If you’re lucky to have curly hair, you must have been on the look for the most perfect hairstyles – one that flaunts your beauty and highlights your unique hair type. As you know, there has been a number of creative hairstyles and techniques for curly hairs over the years. This includes Elegant Updo, Medium Curly Combover, ombre, highlights and others. Although these styles and techniques have worked well for a good number of curly hairs, they however don’t sit well on some others. Such that when you look at some hairs, the shades and highlights don’t just appear to be natural

Luckily in recent times, one specific hair colouring technique has been making a wave and stealing the interest of curly-haired clients. It has so far been the most perfect option for curls. Not only does it help you brighten up your curls, it equally makes your curly hair texture pop and gives you a purely natural look and feel. It adds highlights to your hair in the right areas and in adequate proportion.  Wondering what this technique is? It’s called Colour Clouding. Let’s see what the clouding technique is all about.

What is Clouding Technique?

Maybe the term sounds quite new. But the style? Pretty sure you must have seen it a couple of times. In fact, it’s been a hot topic in the hair industry for a while now and has stolen the hearts of many curly-haired people. Brace yourself, cos it’s about to steal yours too. Colour Clouding is a hair colouring technique specifically for curly hair clients that helps to give their hair a balayage style effect. It uses the balayage highlighting technique which manually paints a colour onto each curl of your hair with a brush. The result? A dazzling natural tone of beauty with a sun-kissed look. If you’d like your curly hair to be the talk of the town, try the colour clouding style.

Curly hairs, as sweet and soothing as they are, can be difficult to maintain. But, with the Colour Clouding technique, not anymore. It’s a special and widely loved hairstyle that requires the touch of a professional hairstylist for optimum results. So if you’re wondering why there aren’t many hairdressers in Sydney able to do it, now you know the reason.

If you have very curly hair and have been unable to create the balayage highlighting effect, the ‘clouding’ technique will definitely come to your rescue. It will enable you to create the balayage look on your hair when you had thought you wouldn’t be able to do it. Balayage is typically difficult to do on curly hair because the hair is ‘stretched and painted on paddles or foils”. So trying to create the balayage look on very curly hairs without using the clouding technique might just not work. This is because you want to capture the curl in its pure form to be able to place the colour in an aesthetically pleasing way. Clouding allows you to do all that perfectly and ultimately achieve a striking appearance.

Who is Clouding Best For?

Colour Clouding is a technique suitable for those who always wear their hair curly. If you’re someone who likes to shuffle between straight hair and curly hair, this technique wouldn’t be best for you. Because clouding will normally help you enhance your hair’s natural curl patterns and switching between straight and curly hairs will drastically impact the effectiveness of the technique. Also, if your curl is thick, dense and time-consuming to style, clouding will most likely be the perfect technique for you. With colour clouding, you wouldn’t have to spend hours in the salon styling your hair anymore.

An interview with Darcy

Darcy is a professional hair specialist who has a wealth of knowledge and experience working with clients of various kinds of hairs types. He has modelled the colour clouding technique here on Jane.


Colour Clouding balayage for curly hair


Here’s what he has to say

  1. Question: Tell us about Jane’s curly hair.

Darcy’s: Jane was the perfect candidate for colour clouding because of her curl type and how she wears her hair curly every day. This technique is for a strong curl to an afro type of hair.  It’s for a fuller, shorter hairstyle and for those who only wear their hair curly, not straight. This technique won’t look good if Jane straightens her hair. Fine highlights get lost in this sort of curl so this clouding technique works on the ends of the hair and the outer edges of the hairstyle to be visible and visually appealing. It enables people to go lighter each time they come back over a period of time.


  1. Question: What do you think about the outcome of colour clouding on this curly-haired client?

Darcy: The outcome was a very natural look – no thick stripes or uneven choppy colours, which is what you usually get when you apply other techniques to achieve highlights. But this looked very natural and created a lighter and brighter halo over the whole hair. I can remember her saying these words after the process: “I haven’t felt this good about my hair in a very long time.”


  1. Question: What steps did you take to achieve this look and how much was the service?

Darcy: This is a breakdown of the service*:

  • Curly hair dry cut – 60 mins $189
  • 45 minutes to apply the product
  • Leave to sit for 30 mins
  • 45g powder lightener – but this would be determined on hair length and thickness $243
  • Wellaplex in-salon and take home treatment – this is essential and has to be done with every colour service $90
  • Cost = $522
  • Time = 2.25 hrs

 (*subject to change without notice)

About my approach; firstly, I sectioned the hair, then slightly backcombed it from the roots (similar to what I do in balayage). This helps to stop stripes and diffuses the start/stop lines. Then I loaded the palm of my hand with powder lightener and scrunched it into the hair, section by section. The reason I used powder lightner was that I wanted to achieve lighter results but if the hair is virgin hair and has no colour then any colour can be used with this technique. 

My curly hair dry cut clients initially weren’t getting colour and I believe it is because they’ve had bad experiences with highlights. For that reason, balayage couldn’t be achieved in their curl type. But with the colour clouding technique, they were able to achieve the right highlights and tone they wanted, and that really excited them. Balayage doesn’t work on their curl, and bleach highlights can ruin the curl and perhaps increase the potential for the curly hair to go frizzy. Essentially, powder lightner is the same as bleach. And, when you do highlights using foils – these heat the hair causing more damage. The powder lightner we use is more gentle than most and uses the wellaplex treatment to protect the hair.

This can be applied to be very subtle or very dramatic depending on clients’ preferences. We can help you achieve a lovely sun-kissed look using colour clouding – just the way you love it.

  1. Question: Is there anything you didn’t do that you would have loved you did? Perhaps something that could have easily improved the outcome and resulted in a deeper sense of satisfaction. Such as a keratin treatment, wellaplex, different style haircut

Darcy: everything was done perfectly at the right time and in adequate proportion. In fact, I was really happy with the outcome and more importantly, Jane -our client-  was mind blown by the results.

  1. Question: What should we notice about your technique and the possible outcomes for the client? E.g colour placement – where and why, colour correction, etc.

Darcy:  the expected result is a more bespoke colour placement – depending on clients’ wants, it can be more dramatic or subtle and that depends on the scrunching of colour. Basically, it’s the normal balayage result for curly hair treatment.

  1. Question: What are your recommendations on the next service and cost for this client?

Darcy: This colour will need to be refreshed at every haircut, say up to 12 weeks. If we’ve toned the hair, then I’d recommend coming in every 4-6 weeks for a toner refresh. As the colour placement sits on the ends of the hair strand or at the outer edges of the hairstyle and is not coloured at the roots, the colour will inevitably be cut out when the hair gets trimmed so the price is the same as above.

  1. Question: What home hair care do you recommend?

Darcy: Wellaplex in salon and  take home treatment to be applied weekly. $90 incl the in-salon treatment

I would then talk through their home care regime and get them onto a curly hair regime which for me looks like