Balayage is a French word meaning to paint. As applied to the salon industry, it is a freehand hair coloring technique where a colorist applies a lightening agent or hair dye by painting the surface of hair strands using a brush. The desired result is a soft, blended natural look without sharp lines. Traditional highlights using foil result in more defined color lines usually running from root to end. Balayage requires experience and is a technique best left to the professionals.
The use of balayage dates back to the 1970’s but now is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Even though celebrities are big adopters, there are multiple reasons for the resurgence. First, balayage requires far less maintenance. As the hair grows, the resulting blend of highlights is more natural and without regrowth lines. The soft blended finish means you can leave longer periods between your salon appointments.
Balayage is also appropriate for a range of hair colors including brown, blonde, red or even modern pastels or vivids. The hair color specialist adjusts the color, placement, and degree of the highlighting for the desired look. Highlights may be placed high, low or in between or even around the face to compliment or distract for the desired effect. Unlike Ombré, where the hair ends are a uniform lighter color, balayage ends are a mixture of light and dark shades.
Balayage works for short hair as well as long and flowing. Straight, wavy or curly, the effects are stunning, sophisticated and stylish. Application time depends on style selection. A few simple highlights may take 45 minutes. Extreme multi-color, layered styles can be 3 hours. Please discuss with your stylist before making an appointment.
Suggested maintenance starts with luke-warm showers. Hot water can strip essential oils leaving dry, dull looking hair. Use a color-safe, sulfate-free shampoo, such as Wella Elements, so you don’t wash your new hair color down the drain.
Balayage is not recommended for grey hair. With hair growth, a full-color solution is more appropriate.