What is Balayage Hair Color? Everything You Need to Know About This Hot Trend!

Balayage has its roots firmly planted in 1970’s Paris. However, lightening hair is far from new. In fact, it dates way back to the beginning of the 20th century. But highlights truly lifted off in the 80’s with the introduction of many new foil-based techniques.

Balayage came to North-America in the 90’s. So, it’s likely here to stay, and it’s been all over Instagram for the last couple of years, slayin’ it.

A highly requested colour service in salons, balayage is great because it shows no apparent regrowth and brings the beauty of light on a long mane of tousled hair. Clients love it, too, because it creates the appearance of volume and texture.

So, what exactly is Balayage?

Balayage is a hair colouring technique where lightener is applied by hand without the systematic use of foils or a highlight cap. Colour is swept (the word comes from the French, meaning ‘to sweep’) onto the hair in long, even strokes creating beautiful sunlit effects and allowing the lightened strands to peek in and out. Some colourists even use the word ‘light painting’.

Although balayage can be created on all lengths of hair, including short pixie cuts, it really has a much more dramatic effect on longer hair. A fabulous look with bouncy, loose curls or beach waves!

Why choose Balayage?

Balayage permits stylists, thanks to its freeform technique, to create different highlighting effects, ranging from soft and natural all the way to strong, punchy, flashes of blonde.

The best part? It’s super low maintenance since there’s no regrowth at the roots. You can literally go months without having to retouch. Of course, if you really want your balayage to rock, you will need a touch-up every two months or so. A toner between colour bookings can also help freshen up your look.

How it’s done 

The process varies depending on the length of your hair and the result you desire.

Small sections of hair are lightened with a brush and a backing board or paddle. Some colourists separate these sections with cotton or foil, mostly during the first appointments, and then will only apply the lightener freehand for the later touch-ups.

Your colourist will personalize a look to suit your hair type, style and colour. Depending on the style and the number of layers of colour desired, creating a balayage can take anywhere from 45 minutes, for a few highlights, to up to a few hours (and maybe even two or three appointments) for an elaborate multi-tone effect.

Balayage creates natural-looking hair with customised color and highlights which can be subtle or bold depending on your unique taste. This ability to completely modify the color each time is what makes balayage truly unique.

Where to from here?  Talk to your hairstylist and discover all the possibilities for yourself!


What is Balayage Hair Color? Everything You Need to Know About This Hot Trend!