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LEIGH CAMPBELL: I do my own balayage at home. Here’s how.

Professional hair colourists, look away now.

Whenever I tell people in the hair industry that I colour my hair at home, they always wince… and that’s when they assume I’m just referring to my grey roots. 

I do my roots once a fortnight but I also lighten my mid-lengths and ends myself about once or twice a year.

*ducks for cover as colourists across the country throw mixing bowls at me*

Watch 5 Minutes With Leight: Updo Chic Look. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

Being a beauty expert, I could easily get an appointment at a fancy salon (it might even be for free!), but I prefer to do it myself because I hate spending hours in the hairdresser chair, and I like the result I’m able to achieve at home.

I’m about to tell you how I do it, but before I do, a fair word of warning.

I have been in the beauty industry for 20 years, during which I have interviewed hundreds of hair stylists, if not thousands. I've gathered all their expert tips and insider tricks and from that, have a fair understanding of how hair colour works - more than the average person.

If you’re really precious about your hair or feel too overwhelmed to have a play at home - please leave it to the pros. It’s true that a lot can go wrong…. but I’ve worked out how to get it right for me.

Here’s my process.

I grab a blonde hair colour from the local pharmacy. As I’m not really following the instructions, it doesn't matter too much which one.

In the past I have used L'Oreal Paris Preference Balayage No 2 Dark Blonde To Light Blonde Hair, $19.45, but this time I am using the Schwarzkopf Colour Specialist 10-1 Cool Ultra Blonde, $18.99.

I brush my hair (it makes no difference if it is clean or a bit dirty) and centre part it as that’s how I prefer to wear my hair the majority of the time. 

"I’ve worked out how to get it right for me. ". Image: Supplied.

Then I mix the colour according to the instructions. Make sure you use the plastic items that come in the box - venturing into the kitchen and using your own bowls or a knife could be dangerous - metal bowls or items can oxidise the colour or lead to a chemical reaction.

I then clip up the majority of my hair using a crab claw clip, leaving out about a quarter at the back near my neck. From there I take a bit of the mixed solution between my fingers (using the supplied gloves of course) and work it through very small sections of my hair about four or five centimetres from the root. 

I do this haphazardly, imagining where I'd like the slightly lighter bits to be - a bit like if I'd spent a euro summer swimming at the beach every day.

I then let the second section down and do the same, then the third. 

When I get to the top quarter - AKA the bits people see the most - I pay a bit more attention to placement and make sure the highlights frame my face nicely with the strands closest to my fringe area.

That's it - that's the application done. But the really important parts come next.

I jump in the shower and wash it out after about 10 minutes - no longer. That’s where I am not following the instructions as I just want to lift my colour slightly, not actually go blonde. 

"I like the result I’m able to achieve at home. ". Image: Supplied.

If I leave it on longer, I risk damaging my hair and being left with a very orange result. Sometimes I've washed too soon, and the result has been hardly noticeable, but I would prefer that every time - it's much easier to do it again than it is to correct over processed hair.

It’s the same when going darker too, actually. Hair ‘grabs’ colour, so it's likely to go a lot darker in the time it says to leave on the box. I always rise sooner as a rule of thumb, then assess when hair is dry. 

After shampooing its time to tone. Taking hair from dark to any form of lighter will almost always throw warmth (look a bit orange or brassy), so toner is very much needed. I mostly use the Davroe Cool Graphite Colour Treatment, $32.95, and do it weekly when the ends start to look a bit too warm. 

That’s it! It’s not hugely complicated. 

Is it perfect? Far from it. 

Am I happy, and do I get a lot of compliments on my hair colour? You betcha. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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