My husband has the most beautiful hair. It’s thick and luscious without being coarse, it naturally falls into effortless beachy waves and his hairline is full with no little receding patches. And the real kicker? His hair lightens perfectly in the sun, giving it that lovely sunkissed glow that so many of us spend hundreds of dollars trying to achieve with balayage. Totally unfair in my opinion, as he of course, does not care AT ALL about his hair. Why is it that people that don’t care always get the best hair? And eyelashes? While these particular mysteries of the universe may remain unanswered, lucky for those of us not blessed with naturally highlighted hair, your friendly neighbourhood hairdresser is here to help!
While there are any number of techniques to get lighter hair, the darling of the blonde world at the moment is balayage. A french word meaning “to sweep”, balayage was so named for the sweeping motions used to paint colour on to hair. Without the help of foils to keep the heat in and the lightening product moist, the end result of this “swept” on colour is meant to be a seamlessly blended, dark to light look like you’ve just come back from a long, relaxing holiday at the beach.
The concept of embracing regrowth on purpose has opened the door to the world of ‘low maintenance’ colouring. Unlike it’s best friend the foil, balayage tends to leave the actual natural colour of your hair at the root. Which means those 4-6 weekly visits- to cover up the evidence of your naturally occurring colour and keep the illusion alive that you really grew that lovely creamy blonde – become less necessary. Balayage allows us the freedom to spend less time in the salon whilst still rocking a blonde look. Glamorous hair with next to no effort? Sounds like a dream!
Going from all dark – whether that’s natural or previously coloured – to lighter can take some time however. In order to preserve the beautifully seamless transition from dark to light, we need to build the colour up slowly. Trying to get light too quickly can leave you with a colour full of harsh lines and uneven patches. Which is generally not the vibe most people are going for, unless your plan was to end up on an instagram page dedicated to hair fails. You might be impatient to get to your goal as quickly as possible but I promise you, it’s worth the wait.
Speaking of going dark to light, this doesn’t mean you have to aim for almost white on your ends! While some people DO want that heavily built up, extreme blonde look to their ends, most people we see for balayage just want something that looks natural to them. Which means lovely rich tones like honey, caramel, chocolate cream, latte and gold are the most popular choices. When your hair is almost black naturally, sun kissed really is more of a chestnut tone than a beige.
Sticking with these warmer, richer tones will give you more longevity with your colour. As hair always has a warm undertone as you lift the pigment out, fighting the warmth too hard will leave you disappointed when your ashy/cool toner starts to disappear after a few weeks. Purple shampoos and take home toners can certainly assist you in keeping that lovely cool tone for longer but embracing the slight warmth that occurs when we lighten hair will give you more time to enjoy your colour without worry. Which when you think about it, is why we want balayage to begin with right?
Balayage really is the ultimate hair journey. The ever evolving nature of this technique is what allows you the ability to subtly change each time you colour. Which is perfect really, considering how your hair naturally changes with your lifestyle. Hair lightens and darkens depending on how much you are outside, but with balayage colouring techniques YOU have the control. Me, I’m a bit more high maintenance so I think I’ll stick to my pink, but for those balayage beauties out there, enjoy your gorgeous “naturally” coloured hair. At least you will be able to plug your awesome hairdresser when you are inevitably complimented on your amazing colour. My poor husband on the other hand, well he will be denying that I colour his hair until he finally goes grey…..which so far he isn’t doing. Sigh. Some people really do have it all. Until next time….