Balayage has been around for a while now but this seemingly timeless technique is one of the most popular hair colour requests in salons today.

Balayage, which by French definition means “to sweep” or “to paint”, is free-hand colouring which creates a lightened effect on the mid lengths to ends – leaving the roots darker.

It allows for a sun-kissed look – similar to what the sun and surf gives us as children – with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. Another winning point is the extremely low maintenance factor. Once hair is coloured with balayage, generally 4–6 week top ups are no longer necessary.

How is it applied?

It’s totally bespoke to you! No two colours jobs are the same. A good balayage expert will be able to place colour, which suits your skin tone, to enhance your features. When it comes to balayage, think of it this way: your colourist is a painter and your hair is the canvas. Personally, my colourist – Remington Schulz at Edwards & Co in Sydney – knows my hair and complexion better than I do so he uses warm honey tones as opposed to cool hues.

Why is balayage so popular?

It’s a skilled technique that hasn’t been widely taught in Australia up until recent years. A pioneer of the ombré trend is Brad Ngata who is responsible for dip-dyeing Pip Edwards’ locks back in the mid 2000s. Now, it’s becoming better known because of all the models, celebrities and A-listers who are also wearing it. Women are seeing balayage on the catwalks, red carpets and on stylish women walking down the street and subsequently, they want that natural-looking finish rather than the uniformity which highlights can leave. “It’s about hair looking as natural as possible nowadays,” says Schulz.

Have you ever wondered why balayage can be more expensive than other colour services? “The reason why [balayage] is more costly in high-end salons is because colourists are required to be incredibly experienced and skilled in application. It’s a very different process to highlights and foils and often requires several different colours to be painted on at one time to create dimension – this is then reflected in the cost.”

TIP: When booking an appointment for balayage, do your research, ask around and be sure your colourist is experienced. “I have seen disasters happen to clients who think they can get it done at any given salon,” says Schulz.

Does balayage require much maintenance?

Very little, actually. “Balayage grows out beautifully and naturally so you don’t get an obvious regrowth line – this means you can go longer between appointments, saving money,” explains Schulz. All you really need to do is protect it as you would any other hair colour. Schulz recommends using a colour protecting shampoo and conditioner, regular leave-in treatments and of course, heat protection when styling.

Is it suitable for all hair types/lengths?

Yes – it works on both light and dark hair of all lengths except for very short, cropped hair.

Do you get balayage done?

Do you have a colourist and/or salon you recommend?

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