Explain it to Me: Balayage

Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale

You have either heard of or seen this type of hair coloring being used by many A-list celebrities and probably you, or your friends, have even tried this technique out. This popular technique has been around for ages but is finally making a comeback in force to give everyone that sun kissed looked year round. But, here is the question, what exactly is it and how does it work?

What is balayage? 

Balayage is a French word meaning to sweep or to paint. By painting the coloring, it allows for a sun-kissed natural looking hair color with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. The general idea being, the balayage pieces should be very close and fine at the roots as you move down the hair you will see the highlights get thicker giving off the sun-kissed vibe. 

How is it applied? 

Balayage is applied on the surface and should never be saturated through the section until the very tips. If the coloring is applied heavily throughout, then it leads to large streaks of color instead of the soft transition of color. Balayage also requires no tinfoil, which has led some stylists to call it the freehand technique.

What sets it apart from traditional hair coloring? 

The coloring should always match or compliment your skin tone to give it a natural look. Again, this technique gives off the idea you may have spent many hours in the sun to get those natural shifts in color. You should always talk to your stylist and see what they can do!

Balayage also has less upkeep than your typical coloring technique. Instead of visiting the salon ever 6-8 weeks, now you just need to come in every 12-14 weeks! The only exception is with gray hairs you will still need to come in regularly to touch up the roots as they grow out.

How long does it take?

Typically, a full head of hair takes about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how fast your hairdresser is at the technique. What you will find is that doing a balayage is much faster than your typical foil treatment.