I'm a beauty expert – the common hair colour mistakes which make you look cheap & why balayage is the worst

HAIR dye disasters have happened to the best of us. But while at-home box dyes are notorious for going wrong, there’s a plethora of salon options that can make your hair look just as cheap.

Here, beauty and lifestyle expert for Fabulous, Siobhan O’Connor, reveals the hair-colour mistakes you are making – and why balayage is one of the worst. 

It’s nothing new, first spilling on the scene back in Paris in the ‘70’s. 

But a balayage – actually the name of the technique which sees colourists paint your hair to create a blended effect – has earned the basic badge among industry insiders.

The chunky highlights have become so popular that now customers are shunning the trend in favour of “frosting” – a new hair dye technique which opts for smaller highlights.

To avoid looking cheap, don’t follow the herd.

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The boomerang hair trend often bounces back in fashion in the dye world.

And while a fresh ombre can look uber cool, it also comes with a high cheap-looking-risk.


This is a red flag, it looks like a cheap ombre job that hasn’t been blended properly.

Then, it’s a dye job that requires a top-up – you can’t go six months leaving it untouched – or it will fade to an even worse colour. 

First of all, if not done well, it can result in a bold ruler-straight line around your hair, with hair looking dark on top and ginger on the bottom. 


While dark, glossy shades look amazing – they can make your hair look thinner as you age.

According to 2021 British Hairdresser of the Year & Creative Director at Russell Eaton salons Robert Eaten: “As we age and the hair becomes more fragile, don’t get trapped into staying with the same heavy colour as it can make the hair look thinner and be incredibly ageing. 

Lighter placements of colour can help hair look thicker and healthier.”

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Hair shades that look like Utterly Butterly is well-known evidence that your hair lightening job has gone wrong – either from a DIY job or from poor use of bleach. 

While blondes are also at risk of turning a brassy, orangey blonde – often a result of the wrong toner.

There’s a plethora of salon options that can make your hair look just as cheap

Both these shades are a clear giveaway of a bad cheap job. To avoid? Definitely shun lightening treatments like sun-in – they not only give your hair a yellow tinge, but damage your overall hair health too. 

Too much purple shampoo is another culprit that can make roots look yellow, too. 


Funky colours are also a popular go-to, especially come spring. And while pink was spotted on every cool kids head, fantasy blue is a little harder to nail.

The aqua shade is not always flattering for every skin tone as it can enhance redness.

While, if your hair hasn’t been lightened enough, it can leave a green tinge – and no one wants to look like the hulk. 

If you are determined to rock it, ensure your hairdresser knocks out any yellow tones beforehand. 

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Plastic gloves, old t-shirt and a box-dye – check. A quick-fix-it dye at home is perfectly fine, as long as you do it properly.

Rushing the job and shoving it all on your hair in one go can result in a dye disaster with patchiness and a missed spot – not a great look.

Make sure you section your hair and paint each strip if tackling the job on your own, there’s also great dye sprays for a quick cover up – try Josh Wood Airbrush, £14. 

Re-evaluating your hair shade every 10 years is also key – you wouldn’t wear the same makeup you did in your ‘60’s that you did in your ‘20’s so why stick to the same hair colour?

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