This blog is great for learning how to create multi-lights look on curly hair. 

The visual content is taken from Free Salon Educations YouTube channel. The look is created by Danielle Downes who is creating tutorials and how-tos on the channel. She is live every Thursday at 12.00 EST To give you hair tips, tricks and inspiration.

The curly hair goals. 

This look gives a pop of brightness on your curly guests. 

We want to work with this texture creating a natural hi-lighted effect. The look has light blonde tones – created in the foils. Medium blonde mid tones – created with a balayage technique, and darker tones – the natural starting color. The look is great for salon reality and is created working on a vertical diagonal.


Comb through the curls first. 

Grab yourself a wide-toothed comb and get out those tangles before working with color. 

As experienced stylists know, curly hair can pose us some tangle issues. So, prepare your curly guests with a good comb out first. Yes, it means they may have diva hair while sat in the salon, but it's better than disturbing color in foils, or getting in a tangle. 

Section off the curls for a clear hair journey. 

Sectioning can help keep you on track, and make the hi-lighting a lot easier. Set yourself up to win with preparation. 

The sectioning is super-simple, we are taking four quadrants. Starting at the high point of the head, section into four classic quadrants. We are working with the round of the head. We will be taking segments, kind of like orange segments. 

Choose a hair lightener with logic. 

Think about the tools you have in the salon, we are using Syncro-lift. Here we'll explain why. 

Paul Mitchells Syncro-lift is a lightener that lifts up to 9 levels. It contains potato starch and this is our key ingredient here. Not only is this natural ingredient contributing great condition and its brilliant for low irritation, we get no swelling from the lightener. Meaning, we can get super close to the top of the foils, without worrying about bleeds. 

Start foiling the hair in the front. 

Yup, were working backward to the traditional way we usually work with hair lightener.  

Danielle expresses you have freedom to work in the back to the front if preferred. The reason Danielle like to work this way, is the front is the area everyone sees. She like to focus efforts on this area. She leaves a small section out on the hair line to help shadow over any ''stripes'' You may get it the client ties their hair back in the future. 

Take some wide sections when foiling curls. 

Curly hair does mean we can work a little differently to straighter types - here's why. 

Our sectioning is actually took wider than the foil. This gives us speed and over-direction at the corners when foiling. Again, this isn't classic hi-lighting. The over direction will create a diffusion at the roots with the lightener. With curls they also naturally diffuse color because they don't sit flat to the head. Also, natural highlights start at different lengths on the head. Meaning, natural looking color. 

Take your next hair segment with some extra space. 

Working with the round of the head creating extra space allows an area for our balayage technique later. 

When you take the next segment, clip away the space left out. This space needs to be wide-enough to create a balayage pop of color in between the foil. We color this later. When clipping it away for control, be mindful to clip hair on hair. When you clip on to foils, you can disturb the work you created in that foil. Squeezing the lightener can create ''patches''. 

TIP- When following the round of the head, you are not only leaving the hairline out. You are also not quiet foiling the high point of the head too. This creates a veil that falls over our lights too. 

When foiling behind the ear, change the high-lighting technique. 

We normally think about densities when cutting, we also need to think about densities when foiling. 

Behind the ear, we take our weaves thicker. This is a transition area, our densities change. We still want to see glorious pops of color. So - take the weave chunkier. Danielle explains that she takes this foil almost like a slice, weaving out small portions, for a bold chunky effect. 

TIP- If the hair is heavily layered, think about the color standing out on the ends too, make sure you're working in the length of the hair for an even finish. So maybe you need to use two foils into the nape depending on the overall shape/look. 

Repeat repetition, repetitively. 

This technique is pretty simple when you are highlighting. Its repetitive and satisfyingly simple. 

The foiling technique is created in a uniform manner. You want to work with creating even balance with your color sectioning. Working in a clockwork way and creating even spaces for foils and balayage effects around the head. 


Now's the time for balayage. 

The foils are in, and we need to create our medium blonde to marry our highlights with our lowlights. 

So, back to our left out sections and in-between we balayage. We are taking our sections a little bolder. We are also leaving out some natural hair between foils, balayage and still on the high point and hairlines.  

The hair painting technique. 

We saturate the ends of our balayage pieces and we need to blur our roots. 

Working with our fingers we need to lightly smudge the join between our natural root and our heavily painted ends. We do not want to push color through, and we want to create a ''skim'' of color on the top layer. This is to avoid demarcation and create a natural blend. Continue working around the head repetitively.  

Here's a picture of the bold curly highlights. 

So here you can visually see what the technique achieves. A real natural highlight effect. 

Thanks for reading! Checkout free salon Education on YouTube for more hair how-tos. If you have questions, get interactive. Follow @thehandsdownes on Instagram, Danielle is happy to answer questions, and see your work! But most of all – have fun! 

May 18, 2021 — evelyn davies


Nancy said:

Thanks for new tips on hair painting on curly hair!

Leave a comment