I needed to change my look. Initially I wanted extensions. But Léo just needed to ask me a few questions during my hair consultation before suggesting that I wait until my children get older. Léo got that I needed a change but he also understood that my life as a mother with two active young children would likely prevent me from maintaining a good haircare regimen.

He was totally right on that. I probably would have come back two weeks later, completely discouraged and wanting them removed. That being so, I wasn’t getting very far with my need to change something without cutting my hair. I have always been nervous about colouring my hair. The few times I tried it, the results were either disastrous or didn’t last very long. But I decided to take Léo’s suggestion.

Balayage or highlights?

Everyone knows what highlights are — coloured strands of hair, either narrow or wide, regularly alternating with a person’s normal hair colour. The look has something very symmetrical, repetitive, and for me, not very natural. But it is still very popular, especially in North America. Léo suggested a whole other technique called balayage, which creates a more subtle effect without the symmetry of highlights.

Step 1 – Choosing the colour

For this step, I placed my trust in Léo, which he had definitely earned through his wise advice. This is an issue I should have explored in greater depth in my article on our relationship with our hairdresser. He picked a warm caramel shade.

Step 2 – Applying the bleach mixture

Bleaching is an essential step, especially for dark hair like mine that needs to be lightened. The mixture is applied with a brush in increasing amounts from the roots toward the hair ends.


Unlike highlighting, balayage colours do not alternate, but that does not mean they are arbitrarily applied. The roots are covered in cellophane so that the natural warmth of the scalp gently activates the chemical reaction.

Step 3 – Colouring and creating lustre

It’s like getting your hair shampooed! Léo lets the product act on the hair and completely penetrate the hair shaft until the right effect is achieved. The dye is very gentle on the hair.

Step 4 – Wash, wash, wash!

At this point, the hair is thoroughly washed. Even though the dye does not contain ammonia, the bleach does contain chemicals.

Step 5 – Drying

You have to dry the hair to see the full effect of the final colour and highlights. Anyway, no one wants to leave the salon without a new hair style!


I really like the caramel colour. I have had it for two weeks now.

Now that I know I can do something that lasts for a long time (four months or more) and looks good (really, look at me!), I’m wondering if I shouldn’t do an aubergine colour next time. What do you think?

Updated November 27, 2013: I’m happy to add two updates to my post. First of all, Léo wanted to share two professional tips with us:

“To refresh the colour of your balayage or change the luminosity, apply a toner every four to five weeks. It only takes a few minutes and brings back a healthy, glowing look just like after your balayage treatment.

At home, apply Kérastase Cristal Sculpt serum to your tresses for a spectacular shine and silky texture. ”

And look at this photo of Janika, the team’s fabulous assistant. Her balayage is the expert work of Léo.