What Is Balayage?
Balayage is a technique of hair coloring done freehand, much like painting, which results in a graduated color from top to bottom. The term balayage refers to the method in which the color or lightener is applied, meaning “sweeping” in French. Traditional foil coloring uses sectioning and patterns, while balayage allows your colorist to personalise your color placement. Think “contouring for your hair,” (source). With the creative freedom the stylist has, it is fair to say that not one balayage is exactly like another. The way the light hits your hair, your face shape, head shape, haircut & hair texture are all taken into account when deciding where exactly to paint your hair.
Why Balayage Is Better Than Foils
Traditional highlights require strict sections and patterns to apply lightener or color, which can cause harsh grow out that requires regular upkeep. Most people choose balayage because of the seamless highlight look and the low maintenance feel. Traditional foil highlights can leave a harsh line of demarcation. Traditional foil highlights are always taken to the base, which can cause harsher, more apparent grow out. While balayage can be taken to the base if wanted, the balayage technique creates a seamless flow between the base color and the added color, resulting in a much more natural feel.
Balayage Achieves Many Different Styles
Balayage is simply a technique used to achieve many different types of looks. It can be ultra subtle giving a sun kissed glow to the hair. It can also be bold and add dimension, depth or brightness. Balayage is not only for blondes, it can be used on all hair colors,textures and lengths to achieve the following:
An ombre is a gradual melt from dark to light. Generally more than two colors are needed to create this seamless melt with no harsh lines. According to Redken, the term means, “graduated color tone,” in French.
Sombre is just like an ombre but much subtler, the word itself stands for “ subtle ombre”. Think of the difference between a full foil and a partial foil. A sombre is not meant to have drastic contrast between the base color and the balayage. The result is usually sun kissed and natural or used to add brightness to very dark hair. Learn more about sombre.
Babylights follow a similar pattern to traditional foil highlights but they are much subtler. The sections in foils use less hair to create a soft, blended effect. Babylights can be used heavily to create fuller coverage looks that are seamless or can be used just around the hairline to give your face an instant brighten up!
Foilayage is a mix between traditional highlights or babylights to achieve more coverage of color while maintaining brighter ends. A root shadow can be added to this service to ensure your grow out is seamless & natural.
How To Care For Your Balayage
There is little in salon maintenance after the initial lightening process. Because there’s no harsh demarcation in your hair with balayage grow out, you don’t need to frequently return to the salon for touch-ups. Your stylist will most likely tone your balayage to cancel out certain tones or play up the color. You may need to return for another toner sooner than the balayage touch up. There are products that protect the color and a timeline for your return can be set up with your stylist!
*Balayage is a specialized technique that should be performed by a specialist. Proper balayage requires knowledge of hair color, experience with application, rinse time and toning.