Dark Creations

Arizona based colourist Mallory Jade – known as Painted by MJ on Instagram – shares all about her cool-toned creations, and how to make balayage work for brunettes


Mallory Jade

Lately autumn has brought to me a lot of dark creations, with my most popular being my cool toned balayage. It’s an unexpected and rather challenging technique that adds almost a shimmery dimension to dark hair. At this time of year it’s in high demand, but I predict it will stay on-trend for a long while to come because it’s one of those looks that can be worn through every season.

This technique works for both a blonde that wants to go dark but not too solid, or someone with darker hair that is wanting just a hint of movement throughout. I really love this technique because normally dark hair has a super warm undertone (being red/orange), and whenever a dark-haired client is wanting dimension, they usually pull super golden. Not everyone loves warmth, nor does it suit every person, so being able to switch it up and provide my clients with an alternative look that is softer allows more room for creativity, with a bit more edge.

Before Pulp Riot’s new permanent colour line Faction 8, it was really difficult, and actually close to impossible, to create a cool toned balayage look. Even just a cool tone in general for anything lower than a level 8 was hard to achieve. Thanks to their advanced colour line, it has made it so easy to mix and create any level from 1 to 10, giving a cool toned end result. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen or worked with before.

While I have a lot of formulas I’m enjoying using right now, some of my all-time favourite go-to mixes are:

  • Root and mids: 6-8 (chocolate base) + 5-0 (neutral base) + 5-1 (blue base)
  • Ends/balayage pieces: 8-1 (blue base) + icy toner (pearl/violet progressive) + 7-0 (neutral base)

For something even darker: 

  • Roots and mids;  5-8 (chocolate base) + 2-0 (neutral base) + 5-1 (blue base)
  • Ends/balayage pieces; Silver toner (blue progressive) + 7-1 (blue base) + dash of 5-22 (double violet base)

For more of Mallory’s work, head to @malloryje on Instagram.