What is Balayage?  — Everything You Need to Know!

Balayage is a hair dyeing technique that’s taking the world by storm. It’s become the go-to it look for several celebrities and there are reasons for that. The main reason, of course, being that it looks fabulous!

Read on to find out everything there is to know about balayage.

What Is Balayage?

It’s a type of hair coloring method that gives your hair “that sun-kissed look”—i.e. your hair gradually gets lighter and lighter. What’s more, it adds depth, it is easy to maintain and it looks rather fabulous (if you ask us!).

What Does the Word Balayage Mean?

Balayage is French and means “sweeping.” You add color across your hair in a sweeping motion—going from dark to light.

How Is Balayage Different from Highlights?

Highlights tend to start close to your roots and you use foil to create “stripes” of another color, or colors.

Balayage on the other hand, is a freehand painting technique where you add lighter—and sometimes darker—tones/shades to your hair. The hair slowly gets lighter and lighter, so that the tips of your hair are the lightest.

Unlike highlights, there is no sharp outgrowth lines and therefore it doesn’t look bad as the hair grows out. In fact, one of the reasons people do balayage is to grow out their highlights!

How Is Balayage Different from Ombré?

Ombré is a technique where, again, your hair goes from dark to light. The difference between ombré and balayage is the same as that between a complete color job and highlights—with ombré there aren’t different shades. That’s to say, the color is blended from dark to light, but it’s uniform in that there aren’t any darker and lighter strands. The hair simply looks dip dyed, but without any sharp lines.

In short, ombré is uniform, balayage is multi-tonal.

Where Did Balayage Originate?

Balayage originated in Paris at the Carita Salon back in the 1970s. It took till the 1990s to make its way across the pond to the US and then till quite recent years to become a full-blown ten worldwide.

What Hair Types and Colors Are Suitable for Balayage?

Any. You can use any color to go from dark to light. If your hair is previously dyed, however, there might be things to consider.

Likewise, any type of hair is suitable—thin, thick, straight, or curly!

The only time balayage does not work is on a pixie cut—you need a tiny bit of length to be able to get the different shades of color!

How Long Does the Balayage Process Take?

This depends on how much of an overhaul you’re looking to do! A few babylights can take a mere 45 minutes, while a more overarching process can take up to three hours.

Does Balayage Require a Lot of Maintenance?

In short, no. It’s one of the best coloring jobs you can have done where maintenance is concerned. As it can grow out without looking bad, you don’t even have to do it again if you don’t want to! There will be no harsh growth lines However, if your hair gets brassy after a while, you might consider using a toner. You can also add some babylights to freshen up the look.

Naturally, if you like the style you need to refresh it after a while, but certainly not as often as you would have to with highlights.

The Pros of Doing Balayage

There are many pros to opting for balayage over highlights and ombré, including:

  • No obvious regrowth lines
  • Natural look
  • Multi-tonal—added depth
  • Low maintenance
  • Can be used to grow out highlights
  • Don’t need to dye your hair as often as you would with highlights—as there are no obvious regrowth lines you can do it whenever you want to

In Closing

Balayage is a freehand painting technique used by hair dressers to create a “sun-kissed” look. It’s become popular across the world for the fresh look it provides, for being easy to maintain and for adding depth, which can make our hair look thicker. It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours to complete the dyeing process and it should be done by a qualified hairdresser as it’s a lot more complicated than regular highlights.

Low maintenance colour without compromising on qualityLow maintenance colour without compromising on qualityThe term balayage is taken from the French word for ‘sweeping’. ‘It’s a freehand hair colouring technique that gives a really blended, natural look with no harsh or obvious regrowth lines,’ royal and celebrity hairdresser Richard Ward tells us.

Balayage allows for a sun-kissed, natural looking hair colour, with softer, less noticeable re-growth. The principal idea being less is more when creating a natural, multi-tonal finish. The technique uses patches of light and shade to create multiple dimensions to the colour.

Balayage is quite different to traditional highlights, because no foil is used and the colour is painted on freehand. The finished result is ‘less uniform than typical highlights’

The depth of balayage can vary so much from a ‘few small highlights that will only take a matter of minutes to a full on, triple process look that can take up to 3 hours,’ says Josh Wood, master colourist and Redken’s Global Colour Creative Director.

Though it can take quite a long time to do a multi-tonal, layered balayage compared to regular colour, the benefit of the application means you will be able to leave longer between your next colour appointment. If you want a few balayage babylights, this can take as little as 45 minutes.

‘If you want to make your balayage last as long as possible, opt for a babylight – it’s the most subtle type of colour you can go for,’ advises Josh Wood. Investing in some good quality colour care styling products is also advisable to keep your colour looking fresh for longer.

If your colour turns brassy after a while you can ‘refresh it without going for a full top up with a toner or gloss to give your shine back.’ says Wood.

Balayage is a totally blended hair look, there are no lines or blocks of colour and the graduation between shades is much more subtle. Some lengths of the hair are kept darker for a seamless colour finish.

Ombre hair has a more defined contrast between the roots and tips of the hair with colour starting mid-way down the strands. Ombre colour ‘is a more noticeable, statement look compared to balayage,’ says Richard Ward. Want to know more? Check out our round-up if want to find out more about ombre.

Ombré is a French word, which means “shadow”—it’s a process that dyes the hair in a gradation from dark to light. The outcome is usually darker hair from the roots to the mid-shaft and a transition to a lighter color from the mid-shaft through to the ends. If not done correctly, however, you could end up with a harsh and unblended look, which is why it’s so important to go to an experienced hairstylist for a dye job like this. With this technique, there are no darker pieces left at the bottom of the hair. It is noticeable color blocking from dark to light, with a smooth transition in between. This technique is meant to look like the hair has been dip-dyed.

Balayage hair had its fabulous beginnings in 1970s France, at the uber-exclusive Carita Salon in Paris. At the time, the industry standard was to dye hair using frosting caps and foils. Balayage was a revolutionary new technique, using strips of cotton to separate dyed hair from un-dyed hair, leading to that effortless, sun-kissed look. In the 90s, balayage hair came to the US, only just becoming popular among the masses in recent years.

Nooora is your on demand hair salon in Dubai and provides Hair coloring at the comfort of your home and services like Full Color, Head highlights, Full color, Full Head Highlights, Half Head Highlights Ombre/Balayage, Root Color & T-Section Highlights. Just a “Hey” away from your first appointment.

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