02 Jun The Truth About Balayage
It’s the popular colour service that’s travelled beyond ‘trend’ and well and truly into cult status. Balayage is loved the world-over by women seeking a seamless enhancement of their natural colour; a low-maintenance lift both timeless and ever-trending.
Over the past decade we’ve watched Balayage evolve and inspire a string of variant colour techniques such as Ombre, Root Smudge (and even Sombre!) and at Anaka, are often queried around the differences defining each and their suitability for certain hair types.
Here, Owner/Founder of Anaka, Anna Ntalianis discusses the intricacies of Balayage; its new variations and the perfect choice for you.
Q: What is the difference between Balayage and Ombre?
A: Balayage is a French technique and it means to paint or sweep colour onto the hair. The technique provides a natural finish and typically allows up to two levels of lift. For further lift, we apply glad wrap between each section to hold more heat, and subsequently, bring more lift. Ombre means to shadow the root area a shade or two darker than the clients’ natural – a seamless graduation from dark to light.
Q: And the difference between Balayage and Root Smudge?
A: Balayage uses the client’s natural colour as a base. The technician then paints lighter tones through the ends making the root area appear darker. A natural evolution of the Balayage technique, Root Smudge involves the application of a darker tint at the roots, creating a ‘smudged’ effect. The last few years have seen us develop the technique further again, placing sparse, texture defining highlights at the roots before toning them down for a Root Smudge with slight variation.
Q: How do l know if Balayage is the right colour choice for me?
A: Balayage is suitable for anyone looking to introduce a natural, low maintenance colour finish – a gorgeous enhancement of their natural colour.
Q: Is it true Balayage is more low maintenance than highlights and other colour trends.
A: Yes! Particularly because, when we use a hand painting technique, it does not have the energy to shift your natural colour more than two-to-three shades. Due to the use of foils, highlights can shift colour much lighter and closer to the roots making the contrast and up-keep higher. This said, highlights are welcoming a resurgence in the salon, and we’re seeing a combination of Balayage and highlights (in the one service) for a more solid look through mid-lengths to ends.
Q: How often do l need to come in for a colour refresh with Balayage?
A: Clients can push their Balayage for up to 20 weeks with a between service toner at the 10-week mark. Because the technique is so natural and sits away from the roots, Balayage needs to be refreshed just three times a year!
Q: Can I achieve Balayage results at home, or do I have to see a professional?
A: Balayage is a technical colour service requiring hours of professional training … hence the reason many hairdressers can’t get it right themselves. So many people have come to us with uneven, orange tones that look more like hard stripes than a seamless fusion of natural colour. Never attempt this colour application at home and always research a new salon/stylist before making an appointment.
Q: I have curly hair, will Balayage still work on my hair type?
A: Balayage works for all textures, it just depends on the desired level of lift (how light you want to take the colour). Once the lift level has been determined we elect a technique that will work perfectly for you – foils, Balayage or a combination of both.
Q: What if I have short hair (above my shoulders)?
A: For our shorter hair clients we typically recommend Ombre with Balayage … because short hair looks amazing blonde! Of course every hair type is unique and best colour technique is determined only after a thorough consultation.
Q: Can I have brighter colours with Balyage, or does it have to be more natural blonde/brunette tones?
A: The pastel/vivid colour trend is still very much alive and to achieve these colours we must have a clean, light canvas to work with. This can involve lightening the hair up to four and five shades and requires the use of foil and/or cling wrap (as mentioned in Q1). So in summary, if a client comes to us with a 6 level and darker, we will use a combination of foil and Balayage for brighter shades.
Q: What is the next trend movement within the Balyage colour technique?
A: We’re welcoming the arrival of Sombre; a technique that moves colour more gradually from roots to ends resulting in a more natural finish. Face framing highlights are currently big in the salon and are perfect for clients looking to lighten up the root area. Renown for dark to light colour transformations, Anaka continues to welcome many clients seeking that beautiful, all-over blonde look, and for this Balayage will always have a place … so it’s here to stay !
Anaka has devised a go-to Balayage menu with its clients’ busy schedules and shifting lifestyles in mind. Below you will find a series of colour services ranging from just 15 to 60 minutes, and suited to all existing hair and colour types.
The Bondi Blush: Performed at the basin in just 15 minutes, these super quick, free-hand highlights are the perfect lunch hour pick-me-up. They touch the root and bring an instant radiance boost.
The Manhattanite: Is all about those gorgeous face-framing highlights. Picked up around the parting and gently touching the root, these highlights are uniquely placed for your face and achieved in just 30 minutes.
The Glastonbury: This free-hand Balayage technique sits away from the root and brings that lived-in rock ‘n’ roll look we love. You’re in and out in 30 minutes. Think Kate Moss.
The Up Towner: Take your blonde, blonder with added highlights around the face, touching the roots and more naturally placed throughout the whole head. For this, we ‘break the base’ – lifting your natural colour to appear much softer and lighter overall. This service takes up to 60 minutes.