Summer’s on the way! And our thoughts turn to brighter, lighter, more glamorous and gleaming hairdos that not only look sun drenched, but appear naturally touched by Sol’s magic wand. Finding the right balance to achieve gorgeous summer shimmer is the challenge, and avoiding highlighting that is overdone. Foiling has its advantages but can result in excessive uniformity and false or brassy looking tresses that are sometimes disappointing. One top Washington, DC salon owner recommends an alternative technique called balayage (hair painting) that allows the stylist more flexibility and creativity through strategic color placement.
We all know styles and fashion change with time and the seasons. What worked in clothing and accessories yesterday can re-emerge into totally new looks with fresh vibrant creations from innovative artists in the industry. There are equivalent hair fashion trends emerging in the world of hair styles. Highlighting has been and continues to be one of the most popular hair color trends using foils to achieve a sun streaked look. But today’s skilled, creative hair stylists and hair colorists are adapting ever more advanced processes to achieve the gleaming tresses we crave to emulate nature. And balayage is definitely hot!
What is Hair Painting?
Balayage means “to sweep” in French. The process originated in Paris and refers to the way color is hand-painted onto the hair. It is applied with a sweeping motion, sparingly at the roots and heavier towards the ends and is less time-consuming than getting a full head of foil highlights. Traditional foiling can sometimes leave hard lines and extreme color contrasts, but the balayage colorist can literally paint highlights more precisely where the sun would actually hit your hair.
Celebrities keep asking for hair painting because of its’ beautiful outcome. It is a method of coloration that adds sparkle and depth to provide a look so totally natural that it is today’s foremost trend in summer glamour. The method creates a gorgeous, sun-kissed sheen with various shades of lighteners that look as if you are spending or have spent the entire summer playing on a beach.
Recreate the Child in You
Think back to when you were a kid and you had perfect shimmering highlights from playing outdoors in the sun. Today’s skilled colorist can actually recreate those subtle defining streaks for you with hair painting. The process is complicated so it is rarely offered at beauty schools. The best colorists are trained in professional hair salons almost like masters’ apprentices. And not all salons even offer the service at all. If you are considering balayage but assume it only works for blondes, you are wrong. Beautiful dark brunettes can add warm honey or caramel tones to lighten their color. The key is to work with the colorist to analyze your natural skin tones and eye color to achieve the most perfect color tones for your hair. The fountain of youth is literally in your stylist’s able hands.
When to Try Balayage
- If this is your first time for highlights and you want subtle, natural shadings
- You have fine hair and foiling makes it hard to get all of it evenly
- You are a brunette and foils and color tend to come out looking brassy
- Your hair is short and you want the most natural, relaxed finish
- If you would like your color to last between 6 to 8 weeks
- Want a great way to subtly brighten your appearance
- You wish for a less manufactured look with a softer line of demarcation and lower maintenance
- You want re-growth to be less obvious
- Prefer to give your hair dimension and natural looking color sans foils
- Desire color that works well with natural elements and sun exposure to enhance the tones.
Balayage is a more complicated process than other traditional coloration methods, so be sure to ask about the stylist’s training and experience. Consult with your colorist about not adding too many highlights and including more of the dark tones. The secret is to create contrasts with darker areas to emphasize the highlights. And be sure to be clear at the start about the costs involved. Some salons charge by the hour and others by the number of colors used in the application. There are also combination packages available that include conventional foiling with balayage to achieve a more dramatic, intense look with richer color saturation.