Balayage Hair: Everything You Need To Know

You may have heard this fancy word, “balayage,” floating around the hair-world lately, but have you been wondering what exactly balayage is? What's the difference between ombre and balayage? Can balayage be done at home? We've got you covered with all these questions and more. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the balayage hair trend and why it's such a popular hair dyeing technique.

Balayage Hair Guide

First Things First: What Is Balayage?

The word “balayage” is a french word meaning “to sweep” or “to paint.” It is a technique for dyeing hair in which the dye is hand painted onto the hair to give it a natural, gradual transition.

Royal hairdresser to Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and British celebrity stylist, Richard Ward explains, “balayage is a freehand hair coloring technique that gives a really blended natural look with no harsh or obvious regrowth lines”.

Basically, it leaves a sunkissed, natural glow to your hair by using various tones of light and dark to create multiple dimensions of color. The dye is painted directly onto the surface of the hair and is not saturated right through until the tips of your hair. This is what creates the natural progression of the dye, leaving a beautiful natural look.

Depending on how light you want to go, the process uses a clay-based bleach, much less damaging than typical bleach used to dye hair. Its consistency is used for open-air highlights which is why there is no need for foils. Once the clay based bleach dries, it stops working, which avoids the worry of over-processing and damaging your hair.

What is balayage?Source: Love Hairstyles

Ombré vs. Balayage

You may be thinking that this technique sounds similar to the ombré styles that took over the world a while back. While this is sort of true, there are some key differences between the ombre hair and balayage hair.

The main difference is the process of dyeing the hair. With balayage, the hair colorist paints the dye directly onto the hair strands, leaving a natural blend. On the other hand, ombré is completed by bleaching the bottom half of your hair and dyeing a lighter shade on top using foils, a more traditional dyeing method.

The word ombré means "shade" in French, and 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.

The great thing about ombré hair, is that it requires relatively no upkeep. Because the color is supposed to look like it's been dip-dyed, even as your hair grows out, you never need to worry about a root touch up!

Difference Between Balayage And OmbreSource: Pinterest

Where Did Balayage Begin?

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 the recent years. Of course, we can thank celebs like Chrissy Teigen, Jessica Alba, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and Olivia Palermo for popularizing balayage. As we can all agree, these women are serious #hairgoals.

Balayage Hair
Source: Pinterest

4 Reasons To Consider Balayage

1) Lighten Up for Warmer Seasons

If you are looking for a bit of a hair change-up for spring and summer, balayage may be the answer to your hair prayers. Spring is the perfect time to add a natural glow and lighter tone to your hair moving into the summer months. Not only will you look like you've spent the early part of the year on a tropical island, but balayage grows out beautifully, leaving you free to change up your hair again if you wish. 

2) Added Color Dimension

Balayage adds beautiful color dimension to your hair in the most natural way. If you are apprehensive about dying your hair or nervous about a dramatic change, balayage is the perfect way to meet in the middle. You know the way the sun catches the light and dark tones in your hair that you didn't even know your hair had? Balayage does the same thing but, well, permanently. 

3) It’s Low Maintenance

Typically, people avoid dying their hair because of the maintenance that follows to keep their hair strong and healthy and to keep the color looking fresh. Because of the way balayage is hand-painted onto the hair, however, the dye grows out seamlessly and there are no harsh growth lines. This means less trips to the salon and less need to continuously re-dye your hair! If you invest in some quality color care hair products, you will be all set.

4) It’s Suitable For All Hair Types

Balayage for curly hairSource: Pinterest

What we love about balayage is that works great on all hair types. Whether your hair color is dark or light, or your hair type is wavy, straight, curly, short or long, balayage will most likely suit your hair, as long as you have the right hair colorist working the dye. If you have a great colorist, they will know exactly shades will work best for your hair color and face shape, creating a dye job unique to just your hair.

So, You're Ready To Explore The World Of Balayage?

Here's What To Ask Your Hairstylist

Consulting with your hairstylist before making the commitment to dye your hair is extremely important, to give them a chance to advise you on which shades to go with, as well as for you to get a feel for them. Most hair salons offer free consultations, so don't be afraid to ask for one. Some questions to ask right of the bat include what kind of application is unique to your hair type, where they will start dyeing or bleaching the hair, and what colors they see working well for you.

Balayage HairSource: Pinterest

We also recommend checking out your salon or hair colorist's Instagram page, as this will tell you a lot about the work they do. If you notice that every client’s balayage application looks exactly the same, this may not be the right salon for you. Balayage is supposed to be unique to each person based on hair texture, color and style of haircut. This is why that first consultation with the stylist beforehand is so important. 

Make sure to bring along some solid hair inspo so that your stylist is able to let you know if this is something you can successfully achieve for your hair type. So, get pinning on Pinterest, ladies!

Balayage Hair With Hair Extensions

Balayage Hair

If you're still hesitant to take the plunge to dye your hair, you can achieve this look with some strategically placed hair extensions. Luxy Hair offers a beautiful Blonde Balayage shade, which naturally transitions from Dirty Blonde at the top, to a sun-kissed Ash Blonde at the bottom. This is a great option if you want to test out the look and try it out for a little while before making the commitment to fully dyeing your hair. Even more fun, save this style for a special night out and totally transform your look in just a few minutes!

So, are you ready to transform your hair? Do you currently have a balayage hair color? Which balayage shades would you like to see Luxy Hair create? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. 

Written by: Natalie Alysa

Products used in this tutorial:

Seamless Blonde Balayage

Length: 20" inches

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Luxy Hair

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