrying about her roots. She was into an ombre look, so we went for it! I feathered in from about an inch and and half from the roots, leaving room for her natural to blend in between. Then, I continued the balayage down to the bottom of the hair. I blended our medium-blonde color from near the roots to the bottom and then on the bottom, I saturated the hair with a brighter blonde, then feathered it in with a clean brush to blend seamlessly. I wanted people to look at her hair and see no transition from the medium color to the bright blonde, especially when worn straight. I love how this look gives Stephanie, another fashionista like myself, a trendy and youthful look that’s still work appropriate!

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Benefits of Balayage:

Natural look that mimics the pattern of lightness created by the sun. Just like when you spent all summer at the beach sunning and laughing with girlfriends!

Perfect for women who can’t apply color on scalp, this allows for bleach or color to only sit directly on the hair. So if you have an allergy to color, are pregnant or have other reasons for not wanting anything to soak into the scalp, this is perfect.

More time in between grow out. Because of the feathering used to place the highlights, there’s a very seamless transition from dark to light and no line of demarcation like you’d get from foils.

Lower maintenance technique that requires touch-ups only every 8-12 weeks, depending on hair type and desired result.

Can’t decide on just one color? Try ombre through balayage and get the best of both worlds with two different colors blended into each other. I’m currently rocking a balayage from my natural darker color to red on my ends.


Less damage! Because you aren’t completely saturating all of the hair in bleach or color, there’s much less damage and dryness on your hair strands, meaning healthier, softer, shinier tresses.

Use balayage to accent a haircut. If you have an angled bob or a rocking fringe, have more highlights concentrated near the angles you want to accentuate.

Want hair to appear longer? Just do balayage underneath through the bottom of the hair and instantly trick the eye.

And a word about at home, DIY balayage…. You guys, this technique is really difficult. It’s not as easy as painting it on with a brush or combing it through. This particular concept took me a little over a year to specialize in (only after I’d taken tons of classes and trained under someone who specialized in it) and I didn’t perform it on a paying client for 9 months. There is a lot of this technique between how much color to use per strand, what consistency that color should be, how to apply it, how to feather it in to blend perfectly and how to properly apply heat if needed. I just barely will do it on my own hair, so I would seriously advise you to go to a professional for this kind of technique! Just trust me! And if you don’t, just Google “at home ombre” and you’ll see exactly what I mean! :) I’m all about saving some money or any added convenience, but I’ve seen this technique end in disaster too many times to not make a note about this!

So what do you lovelies think? Have you heard of balayage yet and would you be willing to try it out?? Tweet me @Hairwithkate and let me know! For questions on booking my services here in Denver or in Vancouver, shoot me an email at!