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balayage hair color - birmingham michigan - nalu salon

What is Balayage Hair Coloring Technique: The Pronunciation and More …


Balayage hair color technique is a freehand coloring technique that gives hair a natural, blended look with no harsh lines. But what does balayage mean? This article will provide a breakdown of the French word balayage and how to pronounce it properly in English. We’ll also talk about balayage vs ombre and highlight some of the pros and cons of balayage for your hair type!

How to Say Balayage?

People are often confused about how to pronounce balayage. They generally say the word wrong. Balayage is pronounced bal-eye-AHZH.

Do not worry if this seems like gibberish, we can break it down together! The term balayage is taken from the French word balayer which means “to sweep”.

If you would like to sound more authentic and French then the correct pronunciation of this term should be bayalag (eh instead of ay).

The word is spelled bayalage but it is often mistakenly spelled baleyage or balaiyge.

Now that the pronunciation of balayage has been broken down, let’s talk about balayage vs ombre.

Balayage Vs Ombre: What’s the Difference?

First of all, balayage has become quite popular in America because it looks beautiful, it looks natural and you can go for longer periods without having to touch up your hair. It has become more than a trend and is done every day in salons around the world.

Ombre is basically the same coloring technique but balayage was originally used by French hairstylists while ombre was popularized by Spanish and Portuguese hairdressers (and still referred to as such). If you’re looking for balayage vs ombre, balayage is the same as ombre with some slight differences.

Ombre balayage is when the color gradually gets darker from top to bottom. When balayaging hair, you can choose how noticeable or subtle you want your balayage highlights to be. The balayage technique can be used on all hair types and balayage color ideas are endless!

Balayage is best for low-maintenance, natural-looking hair. Did you hear that? Low maintenance!

Balayage looks great on short or long hairstyles and straight, wavy or curly hair types. It’s important to note that balayage highlights are hand-painted so the look is a bit more free-form and less precise than traditional foiled highlights.

Since balayage is so low maintenance, it’s perfect for those of us who don’t have the time to go back to our hairdresser every four to six weeks! You can go for longer and there will be no harsh regrowth lines with balayage.

You can read more about Balayage Vs Ombre here.

What is the difference between highlights and balayage?

The balayage hair coloring technique gives a more natural look, without harsh regrowth lines that you would get with traditional highlights or foil highlights since it is hand-painted on and not foil wrapped. It is more freehand giving the stylist much more flexibility when applying the color or bleach.

In addition, it is hand-painted on small sections of the hair, giving each balayage highlight a more natural look compared to traditional foiled highlights that are painted in larger pieces.

Partial Balayage vs Full Balayage

Partial balayage is when balayage highlights are only done on the top portion of your hair while full balayage is where balayage highlights cover more surface area including some or all of your mid-shaft to ends.

When you do a partial balayage, it can be called “reverse” balayage (or balayage reverse).

Partial balayage is great for those who want balayage color but do not want the boldness of a full balayage. If you have dark hair and light skin, this may be a good option as well because it won’t look so drastic!

What’s the Difference Between Balayage and Foil Balayage?

There is a big difference between balayage and foil balayage. Balayage is hand-painted on small sections of the hair while foils are wrapped around large pieces of the hair, creating an ombre effect with more contrast. The balayaging technique without foil gives you subtle highlights as opposed to a more bold balayage ombre look.

Foil balayage is when balayage highlights are done by wrapping the foil around large sections of hair, or all over your head for that matter. This creates a much brighter and deeper contrast than just doing balayage with no foils involved at all.

How Long Does Balayage Take?

Generally, balayage takes longer than traditional foil highlights since it is done by hand. It can take anywhere from an hour to three hours depending on how much balayage you want, whether or not you are using foils and if your balayage artist uses a tint brush.

Partial balayaging will also take less time than balayage that covers all or some of your hair.

Erin McArthur - Nalu Salon Birmingham - Balayage

Stylist: Erin McArthur ~ Nalu Birmingham

How Long Does Balayage Last?

Balayage can last anywhere from two to six months depending on how well you take care of your balayage hair color and a few other things. The balayage technique is usually more low-maintenance than traditional foil highlights, but it still requires proper aftercare for the balayage color to stay vibrant and fresh-looking.

Moisture is balayage’s best friend. You will want to make sure you are using a good shampoo and conditioner as well as sealing in the moisture with an oil or balm.

What Products Should I Use On My Balayage Highlights?

After your balayage color service, you must invest in some good balayage shampoo and conditioner. You will also want to use a leave-in balm or oil that is lightweight but packed with nourishing ingredients like argan, rosehip seed, coconut, and more! These oils help replenish any lost moisture in your hair strands as well as seal the cuticle of each balayage highlight which will help the balayage color last longer.

We’ve got some great Bumble and Bumble and Kerastase products that your stylist can suggest for you depending on your hair type. Your Nalu Salon stylist will advise you on how to maintain your balayage highlights.

Does Balayage Damage Hair?

The balayage technique does not damage your hair as long as you are using quality balayage products that protect and nourish the color-treated strands.

Your balayage artist will use a very low peroxide or no-lift tint to achieve balayage highlights which means your hair is only lightening up one to two levels.

If you balayage artist does use a high peroxide (or bleach) and lightens your hair up four levels or more, then yes there can be some damage to the hair – but with balayage that is not very common.


birmingham salon - stylist ally newsome - balayage color

Stylist ~ Ally Newsome ~ Nalu Birmingham

Should I Wash My Hair Before Balayage?

Well, that is a question that varies from stylist to stylist. Some stylists performing the balayage technique prefer that you do not wash your hair before the treatment because oily hair will help to protect your scalp. Although, some stylists suggest that if you’re getting a single process, it’s better to come with clean hair to help the color hold.

Also with clean hair you know there isn’t a buildup of product, dirt, or oil that may hinder the lifting process. Using a conditioning treatment a few days before your appointment is usually recommended too.

Personally, I think that it’s best to wash your hair 1-2 days before your appointment! Light, natural oils will help protect your scalp and prevent your scalp from feeling itchy or too tingly when the color touches it. This way your balayage treatment should not be affected by product build-up.

Balayage With Bangs

Balayage can be done on bangs, but you want to make sure that your balayage artist does not use a tint brush while balayaging the front section of hair.

A tint brush will cause harsh lines and an unnatural look because it is more difficult for the balayage colorist to blend with this tool. The balayage colorist will want to use their fingers to blend the balayage highlights into your natural hair texture.

If you are not sure whether or not you should get balayage with bangs, just ask your stylist how they plan on balayaging around your brow line and face shape.

A color melting technique is usually best for balayaging short bangs in my opinion! You can also ask your stylist if they have balayage wands that will get the balayage color melting into your bangs.

Face Framing Balayage

If your balayage highlights are just for the front section of hair and not throughout, then balayage wands should be used to get a nice and natural look. Make sure that your balayage artist uses their fingers or gloved hands when balayaging your bangs because this will give them more control over how much color is deposited into balayage highlights that surround your face frame.

I recommend balayaging the front section of hair for a minimum of three months before having your balayage touched up! This keeps your balayage highlights from looking unnatural.

How to Section Hair for Balayage?

For balayage to be applied properly, the balayage technique needs a lot of artistic talent and precision. If you go in for balayage hair color without finding someone who is experienced with this coloring technique then your balayage highlights will not look blended or natural!

If you are balayaging the front section of hair, then I usually recommend that your balayage artist sections off an inch or two at a time to ensure the balayage color is blended and not too heavy on one area.

How to Darken Balayage Highlights

If your balayage highlights appear to be a little too blonde, give it a week before doing anything drastic.

The highlights may fade, darken, and mellow on their own accord without the need for chemical or colorist treatment. If you’re not outside in the sun, it’s typical for the highlights to darken within the first few weeks after getting them.

But if the balayage is too light for you after you’ve given it some time to settle, then your stylists can darken the balayage highlights with a glaze or toner. You can also use an ash-toned shampoo and conditioner to achieve this look as well!



How To Choose Hair Color for Balayage?

balayage - chelsea perez stylist - nalu beauty salon - birmingham michigan

Stylist: Chelsea Perez ~ Nalu Birmingham

Balayage comes in different colors, and balayage color ideas should be chosen by your hairdresser to enhance the particular look you want to achieve. The versatility of color ideas can range from soft balayage to more dramatic with a variety of different shades. Blonde balayage colors are more common.

The balayage hair color that you choose should be suited for your skin tone and the overall look you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you have a fair complexion with pink undertones then lighter balayage colors would be a better choice. If you have a medium or olive complexion, then balayage reds and browns might suit your look well!

You also want to consider if you want lighter balayage highlights throughout the top of your hair length with darker balayage underneath. This will help brighten your balayage color and give you a dimensional balayage look.

Balayaged hair should be touched up every four to six weeks if you are looking for lighter balayage highlights or every six to eight weeks if the balayaging is darker throughout. But the bonus is that you can go as long as you want since its a natural look.

Is Balayage Worth It?

Balayage hair color is definitely worth it. Balayage can be done on any hair type and texture, including fine or thinning hair! balayage highlights give your locks a natural multi-dimensional look that will have people thinking you just came back from the beach with gorgeous sun-kissed balayage highlights in your hair!

Balayage can last anywhere from two to four months depending on your balayage artist, hair texture/thickness, how often you wash your hair, and what type of shampoo products are used in conjunction with balayage.

Why is Balayage So Expensive?

For balayage hair color to look natural and have a long-lasting effect, it takes a lot of artistic talent and precision. Balayage touchups usually take at least one hour in the salon chair because the balayage artist needs time to properly blend balayage highlights into your existing hair color. If you are getting a full treatment it can take hours.

In addition to the time commitment, the skill of your stylist is a factor, and balayage takes a large amount of developer and color which is why balayage can be expensive.

In conclusion, balayage hair color is a great way to update your look and achieve natural-looking highlights. This coloring technique has been around for decades but it wasn’t until social media exploded that balayage became widely popularized in America. Now you can find balayage hair colorists everywhere!


Learn more about Nalu Salon | Birmingham. Contact us today for a consultation 248-566-3900.

Follow Chelsea on Instagram: @mrschelseaperez

Follow Erin on Instagram: @hairbyerin_nalu

Follow Ally on Instagram: @allynewsom_hairstylist