The mane event! Hairdressers talk balayage and colour trends

There’s something about a gorgeous, fading grading of hair colour that gives your tresses a gorgeous natural look but still shows off your personal style. If you’ve always wondered how it’s done, balayage is a technique for highlighting hair in which the dye is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect – and it suits almost anyone! Charlotte Riverain, Senior Hairdresser at Whitehouse Hair Skin Wellness, Wahroonga, explains everything you need to know.


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The Whitehouse team

If you’re not French born or bred, you might not know that “balayage” is pronounced: BAH-LAY-AHGE. It’s actually the French word for sweeping, so feel free to add your own French accent! The freehand technique was developed in the 1970s and has since become a hot ‘new’ hair trend, suitable for ladies of all ages. It’s effective because it takes great skill to apply correctly; it is a technical art-form of many nuances that allows a colourist to customize a colour for every client.

The hair-colouring techniques that are hot right now

Ombre: Ombre hair coloring is defined as when your hair color gradually blends from one color to another. It comes from the French word that means “shadow” or “shade”

Sombre: This is a variation on the “shadow” or “shaded” technique of ombre, only far softer. It’s ombre hair, but more subtle.

Baby Lights: Babylights are super soft highlights that delicately soften the roots of solid-colored hair, for laced effect.

Balayage: The results are distinctly different to other colouring styles such as ombre, sombre or baby lights. Where ombre is used to achieve a drastic and definite colour difference between the roots and the ends, balayage is much more subtle and blended.

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How balayage works:

Balayage allows you (and your stylist) to create a never-ending variety of results, without changing or altering the original technique.

While this technique is best done on natural hair to achieve a natural sun-kissed look, similar to what nature gives to fair-haired children, it is now also being used to produce much stronger and clearer blondes. It can even be used to add low-lights to previously lightened hair to provide tonal difference and texture to the original colour.

The product, which is gradually applied on the surface of the hair, blends from the roots through to the ends. The process and tools the colourist may use varies depending on the desired result. The hair is either painted on a colouring board or using a 100% free hand application. Depending on the product used, the hair might be separated by foil, cling wrap or cotton wool to avoid ‘bleeding’ of the colour.

Treatment and maintenance:

Balayage allows for a low maintenance result as it grows beautifully with no regrowth line. To ensure the original colour is maintained, a toner (gloss colour) is advised to be applied in between balayages to brighten up the reflects and bring the shine back.

It is always a good idea to supply your stylist and/or colourist with any relevant pictures that show the balayage result you want to achieve, as this way there can be no confusion. After a thorough consultation, your colourist will then be able to advise the best possible way to reach your desired outcome, and always remember that it may take more than one visit to get there!

After your balayage, it is recommended you use a shampoo free of sulphates and parabens and a conditioner containing UV protection to protect against colour fade. Regular conditioning treatments will help to maintain optimum moisture levels, and a heat protectant applied prior to styling will ensure your hair remains healthy, which is much more flattering!


Find out more or book your appointment at…

Whitehouse Hair Skin Wellness, Wahroonga

Address: 62 Coonanbarra Rd, Wahroonga.

Phone: (02) 9487 4136

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