Schwarzkopf Professional
Trendlooks 2016

What is Balayage?

What is Balayage?
Lucky streaks: Subtle balayage accents for a gorgeous effect
© Getty Images

The colouring technique of the hour conjures up a custom wow effect in your hair – and looks wonderfully natural! Learn all about balayage: How it works, what makes it different from the ombré look, whether it also looks good in short hair... Also: Brown, blonde, red or black – who looks good with the painting method?

  • Bala-what? The trendsetters are talking about it – but it’s all double Dutch to you? Don’t panic, learn all about it: 

  • What is Balayage?

  • What is Balayage?
    Queen of balayage: Actress and fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker has been swearing by the hair colouring trend with the natural look for a long time
    © Getty Images

    When hair becomes a canvas: French hair stylists have long since mastered this colouring technique in which the hair is 'painted' freehand with a brush. Here balayage, pronounced: balejasch(e) [balɛjaʒ], has only recently become popular. It comes from the French verb balayer, meaning to sweep or brush, which is derived from the method of working the streaks into the hair.
    Instead of separating individual sections of hair according to the regular streaking method (foil technique), dyeing them from the hairline to the ends and wrapping them in foil, the strands of hair are held loosely in one hand and painted with colour in a motion similar to sweeping. This makes it possible to create colour mixtures of various intensities, conjuring up a lively look. The hairline remains largely untouched in balayage: Colour is applied to the lengths and especially the ends, in particular to the sections framing the face. Amazing effects are achieved in this way and contours can be emphasised. The transitions between the dyed strands are flowing and soft, making the result appear highly natural – and always matched to the individual wearer.

    Delicate to pronounced contrasts in the hair are created by selectively applying or brushing on the colour(s), visually increasing or reducing volume according to preferences and the hair type. No to mention that the colour interplay of light and dark nuances produces the flattering contouring effect as well. So this trend that presents the facial features through the purposeful application of makeup also works with hair! Areas one wants to emphasise, such as the cheekbones, are accentuated with light colour at that level. On the other hand, darker areas in the hair can be skilfully applied for narrowing. The face can be effectively modelled, contoured and perfected through the purposeful application of streaks. 

  • What is the Difference Compared to Ombré?

    The ombré hair hype (also called dip dye) is a colour gradient: Dark hairline or lengths, depending on where the colour transition begins, and lightened ends. If the light hair starts at the hairline and transitions to a darker nuance – usually half and half – the look is called two-tone. Unlike the balayage version, the leading ombré hair trend and the two-tone style do not work with individual strands. Colouration is applied starting around ear height or lower and completely covers the hair ends. This creates a striking look. While the two colours are clearly differentiated with ombré and two-tone, highlights and lowlights of different hues in balayage hair result in an overall work of art that looks natural.

  • What Hair Length Works Well with Balayage?

    From a frayed pixie to a straight bob or curly, flowing mane – in principle the balayage method works with any hairdo. This is because the freestyle technique allows the colour accents to be individually tailored to the haircut and texture. However, the most impressive effect is achieved in XL hair. Why? The longer the mane (recommendation: at least shoulder length), the more creatively the streaks can be positioned. What’s more, the movement in long, open hair – especially with waves – makes the refined interplay of colours even livelier.

  • What Hair Colours Come into Play?

    That is the best part: All of them! Whether you want to add a fresh new kick to your natural hair colour or try out a whole new colour mix – with balayage, the result is guaranteed to be a hit. How about golden blonde highlights in chocolate brown hair for instance? Or seductive Bordeaux accents in jet black hair? The balayage method makes any combination possible.

    So much for the theory, now the practice: We have compiled the most impressive balayage beauties for you in the gallery:

  • The Most Beautiful Balayage Looks

    What is Balayage?

    © Getty Images  

    Balayage: Soft Waves

    Little styling effort, great effect: Singer Nicole Scherzinger shows us how it’s done, presenting her mega-mane to best advantage with natural balayage highlights. Worn open with soft waves, it is the perfect summer style!

    What is Balayage?

    © Getty Images  

    Balayage in a Long Bob

    Actress Sarah Hyland ('Lipstick Jungle', 'Modern Family') delivers enchanting proof that the balayage method should not be reserved for long hair: The streaked mid-length cut appears modern, romantic and natural in one. As though kissed by the sun... Hint: The colouration trend is particularly effective in the wavy look shown here – short, medium or long!

    What is Balayage?

    © Getty Images  

    Balayage: New Colour Mix

    It doesn’t always have to be the classic combination of brown and blonde – black hair too can be refined with the balayage technique. For example with seductive red accents. The lively look is particularly exciting with a compact fringe and volume in the hair

    What is Balayage?

    © Getty Images  

    Balayage: Ponytail with Wow Factor

    A stunning ponytail upgrade: Discreet highlights and lowlights create a spectacular range of colours in the hair. Tied into a high ponytail and curled into slight waves, the balayage mane is presented to its best advantage

    What is Balayage?

    © Getty Images  

    Balayage: Herringbone Braid

    The trendy colour streak effects are truly eye-catching in braided hair. R'n'B singer Ciara chooses the casual version and presents her balayage hair with a trendy herringbone braid in the undone mix featuring loose sections dancing around her face. Guaranteed wow effect!