‘I desperately wanted to teach,’ says the renowned Californian colorist, co-owner with Russell Mayes of Bauhaus Hair Studio in Orange, California. ‘But I’m left-handed and just couldn’t demonstrate a cut clearly to hairdressers who were right-handed, and that’s 90% of hairdressers. So I gravitated to color, where it doesn’t matter.’
She found her niche, and it was one in which she excels and can teach. Since then, and many Instagram posts later, Frances is now an industry name, highly respected for her amazing balayage work and charm. She has recently passed 60k followers on Instagram, where one image will typically attract 800-1,000 likes and more than 50 comments in less than half a day. A video might reach 50k+ viewers. Even the film in which she pitched a cheap, mains-powered mixer, owned by Russell, against Gustavo, her ECOHEADS Ping, was viewed more than 5k times. The cheap mixer, named Jerry, ended up on the street looking pathetic, with a cardboard sign that read: ’Will Mix 4 food’.
‘I got onto Instagram just at the right time,’ says Frances, who is an ambassador for Kenra. ‘It’s so busy now but there were fewer people then and it was an opportunity to showcase our work and build up relationships. I have so many friends on social now and engage with them constantly. And it was from requests to share my techniques that I built up my education.’
She began by borrowing a salon from a friend to hold a session and putting the tickets up on Eventbrite. She was so nervous, she says, but the tickets sold out instantly, with people flying into Orange to participate. From there it just got bigger and bigger.
For the past two years she has reduced her seminars to one or two a month because, as co-owner of Bauhaus, she’s doing clients five days a week. She is helped by two assistants and her trusty Ping, Gustavo, of course, but pressure from the industry has persuaded her to reduce her time behind the chair to three days a week. The rest of the time she will build up the education arm of Bauhaus. With 2,000sq ft, the salon has ample space to run classes every week.
She will also continue to share on social so fans across the US and further afield can witness her amazing work. Assisting right alongside her will be Gustavo, always delivering the great results that someone of Frances’ caliber has come to rely on and providing ease of use that is just the same whether you are left or right-handed.
Frances’ tips for beautiful balayage:
Placement: have a pattern or a system on your application so your end result is fluid and evenly placed.
Don’t be heavy-handed. Lightly painting on the surface of the hair will give you the most organic results. Being too heavy-handed can push through to areas you don’t want the lightener to land on, leading create blotchiness.
Achieve an even consistency with your lightener. Mix in your Ping for the best blend. Don’t add too much developer in your formula. If you were to turn your bowl upside down and the hair lightener dripped out, it is way too runny. This can create bleeding spots and slow down the lightening process.
Check out more of Frances' beautiful work on her Instagram, @frances_hairartist