Hairstyle Dictionary: Everything You Need to Know about Balayage




If you follow beauty trends like we do, you’ve heard of balayage and even seen examples of beautiful hair shades achieved with the technique. But do you really know what it is? Fear not, our pros are here to define, clarify and even provide some tips for requesting the look at your local salon.  

Rexfeatures _5012161neWHAT IT IS

Balayage is a highlighting technique in which the color is hand painted onto the hair with a gentle sweeping motion. This process is different than the average lightening technique because the colorist paints the color directly onto the hair, placing the color onto the hair where they see fit and using various shades to achieve a natural looking shade. While your colorist can use a balayage technique to create fresh, high-contrast highlights like you would get with a more traditional highlighting process, the technique is best for looks that have a subtle progression of color. The end result of this highly customized process is a natural, sun-kissed look that emphasizes your best features.


Are balayage highlights difficult to maintain?

Nope! The beauty of hand painted highlights that look this natural is that they grow out with a harsh line or pesky roots. If you’re a fan of low maintenance, super fly hair color this one is for you.

Who is the look best for?

Anyone! But it’s particularly great for girls that want low maintenance, natural-looking color.

Why is balayage so popular right now?

This hair color technique became simultaneously popular with the lived-in trend that we’ve seen on the runways and on our favorite muses. The natural looking result of balayage fits perfectly with messy, undone styles because it’s low maintenance and looks perfectly natural.    


Put simply: Balayage is not foil highlights and it’s not an ombre. While the technique can be used to achieve these looks, they are not one in the same.


If you’re considering balayage highlights, be sure to bring your colorists pictures of hair color you like. This is the best way to convey how committed you are to the style and will give your stylist an idea of whether you want to go subtle, noticeable or bold with your color.

Book an appointment with your local Paul Mitchell stylist to finally try the color technique everyone is talking about.

For more hairstyle dictionary posts, click here.

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