What Is Balayage?
This is a hair colouring technique that borrowed its name from the French language. When translated, it means to paint or to sweep which describes it perfectly. Balayaging your hair means gently sweeping hair dye through your locks, giving them that defined sun-kissed look.
Unlike highlights, which require precision and meticulous attention to detail, balayage is a more free-spirited and artistic technique. It does not require you to start dyeing at the roots of your hair and is meant to simply underline your hair’s natural tone rather than change it completely.
What is the Difference Between Ombre and Balayage?
Ombre, which also borrowed its name from the French language, means shading or shaded. Your hair is ombre if it goes from a lighter hue at the ends into a darker shade at the roots.
While balayage is a technique, ombre is the effect or the result. This means you can achieve the ombre effect using the balayage technique. Another way of achieving the ombre look is simply by dip dyeing your ends a few shades lighter.
Getting the Perfect DIY Balayage at Home
A lot of us opt for a DIY balayage at home, and the great news is that it is easy to achieve. If you don’t feel confident doing it on your own, you can have it done in a salon or you can always consult a hair colourist who will equip you with extra tips on areas you are not confident with.
This tutorial will show you a very easy and subtle balayage technique, which will help you achieve a beautiful sun-kissed effect on your natural hair tone.
To balayage you will need:
- A paddle hair brush and disposable gloves
- An ombre or balayage kit
- Optional: A cool ash-blonde toner if you have dark hair to prevent brassiness
- Deeply moisturising shampoo and conditioner
For styling your hair after you balayage it:
- Moisturising hair oil
- Heat protective spray
- Your hair dryer
Before you start, make sure to carry out a strand test to establish how long you will need for the desired colour to develop.
Let’s begin to balayage!
Step 1 - Section
Section your tresses. Put the top of your hair up and bring the rest of your hair to the front.
Step 2 - Prep
Open your ombre or balayage kit and prepare the hair dye. Don't forget to wear gloves when dealing with bleach.
Step 3 - Hair Dye
Grab your hair brush and apply the hair dye at the top of it making sure the bristles are covered with hair dye.
Step 4 - Start to Balayage
Time to balayage! Gently sweep your brush through the mid-lengths towards the ends of your hair on both sides. Then turn around carefully and brush your locks with the hair dye at the back. Brush the product through more generously at the ends and make sure the strokes get sparser on the way up.
Step 5 - Repeat
Repeat the process on all of the remaining sections. Make sure your balayage starts at varying points to avoid a dip-dye look. If you feel there’s too much product on a strand or two, simply rub it out with your hand. If you want some sections to be brighter, grab the mixing brush within the ombre or balayage kit and use that to apply hair dye instead.
Step 6 - Brush Through
Once you finish all of your sections, just go over the mid-lengths and ends with the brush again so that the product is distributed evenly. Refer to the instructions on the specific kit you are using for development time. This will be roughly 20-50 minutes depending on your natural hair colour and the depth of your desired colour. Wash your hair with a rich moisturising shampoo and conditioner.
Step 7 - Blow Dry
It’s time to blow dry your hair. Feel free to use hair repairing oils and don’t forget a heat-protective spray before you plug in that hair dryer. If you are keen on a salon-like blow dry, feel free to read the guide on getting a DIY blow dry at home.
Ready to go!
Enjoy your beautiful balayaged locks.
Optional Step if Your Hair is Very Dark
If your hair is really dark and you see that the dye colour developed into a brassy shade, generously apply hair toner over the dyed hair and keep it on for 20-25 minutes. Wash off and style as normal.