If like me you love a trip to the hair salon for a fresh look then you may have heard this word which is fast becoming the hottest hairstyle around. Before you start wondering, no, it’s not some obscure French soup you’ve never seen before but there is certainly a French connection. Mispronounced as often as it is misunderstood, Balayage is a French word that means ‘to sweep’ or ‘to paint. It’s been around for quite some time but has only recently begun to catch on more and once you understand how it works it’s easy to see why. Recently I went down to Artel Salon in downtown Vancouver who specialises in Balayage as well as Ombre (which I’ll come back to shortly)
Balayage: So how does it work?
Balayage is a freehand painted technique that gives hair a natural shift in shade intensity from dark to light with the color being brushed directly onto your hair. This gives a natural sun-kissed appearance like what you would get if you spent a few months in the Caribbean. The shift in color is very subtle and compared to regular foil highlights regrowth lines are far less noticeable.
The colored sections must be done very close and fine at the root, which leads to a thicker highlight at the ends of your hair. Applied just on the surface of your hair and not saturated all the way through, the final look is nothing short of stunning.
Balayage or Ombre: What’s the difference?
Balayage aims for a naturally highlighted look that creates great depth and dimension throughout the hair. Ombre is a more dipped-ends look where the effect on the tips of your hair is more pronounced. Generally, it goes from a dark root to a medium color in the mid-lengths and finishing with the ends being the brightest. The amazing this about both styles, (though more so Balayage) is how subtle the shift in color is with out-growth. As time passes you won’t begin to see a dramatic demarcation line through your hair. The effect is a little less subtle with ombre which is typically best for wavy or curly hair. If you have dark hair, Ombre is generally the better option.
What I really love about my new Balayage look is how the hair stylist custom geared it towards my skin tone. The lighter tones are perfectly placed to flatter my skin. This is perhaps the main reason you should have it done by a professional stylist rather than doing it yourself (which you can do). Since it’s a surface technique it needs to be applied evenly, otherwise, the contrast may look too strong and the whole effect can backfire.
How much maintenance does it need?
This is another great thing, compared to regular foil highlights, which need a recoloring every six weeks, Balayage only needs a recoloring once every 12-14 weeks as the highlights grow out naturally. This saves you both money and time in the long run.
Have a look some of these killer styles and see how much of a difference it makes. For such a natural look and low maintenance, it’s easily the best hair styling I’ve had in a while.