It’s Balayage, Baby! Our salon gets calls nearly every day about this fun little term, though most of our prospective clients don’t know how to say it or what it means, exactly. They just know they want it. These savvy individuals may be well aware that this is one of the most sought after hair services not only in the U.S., but also in England, Australia and other parts of the world. What they may not know is where it comes from and why it’s so phenomenal.
Balayage is an extremely popular color service that originated in France back in the 1970s. Ah, the French. Without them, we wouldn’t have little wonders like denim or creme brulee it’s terrible to imagine! And just like a good bottle of pinot noir, balayage has worked its way into a great many American households. Can this trend be compared with such timeless cultural staples as these? We say, “Oui!”.
It’s pronounced “bahlayahzh”, and it means “sweeping” in French. This is fitting because balayage is actually a highlighting technique in which a stylist handpaints highlights in an up and down sweeping motion. Unlike foil or cap techniques in which lightener is applied very precisely, this freehand technique results in a softer, more natural look that generally requires less maintenance since the highlights are not as defined and therefore regrowth is not as noticeable. For many of our hairstylists this is a preferred method of creating an ombre color since it allows them to perfectly blur the lines from the ends of the hair into the darker areas above, creating the gorgeous effect of one color melting into another in a seamless transition. Ooh la la!
Balayage isn’t just for blondes, either. As with other highlighting services, countless color variations are possible. Create dimension in darker hair with caramel or copper hues. Or you can really get creative and add darker or high fashion colors to lighter hair. The possibilities are endless!
Regardless of the color choices, a balayage works well for almost anyone, whether your hair is long, short, straight, curly or somewhere in between. A skilled stylist can offer the right placement and color palette to suit you. And best of all, the subtleness of a balayage color means no harsh lines as your hair grows so you won’t need to make as many trips to the salon for touch-ups, and this means freeing up more time (and money) for more of life’s pleasures, like perhaps sitting down to a decadent bowl of creme brulee. Ah, c’est la vie!