Reader Question: What Is Balayage?

woman getting a Balayage

Hi Jamie,

I know you’ve mentioned you get balayage highlights for your hair but what exactly does that mean?



Reader Question: What Is Balayage?

Hi D,

Happy to explain.  Most of the time when people think of highlights they think of the traditional foil highlights (where colorists use tin foil), but maybe about 10 years ago I tried balayage for the first time at my old salon in New York and I really liked the results.  For me, personally, the color just looks more vibrant and even lasts a little longer since they can get closer to the root than they can when using foils.  If you want to see a good example, this photo was taken one day after I got balayage 🙂

Balayage is french meaning “to sweep” or “to paint.”  The technique allows for a more natural-looking color, similar to what a natural-blonde child might look like 🙂  I wanted to also get some input from my colorist, Dawn Tracey, who works at Meche Salon in Beverly Hills since she’s the real expert here.

“As a colorist, I can do foiled highlights OR balayage highlights, but most often I prefer balayage because it enables me to literally paint the hair and selectively choose which stands I want to color or lighten,” explains Tracey.  “I can also gradually change the amount, or width of hair that I want to be lightened.  Another benefit is that I can see the placement of the color where as with foils, I can’t see what was colored once it goes in the foil.  One thing to note: all clients should be aware that most balayage involves bleach so, if they have a problem with that, it may not be the best option for them.”

I hope that helps, D!  If you’re thinking about trying out balayage, I suggest asking around or doing some Google searching. Then, find someone in your area known for the technique 🙂



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