Balayage Hair | 18 Questions You Always Wanted To Ask (2023)

If you look in any magazine these days, chances are there’s a celebrity rocking balayage hair. Sun-kissed locks that look fabulous, no matter the haircut or colour. Good news is, you don’t need to be a celebrity to have balayage.

Balayage might be a term you’ve heard but unsure of what it is. That’s ok because we’ve got the answers to 18 questions about balayage so you can walk into your local hairdressing salon and know exactly what you want.

Read more: 6 Stunning Balayage Colours For Brown Hair

1. WHAT IS BALAYAGE?

Balayage is a French word. It comes from the verb ‘balayer” (pronounced bal-ai-ay) to sweep, scan or brush. This technique is meant to mimic a child’s hair that has been lightened on the mid-length and ends by summer sun. Balayage is perfect if you want to refresh your colour but you don’t want to go for a bold colour overhaul.

(Video) How To Tell Your Hair Dresser EXACTLY What You Want // Get Your Best Hair Color! // Daniella Benita

2. HOW IS BALAYAGE APPLIED?

Balayage is like painting softly on the surface without painting the entire section of hair. Involving very light strokes, colour is swept through small, triangular sections of hair onto a board or foil, resulting in a seamless blend of the highlights and your natural hair colour.

3. HOW LONG DOES THE BALAYAGE PROCESS TAKE?

The balayage effect works on the depth of colour, so time is an important factor. Balayage is a faster process than a full head of foils, so it should take between 30 minutes to 1 hour to apply. Traditional foils take at least an hour.

Achieving a multi-tonal, layered balayage effect can take longer compared to regular colour, but there are benefits to this. It means that you will usually be able to leave a longer time period between hair colour appointments.

4. HOW IS BALAYAGE DIFFERENT TO TRADITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS?

Traditional highlights are when sections of hair are woven and lightened from the root through to the ends leaving some natural hair in between. Specific sectioning techniques are used to make sure hair is evenly highlighted so it doesn’t have a streaky result. The woven sections of hair are usually folded into foils to keep them isolated from the other hair.

Balayage is quite different from traditional highlights. No foil is used and the colour is painted on freehand. The finished result is less uniform than typical highlights. If you’ve ever been worried about having stripy colour after a visit to the hairdressers, balayage is a sure way to avoid that harsh contrast between colours – especially if you’re going blonder.

The colour created is totally bespoke to you and can even be placed in a way to complement or distract attention away from certain features on the face. If you want to make your jaw or cheekbones look more prominent, then using correct sections and shapes within sections can achieve this effect.

5. WHY IS BALAYAGE SO POPULAR?

Balayage has been around since the 1970s, so what’s making it so popular recently? Ever since celebrities were spotted with this look, there has been a surge in interest. We love the way it looks on Ana De Armas.

Balayage is also very popular because it requires little maintenance. It grows out more naturally and re-growth is less obvious. This means that you will have gorgeous looking hair for longer between appointments. What’s more, because you aren’t completely covering all of your hair in bleach or colour, there will less damage and dryness, meaning softer, healthier hair.

Balayage Hair | 18 Questions You Always Wanted To Ask (1)

(Video) Who Should Wear a Balayage??? What You Need To Know About This Hair Color Trend!

6. DO I NEED TO HAVE LONG HAIR TO HAVE BALAYAGE?

Absolutely not. Just because you don’t have long hair don’t think you can’t achieve the look. No matter how short your hair is balayage can still look fabulous. If you’ve got a pixie style haircut, balayage is easier than highlights. Partial balayage on random strands or highlighting the front tips is a good idea. We love Scarlett Johannson’s blonde balayage.

Balayage Hair | 18 Questions You Always Wanted To Ask (2)

7. WHAT’S A BABYLIGHT?

If you want to make your balayage last as long as possible, then choose a babylight. Babylights are very fine, subtle highlights. If you’ve got very fine hair and want some noticeable highlights but nothing as dramatic as ombre or as thick as balayage, then this is the best option for you.

8. HOW LONG DOES BALAYAGE LAST?

One of the biggest advantages of this style is that it doesn’t require as much upkeep as traditional colour. The blended finish means you can leave longer gaps between your salon appointments, and depending on the style you choose, you can leave it up to four months between top-ups.

9. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OMBRE AND BALAYAGE?

Balayage is a totally blended hair look. There are no lines or blocks of colour and the graduation between shades is much more subtle. Some lengths of the hair are kept darker for a seamless colour finish.

Ombre (meaning “shaded” in French) hair has a more defined contrast between the roots and tips of the hair with colour starting mid-way down the strands. Ombre colour is a more noticeable, statement look compared to balayage. The style works for all colours but it won’t cover grey hair. Ombre will only help blend in the grey to disguise it. So, if you want full coverage for greys, traditional hair colour techniques might work better for you. Ombre is a lot harder to maintain and harder to grow out if you change your mind.

What’s more, ombre is fast going out of style. Balayage is a much more popular option these days.

(Video) How I charge for Balayage as an independent hair stylist!

10. DOES BALAYAGE COVER GREY HAIR?

The answer is “it depends”. If you don’t want to see a “single white hair” then only regular root colouring will take care of that. With balayage and more modern highlighting techniques, the lighter you are naturally, the lighter you want to go with the balayage for best results. Someone who is 100% grey should go with blonde colours and tones. If you have less than 30% or more than 80% grey hair, then balayage will yield the best results. If the percentage of your grey hair falls between these percentages, balayage will still yield great results in terms of colour, however, grey root regrowth will still be a problem.

Bottom line, if only a few greys are present, then balayage may “camouflage” the greys enough for longer times between colouring.

11. DOES BALAYAGE DAMAGE HAIR?

The use of foils and heat to set colour in traditional colouring techniques can over-process the hair and you might end up with your hair looking a little bit brassy. However, most colourists would agree that in a controlled environment, balayage is arguably less damaging.

12. HOW CAN I GROW OUT BALAYAGE?

The great thing about balayage highlights is that they grow out very naturally. This means that there’s no regrowth line, so you don’t have to worry about visiting the salon regularly for touch-ups.

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13. HOW CAN I MAINTAIN BALAYAGE HAIR?

Balayage is an investment in your time and money, so you want to make sure that your highlights last for as long as possible. There are a couple of things you can do to maintain the balayage effect.

Regular deep-conditioning treatments such as Olaplex is really going to help keep your hair in tip-top condition by building and restoring broken bonds. If you are going to condition your hair at home, it’s best not to leave conditioner on for longer than 30 minutes because this can leave your hair too soft.

Avoid shampoos with sulphates and conditioners with silicones. Products that contain natural oils like argan oil work best. Head over to your local hairdressing salon and ask them for sulphate-free products that would work best for you. Or check out your local chemist or supermarket. These products are much easier to find these days due to the increase in awareness about how damaging these chemicals are, not only to you but to the environment.

(Video) What To Ask Your Hairstylist! Blended Balayage + Lob!

14. IS BALAYAGE BETTER THAN FOILS?

It really depends on the look you want. Balayage lasts longer, and root regrowth isn’t so obvious but the roots will be darker than the ends.

On the other hand, foils give a cleaner less patchy look overall depending on how close the colour is to your natural colour. Foils are best for overall colour, especially if you are going for a complete change.

15. WHAT IS BRONDE BALAYAGE?

If you are looking to achieve graduated highlights from brunette to blonde, the “bronde” balayage is for you.

16. WHAT IS TIGER EYE BALAYAGE?

The tiger’s eye balayage is perfect for brunettes. This effect takes its name from the tiger’s eye gemstone which has a golden to red-brown colour and a silky lustre. This effect will give darker hair an effortless lift.

17. CAN I HAVE BALAYAGE IF I HAVE BROWN HAIR?

Yes, of course. Balayage works on brown hair too. There are endless possibilities and colours to choose from. All you have to decide is if you want to go for a softer look or if you want a pop of colour.

Balayage is perfect for brunettes who want to keep their natural shade, yet crave a new, refreshing look that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.

18. DOES BALAYAGE LOOK GOOD ON RED HAIR?

Balayage looks amazing on red hair. It’s great if you love your red hair and just want to enhance it with a natural-looking highlight.

However, if you are a redhead and you’d rather not be, then balayage can bring out other tones.

But, a word of caution. Red hair can be stubborn, so the lightening process will almost certainly involve bleach, a high-level peroxide or both. Look for a salon that uses non-ammonia bleach and gentler non-toxic colouring agents. Otherwise, the colour might look great initially, but not when your hair dries out.

(Video) Is Balayage hair color low maintenance? Advice on what to ask for to suite your lifestyle!

Destan Tezel is a head stylist and colour expert at salon, Childs Hill, North London.

FAQs

What you should know about balayage? ›

Contrary to popular belief, balayage is a color application technique, rather than a specific color itself. The word translates to "sweep" or "paint" in French. Bright around the face, blended at the roots, lighter ends, and effortlessly natural are all descriptors of balayage hair.

What kind of balayage should I ask for? ›

Balayage for pale skin: blonde, red and light brown or dark brown balayage will work best. Balayage for medium skin tone: avoid any light colours that can wash out the skin. Stick to warm blondes and soft browns if you want a lighter hue. The ideal colours for you would be chocolate browns and reds.

What are 3 techniques used on balayage? ›

Below, we outline three really important balayage application techniques that can help you step up your hair painting game: The C-Motion™, The Glide & Slide™, and The Backflip™.

What questions should I ask a hair colorist? ›

7 Questions to Ask Your Hairstylist Before You Color Your Hair
  • Does This Color Work For Me? ...
  • What Is The Maintenance Like For This Haircolor/Trend? ...
  • What Should I Do At Home To Maintain My Haircolor? ...
  • How Long Will The Results Last? ...
  • Can The Haircolor Cause Irritation? ...
  • How Often Should I Wash My Hair?
14 Mar 2017

How long do balayage lasts? ›

How long does Balayage last in your hair? One of the greatest advantages of Balayage is how long it lasts. Traditional foil highlights require touch ups every few weeks, whereas Balayage will last 3-4 months on average.

Which is healthier balayage or highlights? ›

Although they can both damage the hair, in the long term, balayage is more damaging because you have to use a higher developer and layer the lightener more in order to achieve the desired result.

How often should balayage be touched up? ›

In general, we recommend scheduling a balayage touch up every 12-14 weeks. Root growth should be fairly subtle, giving you more flexibility in the exact timing. To protect your colour between appointments, talk to your master stylist about which highlight-enhancing shampoos they recommend.

What does a full balayage include? ›

A full balayage is a technique where highlights are added throughout your entire mane. This is an ideal yet popular treatment for those who want an all-over lightened hair without the constant maintenance that comes with root grow out.

What's the difference between a balayage and a balayage? ›

Balayage involves sweeping lightener down the mid-lengths and ends of the hair to create that beautifully blended look we all know and love. Foilyage involves the same sweeping method, however, sections of hair are wrapped in foil instead of being left to air dry.

How do you keep balayage looking good? ›

If your balayage color is on the blonde side, use a purple shampoo to keep the color fresh and remove any brassiness. If your balayage color is more on the caramel or blonde side, use a color depositing product in the shade closest to yours. This will maintain that fresh out of the salon color for weeks to come.

What are balayage layers? ›

Simply put, balayage is a highlighting technique that doesn't use foils. Instead, your hair colorist will hand-paint color directly onto your hair, creating more natural, blended, sun-kissed color.

How do I prepare for my first balayage? ›

How Should I Prepare For My Balayage Hair Colour Appointment? Make sure you have a patch test 48 hours before your appointment. Make sure your hair is clean and don't over use products before you come in. Bring photos of how you would like your Balayage to look so we know what effect you would like.

What should you not do after balayage? ›

Too much washing may end up damaging the quality of your balayage. When you wash your hair every single day, the beautiful colour in your hair will fade more quickly. Ideally, you shouldn't wash your balayage hair for more than 2 or 3 times each week. Remember to use a conditioner to keep your hair healthy.

When should I wash my hair after balayage? ›

To keep them looking on point, though, you might need to adjust your hair care routine, and this includes washing. After a highlight or balayage appointment, it's good to wait between 48 and 72 hours before washing your hair.

Is balayage easy to mess up? ›

Balayage is an art that needs to be perfected and is easy to create a mess until you have,” he says. However, if you've had a balayage process that doesn't look like your IG inspo, talk your colorist through it instead of hating on them.

Does balayage go to the roots? ›

But because balayage is applied to different sections of the hair, there's no regrowth line at the root. A well-executed balayage should therefore grow out invisibly: six months down the line your highlights will be lower down the face but still look amazing, with no visible roots.

What is reverse balayage? ›

Reverse balayage, as the name implies, is the "reverse" of balayage (AKA, lightening up your hairstyle with a "painting" or "sweeping" technique) by adding lowlights and darker strands instead, usually to reintroduce depth into a blonde, light style.

Does balayage break hair? ›

But does it damage your hair? Yes, balayage does damage your hair. But this process uses artificial color to include streaks into your toned locks, so it's not as damaging as harsh chemicals and bleach.

How many washes does Balayage last? ›

Balayage hair can last up to 4 months with proper care.

The aim is to create a natural, sunkissed effect, and it can be produced on any length of hair, from long waves to short pixie haircuts, as well as onto colour.

Is it hard to maintain Balayage? ›

It is actually quite easy to maintain balayage hair color, and it lasts for a really long time. It is so low-maintenance that you do not need to go regularly to the salon for touch-ups as with other highlights on your hair. This is because it grows out naturally, so there is no obvious regrowth line.

Are there different types of balayage? ›

As mentioned, there are different types of balayage you can choose from. You can visit a hair highlights salon to choose the best color technique that will suit your style and taste. The most popular one is the full balayage, wherein the entire hair is highlighted.

How many levels does balayage lift? ›

Generally speaking, balayage tends to be best for: Clients requiring four levels of lift or less: Balayage can typically get you about 4 levels of lift in a single session, which means that it isn't always the best route for those guests who need intense brightness or want a dramatic shift in their color.

Is balayage full head or half head? ›

Traditionally, a full balayage involves applying highlights all over the hair. But a partial or half head balayage only covers the top layer of hair and not its entirety.

Does balayage use bleach? ›

As with all highlighting techniques, balayage requires lightening — and that means you'll need to have your hair bleached. Bleaching your hair can cause damage, so it's important to make sure you take care of your strands pre- and post-balayage, not only to make the color last but to keep your hair healthy.

Does balayage cover all hair? ›

Balayage can be applied as a full balayage throughout all of your hair to give you the lighter look all-around without needing to maintain inevitable root grow-out as you would for other lightening methods. It can also be done as a partial, or mini, balayage, such as only around the face or upper area of your hair.

What is the purpose of balayage? ›

Pronounced BAH-LEE-AHGE, balayage is actually a French word meaning 'sweeping,' as in to sweep on a hair lightener to create highlights. Balayage is the technique of free-hand painting highlights onto the hair, creating a soft and natural gradation of lightness towards the ends.

How do you prevent balayage damage? ›

The main rule is to sparingly wash your balayage hair. If you wash it too much, that can damage the balayage's quality. When you wash your hair every day, the hair color you have is going to fade a lot quicker. The idea is that you must only wash your balayage-treated hair not more than 3 times a week.

Does a balayage fade over time? ›

Because a balayage involves lightening certain sections of your hair, the effect is permanent, although the colour might fade slightly after a few months if not looked after properly (see further down for how to get long-lasting bright colour).

Is balayage better on clean or dirty hair? ›

You shouldn't wash your hair beforehand. If you're adding highlights with balayage, you should come with oily hair to protect the scalp. But if you're getting a single process, it's better to come with clean hair to help the color hold, Scrivo says.

What does a good balayage look like? ›

"A good balayage is all about placement and blending. Having contrast between the light and dark tones is what creates natural looking, lived-in dimension," says Blais. "A good balayage blends seamlessly from dark hues to the lightest, leaving the color looking soft with no harsh lines."

Does balayage touch the scalp? ›

Finally, since Balayage highlights sit directly on the hair and not the scalp, they can be safely done on pregnant women and those with allergies to hair color. This is truly the safest, most versatile, and lowest-maintenance option for women who want beautiful highlights in their hair.

What is Teasy light balayage? ›

WHAT ARE TEASY LIGHTS? Simply put, teasy lights are a combination of balayage highlights and traditional foil highlights. What gives them their name is the fact that the hair is teased prior to your colorist hand-painting bleach where you'd like your highlights to be placed.

What should you not say to your hair stylist? ›

9 Things You Should Never Say To Your Hairstylist
  • "We Can Skip The Consultation — I Trust You!" ...
  • "I Love It!" (But Deep Down, You Don't) ...
  • "Why Can't I Make It Look This Good At Home?" ...
  • "I Want To Be Blonde, But Not Too Blonde — I Don't Have A Photo With Me." ...
  • "I'm Fine!" (But You Actually Aren't)
20 May 2016

How do you tell your colorist what you want? ›

Follow these nine steps for talking to your stylist, and you're guaranteed to get the hair color of your dreams!
  1. Show AND Tell. ...
  2. Be Yourself. ...
  3. And Be Realistic. ...
  4. Understand the Skin in the Game. ...
  5. Be Aware of the Condition Your Hair Is In. ...
  6. Learn Some Language. ...
  7. Don't Keep Secrets. ...
  8. Be Clear About the Future.
10 Mar 2017

What should I talk about with my hair stylist? ›

Hair-related topics
  • What do you like/dislike about your hair?
  • What do you feel takes up too much time in your hair routine?
  • How do you usually style your hair?
  • What products do you use? ...
  • Have you ever done XYZ before? ...
  • Are there any treatments you have always been curious about?
5 Apr 2021

What is an open question in hairdressing? ›

Ask open questions about lifestyle, how much time the client spends on his/her hair and what the client wants to achieve with their look. Ask about their best and worst haircuts, ask how brave they are feeling.

Is balayage very damaging to hair? ›

DOES BALAYAGE DAMAGE YOUR HAIR? Most colourists would agree that balayage is arguably less damaging than conventional colouring techniques which use foils and heat to set the colour, meaning you're less likely to end up with brassy, over-processed hair.

What should you not do before balayage? ›

You shouldn't wash your hair beforehand. If you're adding highlights with balayage, you should come with oily hair to protect the scalp. But if you're getting a single process, it's better to come with clean hair to help the color hold, Scrivo says.

Is a balayage hard to maintain? ›

Balayage hair is relatively low maintenance because the technique doesn't interact with your roots. Once applied, the colouring will remain in your hair without frequent follow-up visits to the salon.

Is balayage a lot of maintenance? ›

A balayage is a great low-maintenance hair color option if you're looking for a subtle refresh in your hair. Ask your stylist for their opinion on what highlight colors would best suit your natural color. A balayage with a deeper root color will grow out seamlessly without harsh lines.

Who shouldn't balayage? ›

Who Shouldn't Get Balayage. While balayage works with almost all hair types, colors and textures, it's not recommended for those with heavily highlighted hair. “This hair type will require the hair to be partially darkened and then highlighted,” says Papanikolis.

Does balayage touch the root? ›

The balayage technique usually does not touch the roots, especially if you have naturally dark hair color. So for those with naturally dark hair, the answer is no. Balayage will not damage your roots because part of the balayage technique is to maintain naturally dark roots.

Can balayage be touched up? ›

Balayage. Hair grows fast — about an inch per month. So techniques, like balayage, which involve hand painting the hair and not going all the way to your roots, help you to get a gorgeous look with less maintenance. In general, we recommend scheduling a balayage touch up every 12-14 weeks.

How long should you not wash your hair after Balayage? ›

To keep them looking on point, though, you might need to adjust your hair care routine, and this includes washing. After a highlight or balayage appointment, it's good to wait between 48 and 72 hours before washing your hair.

How do you prevent Balayage damage? ›

The main rule is to sparingly wash your balayage hair. If you wash it too much, that can damage the balayage's quality. When you wash your hair every day, the hair color you have is going to fade a lot quicker. The idea is that you must only wash your balayage-treated hair not more than 3 times a week.

How do you keep balayage looking fresh? ›

If your balayage color is on the blonde side, use a purple shampoo to keep the color fresh and remove any brassiness. If your balayage color is more on the caramel or blonde side, use a color depositing product in the shade closest to yours. This will maintain that fresh out of the salon color for weeks to come.

How do I maintain my hair after balayage? ›

Any time bleach is involved, it is stripping your hair of color and damaging it. Your balayage ends will be dry (and sometimes brittle) over time, so you need to baby your hair! In addition to using conditioner in the shower, you'll need to apply leave-in-conditioner on your balayage ends after every shower.

Does balayage wash out? ›

Because a balayage involves lightening certain sections of your hair, the effect is permanent, although the colour might fade slightly after a few months if not looked after properly (see further down for how to get long-lasting bright colour).

Can you swim with balayage? ›

Apply Conditioner before Swimming

When your hair gets wet, its cuticles open up and allow salt or chlorine to enter the hair shafts. This not only causes your hair to dry out; it will have a negative effect on your balayage treatment as well.

Should I use purple shampoo on my balayage? ›

The same can be said for blonde hair with purple shampoo - blondes who also have highlights, balayage, ombre, foils, streaks, all-over lightened or any other element of hair lightening, you need purple shampoo to neutralise yellow tones.

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