The Hairdressing Claims Blog


Your balayage questions answered
Everything you need to know about the balayage hair colour trend

With the introduction of colouring techniques such as balayage, ombre, dip-dye, two-tone, lowlights and frosting (to name a few!), dyeing your hair is much more interesting than it’s ever been. And perhaps more complicated.

To help you out, we’re tackling one of these hair colour trends – balayage – to answer your burning questions. Let’s go…

1. First things first – what exactly is balayage?

Balayage is the subtlest way of lightening your hair, essentially done by painting new hair colour in soft streaks. The end result is a natural look simulating sun-kissed hair. It’s low maintenance as the colour doesn’t typically start at the roots so that regrowth is less obvious, negating the need for regular root touch-ups.

2. Balayage and ombre – what’s the difference?

Ombre is the transition from light to dark shading. It’s more extreme than balayage and involves the top of your hair being completely dark, the middle in between and the ends completely light. Or vice versa. The overall finish is a greater colour contrast.

3. Will I need foils during colouring?

Whilst balayage is still a highlighting technique, the unique feel you get from free-hand colouring is preferable to that from a line-up of perfectly-placed foils. Via this method, balayage mimics how your hair would naturally get lighter in the sun and appears unkempt rather than structured and regimented. The big appeal of balayage is that it’s bespoke. A colourist will look at your face and place the colour strategically to flatter your features.

4. Talk timings – how long does it take to do balayage and how long does it last?

It’s pretty speedy, taking around 45 minutes to apply, quicker than normal foils. Thankfully, a little balayage goes a long way. You don’t need to visit the salon every 6 weeks as you do with foil highlights. Once every 12-14 weeks to your colourist is sufficient. The exception to this rule is for individuals with grey hair as this demands a root tint first with regrowth touch-up every 4-6 weeks.

Read our ‘Predict your salon timings with this handy guide’ blog for more information on expectations around length of visits.

5. What are the balayage colour options?

Really, there are no limits. You can use whatever colours you want, usually one or two simultaneously. Be creative. If you’re fed up of blonde-hued balayage and desire something a little different, why not consider a blush-pink multi-tone balayage, grey and lilac tone balayage, tiger eye balayage with echoes of bronze, gold and brown, or bronde balayage using an on-trend mix of blonde and brown? Anything goes!

6. Does balayage work best for certain hair types or styles?

In a word, no! Contrary to what you might think, balayage isn’t restricted to young women with mousey brown hair in long, wavy styles. It’s for all colours, all ages, all hair types, all styles, all lengths.

7. Can balayage go wrong?

The same as every dyeing treatment at the hairdressing salon, mistakes are possible. If the product is applied unevenly, there’ll be a mottled effect. Also, too-heavy application loses the softness and contrast.

Balayage tends to be less damaging than conventional colouring techniques which go right to the roots, and use foils and heat to set the colour. Because of this, balayage should avoid over-processing problems. If bleach is used, however, there’s the potential for dry, brittle hair afterwards. Check out our ‘What does over-processed hair look like?’ blog to discover more.

Be sure to go to a hairstylist who knows what they’re doing. Our ‘Bad salon warning signs’ and ‘5 top tips for fool-proof hair dyeing’ blogs provide useful direction.

8. What are my next steps if my hair’s damaged by balayage?

Now this is a subject close to our hearts and something we’ve written about extensively. From our ‘3-step plan to suing your hairdresser’ to ‘A step-by-step guide to the hairdressing claims process’, our blog is a practical source of assistance on the contentious matter of pursuing hair treatment injury claims.

To contact our Hairdressing Claims team, please email, call 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phone 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or complete our online enquiry form.

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