When I was in beauty school, the term and technique "balayage" was touched upon in a mere paragraph in our cosmetology books. I thought nothing of it and memorized the definition just so that I could correctly answer the multiple choice question on my chapter test. It wasn't until I showed up in LA to assist some of the best in the biz that I realized that balayage was an underrated and practically unknown technique that was being practiced by a group of certain colorists for years.
The word "balayage" is French, literally meaning "to sweep". It is a freehand painting technique that allows the hair artist to apply a highlight wherever and however she/he chooses. It is not a fad or a trend and is, actually, one of the oldest applications of highlighting.
One of the most common misconceptions of balayage is that it is the same as the fairly current trend called "ombre". Ombre is a look, whereas balayage is a technique. You can achieve a gradience of color, or "ombre", with balayage just as you can touch up a partial root highlight or incredibly blonde look with the same technique. Balayage is not limited to ombre.
Another misconception about this technique is that it is a simple application. There is much more to balayage then what a weekend certification or a ten minute YouTube video can provide you. I watched someone apply balayage highlights for over two years before I ever attempted it myself. Even the colorist I studied under admitted to seeing imperfections in her work despite practicing it for many years and on countless models and celebrities.
Like any art, there is a a certain level of skill and a never-ending amount of practice and time to master your work. Although balayage is the word on everyone's tongue and on every stylist's checklist of things-to-learn, I believe that the word "balayage" will lose its luster over time. I think that the word and the international rage it has caused may eventually get "swept" away, but the technique and art of it will be around forever just as it has been.
Don't you worry, though, I will never quit perfecting my art. I know that sexy, healthy, beautiful hair will never go out of style, and I will be painting head after head for as long as I can💗.
These photos were taken by my main guy, who puts up with all my hair drama, lectures, and wacky ideas. Love him tons! I hope you all are having a beautiful week and giving your hair some summer lovin!