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Balayage: What It Is & Why You Love It

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It’s a hair trend that’s become more and more popular over the past few years, yet many of us still aren’t totally sure how balayage works. Read on and learn all about this revolutionary highlighting technique, discover if it’s right for your hair type, and understand its benefits over traditional foiling…

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What Is The Balayage Technique?

Simply, balayage is a French word that means to sweep or to paint which defines this technique by describing the way that bleach or lightener is applied to the hair. As it’s literally painted on in this artistic fashion there are no harsh regrowth lines as you often find with traditional highlights. Instead, this freehand technique offers gorgeous coverage with much softer lines meaning it grows out beautifully. Overall, it’s a much lower maintenance hair colour.

Targeting specific strands of hair, as foils or highlighting caps do, can often end up looking piece-y and artificial. Balayage, however, blends with your hairs’ natural high and low light shades to compliment your natural hair growth pattern meaning your hair colour has a considerably more organic looking finish. 

Is Balayage The Same As Ombre?

Nope! But, as both of these hair looks are gradual and pretty low maintenance, we can definitely see why you may think so. 

To break it down, balayage refers to the technique used to colour your hair whereas ombre is more of a specific style. Balayage offers an overall multi-tonal finish to your whole head of hair adding depth and dimension to your colour with soft, hand-painted lines. It’s unique every time and means that some of the ends of your hair may not even be touched by the bleach. Ombre, on the other hand, is a style that specifically targets the ends of your hair with a highlighter being applied horizontally. The result, though still technically a gradual one, provides a much more noticeable and often dramatic transition from dark roots to light (or coloured) tips. 


Is Balayage Hair For Me?

If you’ve been considering highlights for a while but have been putting them off over the inconvenience of constant upkeep, the Balayage technique is perfect for you. Additionally, due to its low maintenance finish, this technique means fewer trips to the salon, a huge bonus for your busy schedule no doubt!

Because it’s also a technique that adapts easily from person to person, balayage works with a multitude of hair colours, skin tones and hair types. Once you’ve had your hair coloured you can get a great looking result styling your own hair at home following our 6 steps to get the perfect salon blow-dry at home! As we mentioned before it has no severe bleach lines so its also perfect on curly, wavy and even straight hairstyles. 

Can I have Balayage With Short Hair?

Yes, you can! Though you may be used to seeing this technique demonstrated on waist-length hair, this is usually just to emphasise the overall look and possibilities of the trend. Certainly, don’t let this dissuade you if you have shorter locks as this technique is most definitely still achievable for you! The beauty of balayage is that it uses the individuals existing hair cut and colour to determine where the highlights are needed and how they can best elevate the overall shape and shade. Curtain length tresses, therefore, are certainly not a must!

What Are The Benefits of Balayage?

Unlike a classic foil treatment, balayage is achieved by painting the bleach onto the hair rather than saturating it. This means that the hair isn’t as harshly exposed to the damaging qualities of the bleach and is therefore left in a considerably better condition. 

You will also find that due to this kinder bleach application your hair is not quite as dry as it might be with foils. This combined with less frequent salon trips means your hair has a longer period between bleach treatments giving it a chance to better repair itself with natural oils. 

You can also lend your hair a helping hand in the way of care and repair with the Loreal Paris Everpure 6-in-1 cleansing balm. Use this low lather balm in place of your usual conditioner to fully nourish your hair without stripping its colour. Among other benefits, it’ll leave your hair healthier as well as tangle-free and super soft!


Another reason we adore this technique is how unique it feels to each and every person. Hand-painted highlights mean your stylist can pick out exactly the pieces that will compliment your existing cut and colour and apply them easily. Without the rigid shape of foils, which can sometimes leave you with unsightly streaks, balayage is our go-to for a natural-looking colour lift!


How Do I Take Care Of My Gorgeous New Balayage Hair?

Though this technique is kinder than foil highlights, the application of bleach always means we need to give our hair a little extra love and attention. Caring for your newly died locks the right way will keep your new colour looking brighter for longer and leave it feeling healthy too. The Tresemme keratin smooth colour range, for example, has everything you’ll need to care for your hair with products infused with nourishing Moroccan oil to smooth and add shine.

Other helpful tips include…

 Avoiding daily washing and allowing the natural oils of your hair to rejuvenate your hair before your next shampoo.
 Making sure your hair is wet before you take a swim. Your hair will soak up and absorb less chlorine if its already taken on water.
 Using a purple shampoo like the So Silver purple shampoo for blonde and silver hair by Ma-trix on blonde balayage hair will lessen brassy tones whilst illuminating your highlights

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