What is Balayage Hair and is it Right for Me?


If you’re someone who regularly gets highlights, Balayage is a term you have probably heard before but might not be 100 percent sure on what it means. For the uninitiated, Balayage is a hair coloring technique that has skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years or so. It’s also a fantastic alternative to traditional highlights and a great way to add a beautiful, sun-kissed look to your hairstyle. 

Interested in going Balayage? Continue reading to learn what you need to know about this game-changing way to color your hair.

Five frequently asked questions about Balayage

What is Balayage?

In French, the word Balayage means “to sweep” or “to paint.” In terms of coloring your hair, Balayage is a technique that delivers a natural-looking highlight starting with darker colors at the root that gradually move to softer highlights at the ends. When done right, Balayage gives your hair that natural, sun-kissed look you enjoyed as a child. 

What’s the difference between Balayage and highlights?

With standard highlights, your stylists will apply color or lightener to strands of your hair then wrap them in sheets of foil. The foil prevents the color from spreading to other strands of hair while trapping in heat so the lightener can lift more effectively. The color is typically applied from root to end giving the entire strand of hair the highlighted look. 

With Balayage, your stylists will use a free-hand technique to apply the highlights. The Balayage style delivers darker colors at the roots of the hair and lighter tones at the ends. This technique helps create a more natural look for your highlights as the color gradually lightens at the ends, similar to how the hair reacts when naturally exposed to the sun. 

What’s the difference between Balayage and Ombre?

If you’ve started looking into Balayage, there’s a good chance you’ve also heard of a related hair color trend – Ombre. But what’s the difference between the two? The short answer: Ombre is more of a style while Balayage is a technique for coloring your hair.

The slightly longer answer: Ombre is typically a horizontal color placement where your stylists will place lightener across your hair then blend it upwards to diffuse the line. This gives the Ombre style an edgier look with sharper transitions between dark and light colors compared to traditional Balayage where the color gradually lightens as it reaches the ends of your hair.  

Is Balayage difficult to maintain?

One of the best parts of Balayage compared to standard highlights is how easy it is to maintain. With Balayage, your hair grows out more naturally with fewer regrowth lines. This means you won’t have to go to your stylist for recoloring as often making it the perfect technique to blend into a busy schedule. (As an added bonus, Balayage typically takes much less time to complete since your stylist won’t have to wrap your hair in foil.) 

Is Balayage right for me?

Balayage is extremely versatile. No matter what hairstyle you’re rocking - long, medium, short, thick, thin, straight, wavy or curly – Balayage can look great. There are also a variety of ways to customize Balayage. Before committing to the look, talk to your stylist for some guidance on what kind of Balayage is right for you. 

Interested in trying Balayage? Just head to your nearby Fantastic Sams salon and let one of our talented stylists be your Balayage guide. Fantastic Sams Cut & Color is a full-service, "no-appointment-needed," hair salon with over 900 convenient locations. Find a Fantastic Sams Cut and Color Hair Salon near you. Real. Fantastic.

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