Everything You Need to Know About Balayage

From beauty magazines to hair inspiration pins, you've heard the term “balayage" a lot recently. Often confused with ombre or babylights, it can be hard to determine if the color styles you are interested in are balayage or something else entirely. Although the differences between each of these styles appears subtle to the untrained eye, using the wrong term when requesting color from your hair stylist can mean different results than you anticipated. To determine if this is the look you are going for, consider the differences between these popular styles:

What is Balayage?


For starters, balayage is not a color. Instead, it is a specific technique that is utilized by professional hair stylists during the application of hair color. The term hails from the elegantly chic French language and means “sweep" or “sweeping" and this is exactly how balayage is done. For balayage at Inscape Beauty Salon, we will use a small brush, or a paddle spatula, to gently apply the hair color in a sweeping motion. This is performed freehand and typically incorporates the most color at the ends of the hair with strategically placed strands incorporated in the front and sides. Because balayage is a technique, and not a color, it is crucial to choose a complementary hue. For instance, a brunette with a deep chocolate base would achieve a more natural look if balayage was performed with a caramel brown, rather than a platinum blonde. Like with any style, however, the balayage technique can be used to create a more dramatic look by choosing drastically different hues. If you are uncertain of which color is best for a subtle balayage, your Inscape Beauty Salon stylist will be happy to point you in the right direction.

How Balayage Differs from Babylights or Ombre?


The goal of the balayage technique is to mimic the way that the sun naturally lightens hair. The result will look more subtle, much like the way a child's hair is lighter at the ends. To achieve this result, the freehand method is used instead of foils or caps which are traditionally used with highlights or babylights. Because strands are chosen at random during the color application, you avoid the noteable “streaks” of color from the roots to the ends of your hair that you get from babylights. Despite their ultra-thin nature, these babylights require as much maintenance as traditional highlights because they are applied throughout the entire length of the hair.

Ombre, on the other hand, refers more to a style than a technique. The ombre style describes a color that is typically darker at the roots and gradually gets lighter throughout the length of the hair. When it comes to hair coloring in South Florida, this has been one of our most popular styles over the past few years. Essentially, with a traditional ombre, the color at the ends will be drastically lighter than the roots. This same style can be done working backwards (where the hair is darkest at the ends and lighter at the roots) and this is known as a reverse ombre. Because each section of the hair is a different shade, any type of ombre is drastically more apparent than a balayage style.


Still unsure if balayage is what you’re looking for? Schedule a Free Consultation at your local Inscape Beauty Salon today. We are happy to guide you in choosing which technique and colors will achieve the results you are dreaming of.