Balayage is having a moment. Think of all those celebrities with their sun-kissed, beachy locks. Translated from the French, balayage means sweeping, which accurately describes the way colorists use a brush to apply hair color in a sweeping, freehand motion to create that natural color gradation we’ve come to associate with the technique. Freedom and creativity are hallmarks of this trend, so if you want to be a more creative colorist, balayage just might be for you. Another plus is that there are varied options for application. Nancy Braun is a celebrity colorist and balayage expert—her Beverly Hills salon isn’t called Balayage by Nancy Braun for nothing. Her advice for beginners is to start in the middle of the shaft, which enables you to hide mistakes. “Once ombré came on the scene,” says Braun, “balayage became mainstream.” As a result, colorists started clamoring for training, and now, it seems, balayage is not just a trend that will fade out, but a technique that’s here to stay.
Hairstylist and social media maven Larisa Love (@larisadoll) breaks own her balayage sandwich technique. The result is an effect that creates a lot of dimension and subtle color blends. Love recommends separating each area with foil, mesh or a balayage wrap. Follow these steps for best results:
- Grab a 1-inch thick diagonal back slice of hair
- Use a balayage technique on the top section
- Use a color melt on the middle section
- Use lowlights on the bottom section