Highlights, balayage, ombre, foils… with so many hair coloring options these days, it’s hard to know which one you want. Balayage is the most asked-for hair treatment in salons, and there’s a reason it’s so popular.
Balayage has been around for a while—look back to famous 1970s and 80s faces and you’ll notice their hair looks familiar! But with modern celebs ranging from Jennifer Lopez to Chrissy Teigen rocking the look, it’s no surprise Balayage is one of the hottest looks this year.
So What is Balayage?
Balayage is a technique of hand-painting color on the hair. The name comes from the French word “to sweep”, as the colorist selects pieces of hair to lighten in order to create a very natural, soft graduated blonde look—barely noticeable.
Pieces of hair are painted free-hand with a brush and can be lightened more or less for a varied, organic look. Most of the time the colorist won’t use foils, unless you’re going for a bright blonde look. Usually, your roots are left your natural tone, and your hair becomes lighter as it reaches your ends. The extent to which you lighten is entirely up to you!
How is Balayage Different from Highlighting?
Highlights are traditionally done using foils, and the result is pieces of hair that are very uniform and clearly defined. Square sections of hair are lightened and folded into foil to process. Poorly done traditional highlights, dare we say it, can end up looking stripey.
In Balayage the lightened pieces of hair are selected strategically by the stylist to suit your individual hair cut, face shape and personal style. The hair is lightened freehand so the resulting color is personalised to you.
Balayage can be done with a high contrast blonde for a strong impact, but usually the result is very graduated and subtle, giving a natural sun-swept look.
Is One More Damaging to The Hair?
A professional colorist will manage the lightening process to protect the health of your hair, regardless of which technique you opt for. Our favorite Balayage look keeps the blonde to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, minimizing the risk of damage to your roots—but either way, rest assured that your stylist will keep your hair healthy.
If you’re color-processing your hair regularly, booking in for a deep conditioning treatment in-salon is always a good idea to keep your hair healthy, shiny and strong.
Is Balayage or Traditional Highlighting Right for Me?
It depends what you want your end result to look like. If you like a uniform distribution of light and dark through your hair, you might want to stick with traditional highlights. If you’re sporting a shorter hairstyle and coming into the salon every 4-6 weeks already, highlights are easy to maintain.
One major benefit of Balayage is that the effect grows out incredibly naturally. As the roots are traditionally left your natural hair color, your ombre effect remains seamless, and you can push it to 2-4 months between appointments.
Balayage is also a great option if you’re looking to transition your hair color and grow out your roots. If you feel ‘stuck’ with traditional foil highlights, look into Balayage as a way to move away from severe color contrast without an all-over color application.
In the cooler months, styles tend towards deeper, warmer shades in fashion and beauty. We see this trend in hair, too. Balayage is a way to keep a little variety and depth in your hair—less harsh than beachy blonde, but more interesting than an all-over dye.
Call us to schedule a consultation with one of our color experts to see if Balayage is right for you.