This month’s post is going to cover the oh-so popular service request balayage.

Before we start, let’s get the pronunciation thing out of the way. BAH-LEE-AHGE.

Say it with me…Bah…lee..ahge.

Okay, now that’s out the way we can talk origins of the word. “Balayage” comes from the French term, “to sweep”. Balayage has been around for a long time despite gaining huge popularity in the last decade. A Google or Pinterest search of balayage will turn up all kinds of different looks, so you may wonder how they’re all considered the same thing. First of all, balayage isn’t a look so much as it is a technique.

Remember in French it’s meaning is “to sweep?” That’s exactly how your stylist is applying your lightener. In fact, because balayage services are so different from traditional blonding services there are specific hair bleaches made exclusively for balayage. The clay base of these special lighteners is meant to be applied open-air (directly onto the hair vs enclosed in a foil) and process gradually for results that are soft (blended) and subtle (less contrast than a traditional foil highlight). Think of it in terms of how the sun might naturally lighten your hair or how little girls have the prettiest sun-kissed blonde hair until they grow out of it. Balayage is the practice of recreating that natural beauty.

Why balayage and not just highlights?
The best-selling aspect of this technique is the undeniably low maintenance of the color. Some clients can go 3-6 months between a touch-up, though they still come in for regular haircuts and Olaplex treatments! *Olaplex is another buzz word which we’ll go over another time* The trick to this no-fuss blonde is in the application. Hand painting a balayage allows the lightener to saturate only what it touches. This means a lot of your natural hair is left out and -depending on your goal -creates lots of depth and dimension. This also means your balayage will leave your root exposed. Leaving sections of your natural means you’ll never have that unfriendly stripe of grow out; a seamless blend instead!

Here is a balayage on naturally blonde hair which was lifted to a pale blonde in one service. This look is balayage in its purest form.
Here is a balayage service which utilized other techniques (foiliage) to expedite the blonding. In this case, the client wanted pale blonde while maintaining her natural root and keep the blonde as cool (ash) as possible.
Here is an example of a client who’s natural root is stubborn dark AND has been color processed for years. Not only was the client looking for a smooth grow out she also wanted to stay away from warm or coppery tones. This meant the balayage technique was not right for her desired look. Yet, as you can see her end results were incredibly similar. This was a collaboration of foiled highlights, a shadow root and a few other magical ingredients that she and her stylist agreed upon that would get her on the path to her hair goals without over-compromising. Wow!

Want to try it out?! Get in contact with a balayage certified stylist on the Azarra Salon & Wine team for a free consultation!

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