Many of us have probably seen it but didn’t know what Balayage hair was. Celebrities have worn Balayage style hair color for years, and the technique has become popular as people are looking for summer-like, sun-kissed looks to brighten up their winter hair.


What Is Balayage?

The Skinny on Balayage

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Balayage is a way to highlight hair where the dye is painted directly onto the hair by hand. By brushing on the coloring by hand, the color disperses more naturally, and a graduated and more natural look is achieved.

Although Balayage has been around for a while at this point, it still resurfaces regularly as a trend in hair coloring, and the number one question is always “What is Balayage?” Balayage hair tends to look more natural, and regrowth is less noticeable due to the blended colors and the technique used.

There are many colors that can be used with the Balayage technique, and the combinations are essentially endless. Natural shades work just as well as brightly colored ones, and even a grey is a viable option for blending.

The result has often been described as sun-kissed, and it’s been a favorite option among celebrities forever. Individual portions of the hair are highlighted, and others are made darker, but together they form an overall cohesive look.

With regrowth being less noticeable, Balayage can be a great way to extend the life of your color and save money at the salon. Balayage is French and means to sweep or paint which is how hair dye is applied to achieve this kind of coloring.

If you want to give your color a refresh, but don’t want to start from scratch with the process, Balayage can help layer in some new color without making it look choppy. Balayage is unique as it is painted onto the surface of the hair and is not meant to soak all the way through.

By painting on the surface, softer layers of color can be applied, and the technique requires no foil to be used which saves tons of time. Balayage can also be something that you can do at home yourself with a little practice, and many hair coloring kits are perfect for the application.


How Does Balayage Work?

How Does Balayage Work

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Balayage works by layering on thin layers of colored hair dye to create soft highlights and lowlights throughout the hair. A sun-kissed look, this technique is a time saver and doesn’t require multiple steps involving repeated dying.

If you plan to do multiple colors, then it may be best to have the treatment done at the salon by a professional that knows how to effectively layer the colors and prevent areas from being too dark or too light.

One round of subtle Balayage highlights will take about 45 minutes, but more significant sections, longer hair, or more colors will make it take significantly longer. Some sources say that you can expect to spend up to 3 hours in the salon chair if you want a sophisticated, multi-colored Balayage dye job.

What primarily sets Balayage apart is that there is no foil used, and the color doesn’t permeate the whole head of hair to make it one color. Instead, wispy sections are separated out and colored lightly with dye in a painting or sweeping like motion.

One thing to watch out for is the tendency to get stripy looking color when two very different colors are used. You’ll want to choose a series of shades that are closer together to prevent any harsh contrast.

While harsh contrasting colors are something to be avoided, don’t be afraid to use the Balayage technique to add highlights to compliment your face, or distract attention away from other features. The painted effect of Balayage is very versatile and can lend itself well to any face shape or hair type.


Balayage Hair Color

Balayage has become the classic look on the red carpet as it offers the gentle highlights that show up well under bright lighting. It’s also a great way to lighten your hair subtly, without entirely covering your natural hue.

Celebrities like Jessica Biel, Amber Heard, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez are all known to be fans of the Balayage coloring technique, and many of them have used it for years to add hints of different color to their ever-changing looks.

Balayage Hair Colors

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Balayage hair color does not tend to require the same amount of maintenance that other hair color techniques do because it’s so well blended and provides an uneven gradient of color that looks very natural.

Even if your color turns brassier over time, you can still use Balayage to correct it and refresh the color to another shade of your choosing. Balayage is so versatile that you won’t need to undergo complete bleaching to darken your color, but some strands may require lightening if you want to switch to a lighter hue.

Even if your hair has gone grey, there is still less maintenance to use the Balayage technique for hair dye. As the grey part begins to show, it can be artistically blended with the other gradients of color in your hair, and as the growth continues, it will start to look naturally highlighted.

Maintenance for a Balayage hair color can also include a gloss or toner which will refresh the overall tone and color without requiring you to start over. It will lighten the highlights and soften the low lights so that the entire gradient is once again evenly distributed and has less contrast.


Hair Types

Balayage will work for all hair types and works perfectly well on both light and dark hair. Even if you have short hair, you can still use this technique to add layers and dimensional color. For longer hair, Balayage can be a great for those with longer locks, as more color can be distributed for a more significant effect.

Curly hair can also work very well with the Balayage technique as individual curls can be highlighted, or specific sections can be highlighted that tend to look particularly well. Hair with texture tends to have the best look as it creates a beachy like a hairstyle that isn’t meant to be perfect and is easy to achieve with minimal time and effort.

If you have very short hair that has minimal length, then Balayage may not be the best option for you. Without enough hair to apply the dye it can be challenging to get the overall look right, and the highlights can be too stark in contrast with your regrowth.

Hair Types Balayage Hair Colors

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A Lasting Look

Balayage can last a long time as the regrowth you have will blend into the gradient of your hair and create a more natural and purposeful look. The blended finish also does a great job of covering greys so even if you don’t dye your whole head you can still enjoy this look.

Some people report being able to visit their salon every four months to get their Balayage hair color touched up, while others can go longer if their hair grows out more slowly and is less faded.

Colored hair will fade over time, and some people will have their hair turn brassy which is shared with specific colors. While this is normal, it’s also important to use the right products to extend the length of time that hair dye stays in your hair.

By using the right products, you can prevent fading, and keep your color looking vibrant. As your hair regrows, you may notice that your natural color is more saturated than the dyed parts. This is also normal, and your salon can help you decide if you need additional toning or gloss treatments.


Why Is Balayage Trending?

Balayage is trending because it is a unique way to dye hair, and partly because it has become the standard for many celebrities. Red carpet appearances can be very demanding, and the harsh lights can put flat hair coloring to the test. Balayage works to achieve a more layered look, which will always look better under the scrutiny of bright lights.

Balayage also creates a unique look for each person that gets their hair colored, and no two coloring jobs will be precisely the same. Balayage is a great way to personalize your look, minimize the maintenance, and stay out of the salon as long as possible which can also save you money and time.

It’s also important to note that Balayage can come in a variety of forms, from the very subtle to the very bold, and colors can vary wildly depending on preferences. Lately, there has been a resurgence in bold, non-natural hair colors such as blues, greens, and feminine shades of purple and pink.

While these colors are not as traditional as blonde Balayage, or brown Balayage hair shades, all Balayage hair is dyed roughly the same way. More vibrant hues not found in nature may be more difficult to achieve, and regrowth may be more prominent, but the soft gradient effect is still possible.

Most individuals stick to natural shades for their Balayage hair color, and this means that they’ll be able to enjoy the full benefits that come along with the technique.