Balayage: What You Need to Know Before Getting Your Hair Colored

Updated: Aug 7

Balayage is a hair coloring technique that first became popular in the hair industry about 10 years ago. It’s a versatile technique that can be used on almost any hair type and offers subtle to dramatic results. However, if you’ve never had your hair colored before, or are just not sure if balayage is right for you, this post is for you! To get the best results from this style, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what balayage entails. This post covers everything you need to know before getting balayage: What it is and how it differs from other coloring techniques, its benefits and potential drawbacks.

What is Balayage?

Balayage is a French word that translates to “to sweep.” This hair coloring technique involves sweeping paintbrush-like combs through your hair to create subtle, sun-kissed highlights. Unlike other forms of hair coloring, balayage is a more natural-looking coloring method. Because it uses a freehand painting technique, the results are less predictable than other methods and therefore less “spot on”, giving your hair a more natural look. The process for balayage is similar to that of foil highlights, except the color is painted all over the hair, rather than just on the top. This means that the color will be less concentrated and more blended, which is ideal for those looking for a subtler look. Balayage is also a more time consuming technique than traditional highlights, as it takes longer for the color to process. This means you’ll need to plan ahead when getting balayage, as you may be in the salon for a few hours while the color develops.

How Does Balayage Differ from Other Hair Coloring Techniques?

Balayage is a form of hair coloring that’s different from other coloring techniques in a few ways. First, it uses a freehand brush painting technique that’s similar to painting. This means that it’s less predictable than other coloring methods and offers more natural-looking results. Balayage is also less concentrated, meaning that it’s less “spot on” than other coloring techniques. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your desired outcome.

Benefits of Balayage

Balayage is an ideal choice for people who want subtle highlights or who want to add depth and dimension to their hair color. When compared to foil highlights, balayage is less concentrated, meaning that it gives off a more natural, less highlighted effect. For this reason, it’s often referred to as “painting” the hair. The process of balayage is similar to painting a picture or decorating a cake with frosting. The high-end artistic look that results is certainly less predictable than getting foiled highlights. The freedom of artistic expression that comes with balayage also means that stylists have a little more leeway with the color, meaning they can easily darken or lighten it to meet your needs. Balayage is also more low maintenance as it gives a look of "lived in color." This means your roots won't be as noticeable and you'll be able to go longer between appointments.

Potential Drawbacks of Balayage

While balayage is a versatile coloring technique that gives you more control over your look, it is not usually the best option for those that want to be heavily blonde. It's best for those that want to see dimension. Balayage also takes longer to apply. If you’re in a rush and want to get out of the salon sooner, this isn’t the best option for you.


Which Hair Type Is Best for Balayage?

Balayage works well on hair of all types, including curly, straight, and wavy. This is because it’s a more natural-looking coloring technique that will blend in with your natural hair, regardless of your hair type. A few things that may influence the outcome of your balayage coloring session include your hair’s current health and condition, as well as your desired look. While it’s not necessary to have virgin hair to get balayage, it’s often recommended for those with darker hair who want to lighten their locks. This is because the coloring process requires a little more work, such as bleaching and toning, to lift the hair to the desired color. If you’re planning to have balayage done on already dyed hair, you’ll likely need to go to a stylist who specializes in corrective and creative coloring.

Summing Up

Balayage is a versatile coloring technique that’s best for those who want subtle highlights or low-maintenance, easy-to-style hair. It’s a more natural-looking coloring method that’s less concentrated than other methods, meaning it takes longer to lift the color and process it. If you’re looking for a more natural-looking hair color or want to add a subtle boost of color to your locks, balayage could be the ideal choice for you.