Everything You Need to Know About Balayage

You may be asking yourself, what is balayage hair? Can balayage be done at home? How do you choose the right hairstylist for balayage? We've got you covered with all these questions and more. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the balayage, why it's so popular, and the do's and dont's to achieve celebrity-status hair.
Balayage has become one of the most coveted requests in hair salons worldwide. While balayage may have exploded in popularity in the past few years, the dyeing technique has been around for quite some time, only recently sneaking its way into modern hair salons. Over the years, hairstylists have perfected the art of balayage, even going on to make a name for themselves based on their balayage technique and expertise. As celebrities and supermodels alike show off their sunkissed, softly melting hair color, it's safe to say, balayage hair is here to stay.

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 with no obvious or harsh lines. Balayage uses various tones of light and dark to create multiple dimensions of color, leaving the hair with a blended, natural, sunkissed glow.
The most appealing thing about balayage is that the color can be customized completely to your hair color and hair type. By strategically freehand painting the hair, you can highlight or even detract from certain features of your face, and you can be sure that no one else out there has the exact same hair color as you.

Where did balayage originate?

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.

What is the difference between balayage and highlights?

Unlike traditional foil highlights, balayage is freehand painted directly onto the surface of the hair and is not saturated right through the section. Remember those "stripey" highlights that were ever so popular in the early 2000s? Balayage does quite the opposite. Because balayage is painted by hand, the highlights are less consistent. This results in the softer progression of the dye, leaving a beautiful, natural multi-toned color. This also ensures that the highlights work in tandem with your haircut and natural growth patterns.

Is balayage right for you?

The creative possibilities are endless with balayage—you just need to decide how big of a change you'd like and how daring you're feeling. Balayage is a more gentle foray into the world of dyeing, if you have never had your hair dyed. It is also a good idea to look at how you usually style your hair, as this may dictate whether you opt for balayage or its counterpart. For example, balayage looks beautiful when finished with beachy, flowing waves, while a strong bob haircut or straight hair would show off more drastic color blocking. Regardless, consult with your hair colorist before your appointment to ensure that you are making a decision that feels right for you and your lifestyle.

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