Balayage Hair: Everything You Need To Know
First was ombre, then sombre, and then balayage just went berserk!
The ‘70s are known for many things: thigh-high boots, flower power, the words groovy and rad—and, as it turns out, it also happens to be the decade that balayage hair was developed. Balayage is a freehand hair highlighting technique created by French colorists—and we’re here to tell you that it looks absolutely stunning. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to change your hair color and give yourself a new beauty look, here’s everything you need to know about balayage hair, from what it looks like, how to get it, and how to maintain your color.
WHAT IS BALAYAGE?
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? As we mentioned earlier, balayage hair is a highlighting technique that was created by French colorists back in the 1970s. Rather than traditional foiling or cap techniques, balayage is a freehand technique. The good news is, it doesn’t matter whether you have a short pixie cut or waist-length hair—this highlighting method can be used on anyone. The whole goal of balayage highlights is to leave you with natural-looking, sun-kissed hair.
HOW DOES BALAYAGE DIFFER FROM OTHER TYPES OF HIGHLIGHTS?
The balayage technique differs from other highlighting techniques, like ombré or traditional highlights, because it gives the colorist more freedom to apply the color where they deem fit. With foils, you’ll get a very uniform finish, while with balayage the result is more natural. This also allows the colorist to apply the color in specific areas that they think will brighten your features.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF BALAYAGE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
If you’re a color newbie, then balayage is for you! It’s a subtle highlighting technique that isn’t as drastic as completely changing your hair color. Balayage works on any hair color, so it doesn’t matter whether you have brown, blonde, or red hair. Also, if you’re looking for highlights that are as low maintenance as you can get, then balayage is the way to go. With these highlights, you won’t have to run to the salon for touchups every couple of weeks since you’re not dyeing the entire length of your hair. As the highlights grow out, it’ll look totally intentional. Less touchups? Yes, please!
HOW LONG DOES BALAYAGE TAKE TO DO?
Turns out, it’s pretty speedy work. Typically a full head takes 45 mins or so to apply, so it’s quicker than normal foils.
HOW LONG DOES BALAYAGE LAST?
Good news, lazy girls. A little balayage goes a long way, so it definitely costs less over time. You don’t need to visit the salon every 6 weeks as you do with foils – you only need to see your colourist every 12-14 weeks as the highlights will grow out naturally.
DOES BALAYAGE DAMAGE YOUR HAIR?
Most colourists would agree that balayage is arguably less damaging than conventional colouring techniques which use foils and heat to set the colour, meaning you’re less likely to end up with brassy, over-processed hair. Bleach, however, can prove drying on your ends: be sure to consult our guide to repairing damaged hair, damaged hair to keep your lengths in optimum condition.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GETTING BALAYAGE HIGHLIGHTS?
Just because balayage highlights are low maintenance doesn’t mean there aren’t facts to keep in mind before hitting up the salon. As with all highlighting techniques, balayage requires lightening—and that means you’ll need to have your hair bleached. The darker your starting color (and the lighter you want to go with your balayage highlights), the more work it’ll take to achieve your desired end result. So, keep in mind that you might be in for multiple highlighting sessions depending on what you start with and what you want your hair too look like at the end of the process.