Everything about Balayage, Ombre and Highlights
What exactly is “Balayage”?
The name “balayage” is derived from the French word “balayer,” which means to sweep. It’s a phrase that describes how a color is applied rather than the color itself. Balayage is a method that uses hair color to produce a graded, more natural-looking highlight appearance, Warren explains.
Why balayage is popular?
- It’s easier to maintain than other hair colors. It’s easier to manage since the procedure is meant to create the appearance of grown-out roots in a pleasing and natural way rather than stark and skunky. This equates to less time and money spent at the salon, as well as fewer hair damage. Some of my clients go 6-8 months without appointments, Blais adds, adding that others prefer to come in every 6-10 weeks.
Each balayage is unique: placement, gradation, and color are determined by your hair color, texture, and length, so it can be tailored for each client to highlight or soften face characteristics, according to Blais. When you’re going over your stylist’s portfolio, bear in mind that no two balayages should appear same.
Celebrities like the Kardashians and Chrissy Teigen have popularized the hair color trend, so it’s no surprise that it’s catching on with the general public. On Instagram, a search for the hashtag “balayage” yields almost 20 million results.
How is balayage achieved?
To learn what you’re looking for, your stylist should ask you a series of curated questions. To know where to start, you have to have the final result in mind, Warren adds. Ask the following questions from your stylists:
- Which area of your hair do you like best (and least well)?
- On a regular basis, how do you style your hair?
- How frequently do you want your balayage to be touched up?
Highlights are traditionally achieved by sectioning hair and covering it in foil from root to tip. According to Barbuto, foil highlights are put close to the scalp to prevent the lightener from damaging the surrounding hair. As a result, the hair will be woven with vivid, noticeable color lines. Wrapping hair in foil allows the color to develop (i.e. lighten) more quickly than hand-painting, which is why many hairdressers still use strategically placed foils while balayaging.
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Babylights are ultra-thin highlights that resemble the natural highlights of a child (hence the name). Grateful to the much-smaller weave utilized, a babylight consists of an extremely little, thin strand of hair, providing a highly delicate, sun-kissed appearance, says Barbuto. Babylights can be used to delicately divide up the root color for optimal grow-out effects, according to the manufacturer.
According to Warren, ombre means “shaded from dark to light,” hence balayage is a technique for creating it. If you want an ombre in the salon, however, you can expect all of your ends to be lightened and the color to begin lower on the hair shaft. Because the entire strand is drenched with bleach for a “more solid finish,” explains Barbuto, the ends of the hair get a lot lighter with ombre than they may with balayage. Balayage involves painting strands sparingly and blending those that are dyed higher into the hair.
Balayage gives the appearance of lightness with a softer, more blended look. There is no line of demarcation… striping, or strong lines of color, and the procedure is similar to what would happen to your hair if you let it lighten naturally with the sun. Because it looks “lived-in” straight away, Balayage usually retains the root color and removes any obvious color lines, allowing you to go longer between treatments.