A short history of balayage
It seems like all the best things in fashion and beauty come from France, and balayage is no exception. Developed in the 1970s by French hair colourists, balayage is a highlighting technique that involves the freehand “sweeping” of colours down the hair (“balayer” is the French verb for “to sweep”, hence the name). No foils involved.
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. The most common balayage is multi-tonal blonde highlights, but balayage can be achieved with any colour combination. This means that balayage offers an extra subtle way to give your natural hair colour a boost of radiance.
How long does balayage last?
The benefit of balayage is that you aren’t left with visible roots once your natural colour starts to grow through, in fact that’s the whole point. Balayage was designed to seamlessly blend into your hair so that it looks utterly natural. That said, it’ll grow out just as quickly as any other colour would – at the same rate as your hair.
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). If you have naturally light hair, and the balayage involves darker tones, you can opt for semi-permanent colour.
Other brightening hair dye techniques
Before you jump on the phone and book yourself a balayage, make sure you know what other options are out there.
For a more distinctive colour evolution, for example, an ombre (dark hair turning light) or sombre (light hair darkening down the lengths) could be good options. Or, for really demarcated colours (where you can see where one ends and the other begins), there’s no better technique than dip-dye.
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Involves your stylist using foils, like traditional highlights, but placing them carefully around the face to bring luminosity and flatter your particular face shape, drawing attention to your best features.
Another new technique, is when – instead of colouring inch-wide sections of hair – your stylist uses foils to colour just a handful of hairs at a time.
Focuses on applying colour strategically around the mid-section to give volume and accentuate cheekbones.
Where foils meet balayage. Foils are applied towards the front of the hair, where the sun would naturally hit, to create sun-kissed highlights and depth.
Balayage hair: shampoo for highlighted hair
Just like any hair that has been coloured, balayage hair needs a specific shampoo and conditioner for colour-treated hair in order to boost radiance and support long-lasting colour. However, you can get even more tailored haircare by opting for a collection formulated to – not only coloured hair – but your specific hair colour.
For blondes, for example, there is the Blondifier collection. The Gloss shampoo brings out shine and luminosity, while the Cool shampoo prevents brassy undertones. The masque and conditioners are used to keep blonde-coloured hair supple and moisturised, while the in-salon Cool Blonde and Sun-kissed Blonde Perfectors are your best defence against unwanted discolouration.
For all hair colours, the Vitamino Color A OX haircare range from Serie Expert is ideal for keeping your chocolate locks glossy and naturally-voluminous. The collection’s shampoo for highlighted hair prevents early colour fade thanks to its anti-oxidant complex and UV filters.