Balayage Explained

What Is Balayage?

Discover the must-have highlighting technique for naturally beautiful hair.


Balayage is a French word meaning ‘to sweep’ or ‘to paint’. In its truest form it is a highlighting technique from root to tip that allows for a sun-kissed natural look on any hair colour.

It is quicker than foil highlights and lower maintenance. Over the years Balayage applications have changed and we have four different types of application under the banner balayage.

The beauty of balayage is that you work with the natural fall of the hair and use the natural variations of tone to create a look that’s fresh and modern and totally tailored to each individual. Balayage is all about soft contrasts and gives an effortless look.

It’s a freehand hair painting that uses no foil or meche to create either a very natural looking highlight or something a little stronger, but should grow out very softly again without harsh demarcation lines.

The 4 different types of balayage are Classic, Creative, Micro and Californian. The reason for this is that although classic balayage was part of the world-wide revolution in highlighting, it has now evolved and can be used on any hair length and for many different looks…

classic balayage hair colour


For classic balayage application the product is loaded on the mid-lengths of the hair section, feathered up to the root then spread down over the surface of the section, and saturated on the ends to create a seamless finish.

It’s the Victoria Secret girl look; perfect for longer hair, with upkeep every 8- 10 weeks.

creative balayage highlights


For creative balayage the product is also loaded on the middle of the section of hair and only feathered slightly up the hair shaft for a more lived-in finish, leaving the roots in their natural form. The ends of the section are still saturated.

Perfect for darker bases who want some lightness but nothing near the root, equally lovely on any colour because of it’s lived-in look. Great if you want lower maintenance colour, or simply like a ‘rooty’ feel.

micro balayage hair color


Micro Balayage is a finer, more delicate application which works well on all hair colours. It works exceptionally well when wanting to achieve a heavier coverage of colour and when transitioning from foil highlights to balayage. It’s also perfect in fringes and is great for guys who want a sun kissed look. It goes all the way to the root and is great on bobs and shorter hair.

This type of balayage needs upkeep every 8 weeks.

Californian balayage hilites


Californian balayage is still very soft at the root with a much heavier coverage through the mid shaft and ends. This look achieves a more visible result through the mid-lengths and ends of the hair, and is the look most seen on Instagram at the moment. It works well for people who want to be blonde and is a high-maintenance look. Californian balayage works well with root stretches or root smudges and can also be achieved by merging classic balayage with ombre.