Balayage, French for painting or sweeping, is the newest buzzword in hair coloring and a look you have seen on countless celebrities. In this technique color is painted on to hair shafts freehand, rather than highlighting with foil, creating a multi-toned look that appears natural and luxurious. Who wouldn’t want to imply they just spent a few weeks on a beach? The look is youthful and makes hair tones look richer and shinier so they catch the light better. It is more subtle and natural than ombre or sombre hair techniques and suits more styles, textures, and colors.
Since the technique requires a trained hair colorist, it isn’t something you can try for yourself at home, but the investment is worth it since it is low maintenance as it grows out. No need to worry about your roots showing since that is exactly the point: the hair has ribbons of color applied to the lower half of the growth so your natural color stays on top, and face-framing lighter or warmer tones are applied to the bottom half of the hair.
Balayage works on all but very short hair lengths, and all textures and colors. It looks sleek and sophisticated on long, straight, shiny hair, and naturally sexy when hair has waves. Use shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for color-treated hair, and protect your color when using heated appliances.
The color-mixing options are as endless as you are bold, so balayage suits just about everyone. Mid-length to longer hair looks current if the hair has texture and if the lower half of the hair is cut in a choppy fashion. Brunettes can use lighter tones to look like they just spent the summer at the beach, or caramel tones to add warmth and depth, while adding blonde tones makes a statement.
If you are not into highlights and a novice with hair coloring, you can start with simply having a colorist work on only the bottom three or so inches of you hair in a tone that is slightly lighter than your hair color, and follow up by waving the bottom sections of the hair for a little volume to catch the light. Balayge on blonde hair creates a sun-kissed look and looks great when the lighter sections frame the face, having a brightening effect on the complexion. Naturally grey hair looks amazing with balayage as it creates dimension and depth that is more apt to capture the light. It also makes the hair greying process an easier transition since it mixes various tones and colors in an intentional way. If you are bold with a capitol B then rainbow colors might be just the thing to make sure you don’t blend in with the crowd. Think of Kelly Osborne! This woman is an original!
An easy way to play with colors and tones on a whim, or to match a fashion look – think blogger style one day, haute hippie-chic the next, is with hair extensions in a tone that does not match your own hair color. Since it is the bottom half of the hair that is colored with balayage, and the idea is not to match exactly but to intersperse the different color throughout the hair, then extensions can be the perfect alternative for a quick, non-committal fashion statement.
Next time your roots are showing and you are about to book an appointment, look for a balayage expert and give yourself a break between colorings – you will thank yourself later and everyone will want to know how you got your amazing color.
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