When we first heard about Balayage, it was a hair game changer.
No longer did we have to sit, head in foils, for what felt like three days only to end up with hair so stripy it brought to mind images of Nicole Richie circa 2003.
No, because Balayage is the hair dye trend that changed everything.
From Alexa Chung to Rihanna, anyone who was anyone was asking for Balayage to achieve that dreamy 'just been kissed by the sun in the Maldives' caramel hair.
What Is Balayage?
Balayage is a French word meaning 'to sweep' or 'to paint'. It allows for a sun-kissed natural-looking hair colour, similar to what nature gives us as children.
How Can You Tell If Your Balayage Has Been Done Properly?
The Balayage pieces should be very close and soft at the root leading to a thicker highlight at the ends of the hair. Balayage should be applied on the surface of the section and not saturated through the section until the very tips, otherwise you would have a streak of colour that isn't vey soft at all.
What's The Difference Between Balayage And Ombré?
Balayage is a French word that means to sweep or paint; it's a highlighting technique. Ombré means to shadow, and it's a seamless gradiation from darker to lighter. People do get confused by the two but you can also combine them in a merged technique which can be very pretty.
Sombré is a much softer version of ombré and is still popular, especially with the charcoal grey trend.
What's The Difference Between Balayage And Highlights?
Balayage has softer, less noticeable regrowth lines than traditional highlights - the principal idea being less is more when creating soft, natural looks. There's no stripy look like you can get with foil highlights, Balayage emulates the parts of your hair that would naturally lighten in the sun.
Also, Balayage is a freehand technique as no foil or meche are used to create the highlights.
Why Is Balayage Better?
Since 2010 I've been saying that foil highlights are dying out - it's such an 80's look and certainly not something the modern woman wants. Look at most A-list celebs and you rarely see a classic foil highlight, you see Balayage and merged techniques like ombre and Balayage, or Babylights and balayage.
These techniques work with the individual's haircut and natural hair growth patterns as well as the variance of tones in the hair, for a totally bespoke finish. Because it's handpainted, your colourist can choose the placements to best complement your haircut, skin and features so it looks really natural rather than actually coloured.
It's also super speedy, meaning you don't have to sit so long in the chair, and it grows out beautifully meaning less maintenance, so less frequent appointments.
What Should You Do Before Getting Balayage?
1. Talk About It
I really passionately believe that consultation is an essential part of the colour process - you should have a consultation with your colourist at least 48 hours before your appointment so that they can talk you through the options and give you an allergy test.
2. Get Your Inspo Sorted
Take images in that you love to demonstrate what you're seeing in your head when you ask for balayage - either from a magazine or on your phone. Your colourist will be able to tell you if it'll suit your skin tone - there are so many great shades out there, some warm, some cool, but you need to get it right.
3. Find The Right Salon For You
Do your research before heading to the salon. Check out the Instagram page of your hair salon, every colour should look different. If the application is the same for each client then it's not unique to them - each client should have a bespoke application that works with their cut.
Does Balayage Work On Natural Textured Hair?
Balayage works on all textures, and in some ways curly hair is easier because you can pick out each curl you want to apply colour to. The pre-lightener (bleach) or colour choice is dependent on the finished look you want to achieve, not the texture.
Are There Any Hair Colours That Don't Work With Balayage?
Balayage is a highlighting technique and can be used on any hair colour.
Can You Get Balayage If You Have Short Hair?
Absolutely - with short hair it's just the same principles, application is dictated by the haircut and should always flow naturally.