Ah Balayage, the cool-girl look we all want. Balayage is brilliant because, done well, it’s completely unique to you and will have all your mates complimenting your hair for months to come. While it can look beautifully natural, like your hair has been lightened by the sun on a two week holiday to Bali (The. Dream.), it’s the perfect canvas for experimenting with this summer’s rose gold, pastel and coral tones too.
Tempted? Keep reading for balayage 101 - it’s literally everything you need to know.
What is balayage?
We called on Christian Wiles, founder of Christian Wiles Hairdressing to shed some light on the term, “balayage is a freehand hairdressing technique that we use to create light and shade through the hair. The transition from the base colour to the ends is seamless and fluid to give the appearance of natural, subtle, sunkissed locks.
“The balayage technique is for those who desire hair that looks full of life while giving your skin a glow, enhancing your features and making your appearance more youthful,” he notes. Er, yes please.
Why is balayage so popular?
While balayage won’t give you the same all over blonde look that a full head of highlights will, it doesn’t require the same level of upkeep, so it’s often a welcome trade off for busy people (that’s all of us then).
“Balayage looks beautifully natural, it’s high impact colour!” says Christian. “And, with the right hair care and professional application, it offers a low maintenance, effortless alternative to highlights.”
Is balayage expensive?
Unlike foils which is quite formulaic in its application, “balayage is a specialist and bespoke technique and will often require more time with a colour specialist,” says Christian. “This can make it one of the priciest hair colouring services.”
Don’t write off balayage just yet however, because the colour is woven seamlessly into the hair and not too close to the roots it is a low maintenance choice. You’ll be able to get away without revisiting the salon for around three months.
Is balayage better than foils?
Balayage isn’t necessarily better but it is different. You see it all depends on the result you’re after. “With foils you can expect a very uniformed, structured finish yet with balayage, the result is far more natural,” explains Christian.
What’s the difference between balayage and ombre?
Balayage and ombre are two hair colour terms that are often confused or grouped together, but they’re actually very different!
Christian explains that, “balayage is a vertical technique for applying the colour and offers a softer, more subtle and natural finish. Whereas, ombre means ‘to shade’ in French and uses a gradual, horizontal transformation from darker roots to lighter ends.”
Ombre is often bold, with the hair transitioning from one colour at the roots to a completely different shade at the ends. Balayage is kinda like its quiet and mysterious cousin!
Does balayage work for all hair textures and colours?
Basically, balayage is the hair world’s equivalent of body positivity! “Balayage is not colour or texture prejudice,” Christian tells us. See! “Instead it is a technique and can be used with lightening products or with semi or permanent colours. You have the choice to also opt for a reverse balayage which means working darker pieces into lighter hair.”
“Bayalage works on all textures and colours because of the sweeping, free-hand technique that gives a colourist the ability to be selective over colour placement,” explains Christian. “You can achieve maximum impact with little colour and work on very specific areas.
Does balayage have to be worn wavy?
If you have ever seen pictures of balayage on Instagram or Pinterest (that’s most of us then), you’ll notice it’s pretty much always on long, wavy hair. That not you? Don’t write it off just yet!
“The beauty of painting colour on the hair vertically means you will achieve a softer, more subtle look which works perfectly with straight, wavy or textured hair,” says Christian.
See, balayage really is for everyone.
How do I look after my balayage at home?
When you get balayage you essentially have two types of strands—those that have been dyed and those that haven’t, which means your hair can feel quite different in places if you don’t give it some TLC.
“Take your colourist’s advice on the perfect shampoo, conditioner and treatments that are personalised to your hair colour and texture,” explains Christian. “Home care is always essential to maintain tone but especially after having balayage when you introduce multiple colours.”
If you want to keep your balayage looking fresh, Christian advises that you head to your salon between appointments for toning and a treatment to keep your blonde pieces looking their shiny, happy best.
How do I prevent balayage turning brassy?
While you shouldn’t leave the salon looking brassy, blonde hair can turn orange thanks to minerals in tap water, air pollution and even sunlight (thank goodness bucket hats are in fashion this season!).
There you have it! Everything you need to know about balayage—see you at the salon?
Watch how Cihana Larslann transformed his client's hair with Total Results:
Total-ResultsMatrix Total Results Brass Off Brunette Blue Shampoo
Total-ResultsMatrix Total Results Brass Off Brunette Blue Conditioner
Total-ResultsMatrix Total Results Brass Off Blue Toning Mask
Total-ResultsMatrix Total Results Brass Off Brunette Leave In Treatment