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What is Balayage

What is Balayage?

Balayage is a highlighting method that is fresh, modern and sported by many A list celebs. Balayage is a French word that means to sweep or to paint; the colour is literally painted on to the hair without using any foil. It's a much lower maintenance colour than using foils; foils need to be redone every 6-8 weeks yet Balayage can easily last 12-14 weeks and still look amazing (some of my clients only have it done twice a year!)

Is it a trend for 2013 that is coming to an end?

No way! The Balayage revolution is just taking off in the UK – I've been busy training teams from many salons around the country on how to Balayage effectively. It's really just the beginning; many celebrities have just started having it done so it's going from strength to strength. You only have to look at any print or media campaign to see that foils are going the way of the cap – Balayage is here to stay!

Is Balayage the same as ombre?

No, the media has driven the demand for the ombre look so when I'm teaching Balayage many are confused as to the difference. Ombre is a gradual fade from dark to light and a colouring technique; Balayage is a highlighting technique, soft at the roots and lightest at the ends – the effect you get from being at a Caribbean resort for a month or recreating the hair colour young children have!

Is Balayage for young people only?

Absolutely not! Balayage is an ageless technique; it's softer and fresh looking so I've found that clients in their 40's or 50's adore it. Take Jane Fonda for example; she's in her 70's and a good friend of mine uses the Balayage technique for her hair and it looks beautiful. I find that when I'm doing an all over colour to cover grey hair on a client if I just add a few Balayage pieces it knocks tens years off her.

Can it look natural?

Balayage looks incredibly natural when done well, but it can be soft and natural or strong and bold depending on the colour selections and placement – always decide with your colourist.

Can it work on short and medium or is it just for long hair styles?

Again if you can foil it, you can Balayage it. The result will softer, fresher and without those hard lines and dots that foils give.

Is it easy to do at home?

I wouldn't recommend doing it yourself as it would be very difficult.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of visiting a salon for a Balayage service?

Firstly go straight to google; do some research and pull together the looks you like, take them to the salon and ask them if they know the different between Balayage, Ombre and Dip Dye. If they don't, think twice about seeing them and if they suggest foils – run! It's all in the consultation; ask them if they have any images of their work to show you and spend the time talking through colour choice and placement.

Author: Jack Howard

International hair colourist, Balayage expert and educator Jack Howard has recently been appointed as the International Colour Director for Neville Hair & Beauty, following 20 months at Rossano Ferretti.

Jack has worked his colour magic on the likes of Poppy Delevingne and Britney Spears and comes highly recommended by the likes of Vogue. His career has led him from London to Washington DC, New York to LA, San Francisco and Paris to become one of the top hair colourists and a Senior Portfolio Artist for L’Oreal Professionnel North America and Guest Artist for Fudge UK/Europe.

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