Trends were changing dramatically as I was finishing cosmetology school in the summer of 2011. All-over one-dimensional colors and chunky foils were transitioning into ombre. Over the span of a season or two, ombre turned into something completely different and balayage took over!
Balayage is a French word that literally means “sweeping.” It’s not a new technique, but it presents its fair share of challenges to your stylist. It’s the freehand or “sweeping” painting of highlights and/or lowlights into your hair for a soft and organic transition from one color, usually darker, to another usually lighter color.
Balayage was the bane of my existence. It seemed easy enough, but as soon as I attempted it, I immediately realized how wrong I was and have spent the last 8 months or so polishing those skills.
The beauty of balayage is that you can take it in any direction! Want to be a dimensional redhead? How about a more natural ecaille? Or you could go all out and achieve mermaid hair!
Photo Credit Instagram: @guy_tang
What made balayage so popular?
Balayage artists like Guy Tang, featured above, made a huge splash when their work started going viral on Pinterest. The face-framing highlights started making an appearance on celebrities and red carpets, so people instantly fell in love with it.
But what about the maintenance?
Organic-looking balayage is the perfect way to go for someone who wants the beauty of dimensional hair but doesn’t have time to get their hair done every six weeks. Sometimes you can go months without getting it retouched. It often looks better as the hair grows, giving it a “worn-in” look.
How do I find a stylist for balayage?
Take the time and do the research on the right stylist for you. Ask to see pictures of their work with balayage. Stylists who specialize in it always have photos to show. Consult in person before your appointment to establish your budget and time availability. Balayage is a time-consuming process because of how customized it is. A special skill like this will also be more expensive than your average foil highlight service. A consultation beforehand will work out all of these things for you.
The technique can be a fun and challenging process. Do your research, consult, and always have realistic expectations. You and your stylist will be able to create beautiful custom hair for you.
Now that balayage no longer makes me scared to death, I love doing the service. It’s a chance for me to really think outside the box as a stylist. I’m always available at Lava Salon for a consultation! Check out my work on Instagram @lashlined.