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MATRIX Experts Share Their Best Balayage Tips in Honor of National Balayage Week

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Colorists, get excited: National Balayage Week is just around the corner! Beginning Monday, August 16th through Sunday, August 22nd, MATRIX will be hosting seven jam-packed days of education and activities celebrating the beloved coloring technique. In honor of the week-long festivities, MATRIX tapped four of their experts to share their thoughts on all things balayage for a National Balayage Week Trend Report.

Ahead, hear from George Papanikolas, Michelle O’Connor, Nick Stenson, and Rachel Bodt about their favorite celebrity balayage, their maintenance tips, and why the technique is so popular. 

George Papanikolas, @georgepapanikolas

MATRIX Brand Ambassador and Celebrity Colorist

On why the balayage technique is so popular: “Balayage has a universal appeal since it can be dialed up for an edgy high contrast effect or dialed down for a softer sun-kissed effect. It can also be adjusted warm or cool to suit the individual’s skin tone.”

On his favorite celebrity balayage look: “My favorite celeb balayage looks have been seen on Hannah Jeter, Khloe Kardashian, and Lily Aldridge. The multi-tonal looks with depth at the root and high contrast “tips” have been the look’s poster girls.”

On the hair types he thinks suits balayage best: “Longer hair, with long layers allows the color to play off the light and dark pieces. Styling it in waves really brings the dimension and ribbons of color to life.”

On his tips for at-home balayage maintenance: “With balayage, the ends of the hair can take a beating since they are usually the lightest color. Using products like MATRIX Total Results Unbreak My Blonde ensures that the bonds of the hair are protected, and that the hair is thoroughly nourished and moisturized. I also suggest using a blue base shampoo once a week, such as MATRIX Total Results Brass Off Shampoo to neutralize any unwanted brassy tones.”

Michelle O’Connor, @michelleoconnorbeauty

MATRIX Global Artistic Director

On why the balayage technique is so popular: “It is so popular because it’s a very curated look. No two balayage services are identical. It is truly the most artistic and organically executed technique available in hair color services.”

On her favorite celebrity balayage look: “Sarah Jessica Parker is truly iconic in terms of reintroducing the balayage trend to pop culture. This goes back to her Sex and the City days where she sported many versions of balayage. These looks range from lighter blonde sun-kissed face-framing pieces perfectly situated next to darker brunette tones all the way to a tone-on-tone lighter blond/darker blond variation. She’s hands down the queen of balayage.”

On the hair types he thinks suits balayage best: “Balayage really looks great on any hair types. However, balayage where you lift the hair to the lighter and sunnier golden blond hues, tend to be the most impactful.”

On her tips for at-home balayage maintenance: “Absolutely! I recommend the MATRIX Total Results Unbreak My Blonde system for keeping the hair in optimum shape. These formulas help reinforce the hair bonds as well as leaving it incredibly shiny and strong. All products are infused with citric acid which is known to stimulate blood circulation on the scalp, making your hair glossy, as well as balance out the PH level in your hair.”

Nick Stenson, @nickstenson

MATRIX Artistic Director

On why the balayage technique is so popular:  “Balayage is a beautiful color technique for many different hair types. Done well, a great balayage can last for months and leave hair color softly blended and fabulous.”

On his favorite celebrity balayage look: “I must say, JLO always has a stunning and flawless balayage.The honey tones her colorist uses always compliment her beautifully.”

On the hair types he thinks suits balayage best: “I truly enjoy balayage color for all hair types, perhaps because it’s such a customizable technique. Balayage is a great way to amp up curly and textured hair for ever more definition and it’s also perfect for seamless techniques with the straightest of hair. The only real must for balayage is to have enough hair length to paint on to create a soft-blended effect.”

On his tips for at-home balayage maintenance: “As with any highlight service, at-home care and maintenance is crucial for the hair’s integrity and polish to keep hair looking great. Reach for the MATRIX Total Results Unbreak My Blonde Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s great for all hair types because it’s sulfate free and will leave hair 3 times stronger than before.”

Rachel Bodt, @rachel_bodt

MATRIX Brand Ambassador and Celebrity Colorist

On why the balayage technique is so popular: “I think people really love how soft and effortless it is. The grow out is so much more forgiving because of this softness.”

On her favorite celebrity balayage look: “I love looking at celebrity balayage looks because I think most people think balayage is ombre but there are some great ways to use this technique. I love using Margot Robbie, Lily Aldridge and Selena Gomez for references.”

On the hair types he thinks suits balayage best: “I think it really can look good on anyone. The technique itself can really be contoured to almost any hair type or color!”

On her tips for at-home balayage maintenance: “I always suggest color depositing shampoos/conditioners to keep tones looking fresh and polished, such as the MATRIX Total Results So Silver and Brass Off collections. I also love laminating treatments, such as the MATRIX Total Results High Amplify Shine Rinse Lamellar Treatment because it makes the hair look so polished and refined. 

For more news from MATRIX, be sure to follow @matrix on Instagram.

Camille Nzengung
Camille Nzengung
Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor, based in Georgia, covering all things hair at The Tease. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches.