What Is Balayage Hair | Hair.com UK

By Colour

What Is Balayage Hair And Why You Need It In Your Life

31 August 2018
back of woman with balayage hair

Alexandra Lazic

Beauty Editor

As a hair and beauty journalist, Alex is committed to equipping readers with all there is to know about the latest trends, tips, and tricks in order to make sure you get your next haircut, colour, or style just right.

If you feel like balayage is a trend that is on everyone’s lips (and hair) these days, you would certainly not be wrong. And if you’re contemplating jumping on the balayage bandwagon, you’ve come to the right place! We answer all your balayage-related questions, covering what is balayage, its sister variation - reverse balayage - and how these techniques are applied. Here’s why you need this hair technique in your life, right now.

So, What Is Balayage?

Balayage is a French word that means to sweep, referring to the technique of sweeping highlights along the surface of your locks. It uses patches of shade and light to create a beachy look, allowing for sun-kissed natural looking hair (with no sun necessary). This pretty and trendy technique is used to highlight hair for a subtle glow that brings your hair colour to life, beginning just away from the roots and gradually becoming more dense as it travels down the hair. Less uniform than traditional highlights, some strands are kept darker for a natural look and multi-tonal finish. You can always count on French elegance to coin such a beautiful trend!

The Perfect Balayage Candidate

Balayage works on all hair textures - straight, wavy or curly. It really can suit all.

It can be used on any hair colour from light to dark, and most hair lengths (besides very short or cropped styles). It’s a useful method for when you’re looking for a quick colour refresh, without committing to a complete colour overhaul. No more worrying about drastic results you can’t reverse!

Your Balayage Weapon Of Choice

Move over traditional foils, there’s a new sheriff in town. L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Highlights has been designed to give up to six levels of lift in half the time. It is uniquely created to help protect hair from damage caused during the heat process, in order to get beautiful results without compromising on hair quality. With this tool, your colourist’s artistry comes into play, allowing for many variations and colour compositions. Think of it like this: your hair is the canvas, and your colourist gets to work their magic. They choose the best placement of balayage to complement not only your haircut, but also your natural hair growth patterns and features, for a bespoke finish that is curated just for you.

Balayage is usually applied on the surface of the hair rather than being saturated throughout the tips, which helps to ensure a smooth, blended stroke of colour. The depth of balayage can vary according to what you’re looking for, from a few small highlights to a full-on, complete look. Regardless of the style you’re after, you get a glowing, dimensional effect, and it’s all achieved in the blink of an eye (well, usually around 45 minutes) - meaning that you can use your day for other shenanigans.

what is balayage

Trend Shakeup: Reverse Balayage

Now that you’re acquainted with balayage, it’s time to introduce you to another trend in the hair colour world: reverse balayage. As you might have guessed, reverse balayage is the opposite of a traditional balayage, so instead of going from dark to light, it’s a natural graduation from light roots to dark tips. It suits most hair colours, but in order to keep it looking natural and as nuanced as possible, it tends to work best on those with light to medium hair hues. Like traditional balayage, it also incorporates multi-dimensional tones, but instead of going lighter towards the ends, it’s about choosing a deeper shade than your current colour. It’s painted on as a smudge effect rather than stripes to keep it looking as natural as possible. We’re all about that natural beauty. 

How To Keep Your Balayage Popping

Because balayage has softer, less noticeable regrowth lines than traditional colour or highlights it creates a more natural look which allows for less upkeep. That said, your hair is still coloured, and it will require some basic TLC to continue looking its best as the weeks go on. 

Balayage Hair Heroes

If your balayage starts to err on the brassy side, you can refresh it with toner like L’Oreal Professionnel Silver Shampoo to get your colour back to its heyday. This colour-clarifying purple shampoo  is the perfect tool to showcase the beauty of blonde hair or balayage. It works to neutralise and counteract against any unwanted brassy tones, to keep your colour looking salon-fresh. To get your gloss back and to keep your colour protected, you can also try Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo and Matrix Total Results Brass Off Conditioner, which are designed to boost cool tones and give up to you 10x less breakage. Winning!


Both low-maintenance and beautiful, balayage is ideal for the modern, busy woman - get your balayage booked in stat! 

I like this article
Be the first to like this article

Oops, something went wrong! Please try again later...

More to discover

woman with curly neon yellow hair
01 May 2019

Are You Turned Ne-On or Off for Neon Hair? The Bright Hair Trend You Can’t Avoid

Read on to learn how to slay in this bright, badass look that’s spreading like wildfire!

woman getting highlights in her hair in salon
30 April 2019

3 Highlights Looks You Can Achieve In 30 Minutes

Longing for highlights but feel short on time for an appointment? Now there’s a new speedy salon service that cuts colouring time in half!

blonde woman with fur coat and babylights
29 January 2019

Baby, It's Cold Outside: Why Babylights Are The Winter Highlights To Wish For

The temperatures are dropping, the days becoming shorter and darker… which is why it’s the perfect time to ask your stylist to add some babylights to your hair! These rays of sunshine are baby highlights that can be strategically placed throughout your mane to give you an instant glow-up. Read on for the hair inspo you’ve been waiting for.

Salon Locator

store locator

Find your nearest hairdresser on our Salon locator and experience the latest hot hair trends and hair technics with the best hair experts. Visit a salon and benefit from their professional tips, which include all regimens to maintained and prolonged your hair look at home. It's time to get pampered!