The Beginner's Guide to Balayage

By Blair Golden

By Blair Golden

Though Balayage has been around for a while, this timeless technique is creeping its way back into fashion and has quickly become one of the most sought-after color services in modern-day salons. Balayage creates a bespoke, personalized, and natural color finish. Since its so customizable, your finish can be subtle or bold depending on your hair goals. This ability to take control of your look is why this has become such a sought-after style.

So What is Balayage Anyway?

Balayage is a free hand, custom hair coloring technique that gives a blended, highly natural looking Sun-kissed effect. There should be no harsh or obvious regrowth line making this a low maintenance style. The technique uses patches of light and shade to create multiple dimensions to the color.

This is a great option for those wanting to refresh your color without going for a complete color overhaul.

How is Balayage Applied?


The word balayage comes from a french word meaning to paint or sweep. As its name implies, balayage is color painted free-hand on the surface of the hair strand. This creates a smooth and blended stroke of color. This customized technique uses no foils to create the highlights

How Long Does the Process Take?

Because of the custom nature of the service, the length of time for the application can vary from a quick 45 minutes for some babylights to 2-3 Hours for a dynamic, dimensional look. The benefit of this stylist is that you can leave longer gaps in between color appointments

What is the Difference Between a Balayage and Traditional Highlights?

Unlike a traditional color with foils, balayage is painted Freehand. The end result is less uniform and more expressive than a typical highlight. Unlike the sometimes stripey color effect of highlights, balayage is bespoke and can add dimension and even distract or accentuate away certain features on your face!

Does Balayage Work for All Hair Types?


Other than super short cuts like buzz-cuts or pixies, balayage works for all hair lengths. The awesome thing about balayage is that you can start with a colored short look, like a bob, and have it seamlessly blend into a longer style as your hair grows out.

Balayage is a great option for both light and dark hair depending on how light you are trying to go. The only thing it will not cover is grey hair- it will only help blend and disguise grey. The style works well for straight, wavy, curly and kinky hair types

How Long Does Balayage last?

Perhaps the biggest perk of balayage is the fact that you do not have to worry about upkeep the way you would with traditional color. The hand-painted, blended effect of the technique means that your hair will grow in seamlessly with the color allowing you to maintain a natural look for longer.

What is the Difference Between Ombre and Balayage?

Ombre has a more defined contrast between the roots and tips of the hair with color starting mid-way down the strands. Ombre is a more noticeable look as compared to balayage.

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