Balayage has been around for a while but this timeless technique is creeping its way back into being one of the most popular hair colour requests in salons today.
We've spoken to Jack Howard, international colourist based at Paul Edmonds, to get some professional insight on this booming hair trend.
What is balayage?
Balayage is a French word meaning to sweep or to paint. It allows for a sun-kissed natural looking hair colour - similar to what nature gives us as children - with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. The principal idea being less is more when creating soft, natural looks.
How is it applied?
Balayage is applied on the surface and not saturated through the section until the very tips, otherwise you would have a streak of colour that isn’t vey soft at all. It can also be called a freehand technique because no foil or meche are used to create the highlights.
What sets it apart from traditional hair colouring?
It’s totally bespoke to you! A good balayage expert will be able to place the colour to suit your skin tone so it’ll look amazing and really light up your features. But don't get it confused with layage - a similar but more precise technique.
What's making it so popular recently?
It’s a skilled technique that hasn’t been widely taught in the UK until recently. Now it’s becoming better known because all the models and A-listers are wearing it. Clients are seeing it on the catwalks and red carpets and want to get that finish rather than the uniform highlights that foils give.
Does it require a lot of maintenance?
Very little. It grows out beautifully and more naturally so you don’t get an obvious regrowth line and and can wear it for longer between appointments. All you really need to do is protect it as you would any other colour: use a colour protecting shampoo and conditioner, regular treatments and heat protection when styling.
Is it suitable for all hair types/lengths?
It works on both light and dark hair, so anyone really. Both Rihanna and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are great examples of balayage poster girls. I’m currently doing a technique called ‘bronde’ popular amongst celebs such as Jessica Alba and Olivia Palermo. It's the perfect combination of brown and blonde tones, bronde is perfect for darker haired clients who want to try out a lighter colour, it can be warm neutral or cool. The choice is really between you and your colourist. Balayage pretty much works for all lengths except very short cropped hair.
What makes it timeless?
It's low maintenance, looks more bespoke, more natural, and is a modern technique that’s much more flattering. Healthy hair is attractive hair and that’ll never go out of fashion. Balayage gives a gorgeous healthy finish that looks nature-enhanced, glossy and expensive. It can be natural or strong, whatever you want, it’s all about the application technique.
Contact Jack Howard via twitter @jackhoward_srh or via his website at jackhoward.co.uk.