At Emerson Salon, our stylists aim to create looks that not only look fabulous on you but will also fit in with your coloring, style and maintenance needs. Balayage is a great way for a fashion conscious and low maintenance guy or gal to have a customized color without having to come into the salon every 8 weeks for touch ups. We have seen many different types of balayage emerge in the last few years since Drew Barrymore introduced it on the red carpet to the mass market in the US. It showed her dark brown roots blended into bright gold ends 5 years ago but balayage has been around since before that. We are here to educate you on what balayage is and what the different types are.
What is Balayage? Balayage is a french term describing the application method where highlights and/or lowlights are,”swept in.” This application is different than traditional dimensional foiling where the color desired is applied in foils close to the scalp. Although foiling can be a great way to get highlights, it can emphasize a harsh grow out line as the natural color of your hair grows in contrast to the foiled color.
Balayage can be designed so that the growout is minimized due the soft effect it creates on the hair (even if you get a dramatically lighter highlight.) Pricing with balayage can vary based on stylist, desired effect, history of hair, density and length but generally starts at around $100 and can go up from there. A great way to use balayage is on darker haircolor to “break up” the darkness slowly over time. This is a great alternative to all over color correction which can be challenging and pricey.
There are a few different methods of applying balayage. Some stylists choose to backcomb or tease the root and then apply the color or bleach in a feathered affect to the sections of hair in the desired effect. Other stylists use cotton to lift up the root and apply the desired result on thin strips of hair and then add clear plastic wrap over the top to keep heat during processing. Both methods are equally effective, it just depends on the preference and training of the stylist. If you are looking for a dramatic difference on the ends, your stylist may choose to use foil to trap the heat so its warmth is consistent on the section for even lightening. What are the different types of balayage? Let’s break it down into subtle, moderate, dramatic, ombre and dip dye balayage.
***Please be advised: If your hair is colored, your hair must be bleached in order to create a lighter effect. Color does not lift color. Discuss your hair’s color history with your stylist to achieve optimized results and learn about damage risks during bleaching*******
Subtle balayage tends to be a highlight or lowlight that is between 1-3 levels difference (see above) than the natural level of your hair. This gives a feeling of “sun kissed” highlights like you have been in the sun for awhile. This balayage can have the longest time between touchups if it is not heavily applied close to the root. This is great for working moms, busy students, and for the first time balayage client.
A moderate balayage will be 3-4 levels difference than your natural color (see above) and can be focused on the midshaft to ends,stroked into the front or used closer to the root. This type of balayage might need more maintenance depending on how close the highlight or lowlight is applied to the root. We recommend getting a full balayage with this to start and then schedule a partial balayage to touch it up every 3 months.
This balayage uses highlights and/or lowlights that are 4-6 levels different on the mid shaft to ends and are usually not applied close to the root due to the contrast that will occur during grow out. If it is applied closer to the root it can shorten time between maintenance visits and is considerd to be a “dramatic” change if starting on darker hair. Be prepared for your friends to say,”WOW! Thats really different than what you had before!” This can be a great way to go from highlights all over your head to something that will need less maintenance. Its recommended to get regular trims and conditioning treatments on longer hair that has dramatic balayage because of the possible damage that is incurred in creating the lighter effect. Your hair may also need to be re-toned on a semi-regular basis to keep it shiny and its color saturation even.
An “ombre” balayage is the type where you see a subtle and gradual blend of the darker roots into the dramatically lighter ends that are at least 3-4 levels difference than the natural root color. (see above) This is different than dramatic balayage that utilizes strips of color “popping out” of the base color. Generally, this is an application that requires bleach and can cause breakage or frizz so make sure to use Moroccan Oil to keep them moisturized and protected from heat damage. This application means you don’t have to come in for a retouch for 3-5 months but you may need a retone of the ends due to its damage+porosity every 2 mos.
Dip Dye Balayage
Dip Dye Balayage is basically a bleach and tone ombre balayage with a vivid semi-permanent shade applied instead of a natural looking toner. This type of balayage is super fun and we have seen a lot of it at music festivals and around Capitol Hill, Seattle. You can choose to do pink, teal, purple, orange, neon blue, whatever! At Emerson we have a few different type of semi permanents. If you are looking to keep the chosen hue for awhile we can use Pravanna Vivids with heat to make it last 5-8 weeks. If you want to change up the color regularly we also carry Fabuloso Pro by Evo which is based on fabric technology and will eventually completely shampoo out of your hair in 14-16 shampoos so you can select a different color when you like!
Whats the best way to style a balayage or ombre haircolor? When styling balayage it is recommended to either have a soft round brush blowout or to add soft waves and/or curls as it helps to emphasize the movement in the hair and your new dimensional color.
Excited to try on some balayage? We are excited to work with you on it! Select a stylist from their profile and contact them directly for an appointment!