Balayage is the latest hair dye trend to hit the market, but what exactly is it? I’ll admit, I’ve been seeing the word “Balayage” around for over a year now and it took me months to figure out what it actually means! According to Elle.com, “Balayage is a French word meaning ‘to sweep’ or ‘to paint’. It allows for a sun-kissed natural-looking hair colour, similar to what nature gives us as children.” Sun-kissed look? Sign me up! My biggest question was how is Balayage different than highlights? The answer according to Elle.com, “Balayage has softer, less noticeable regrowth lines than traditional highlights – the principal idea being less is more when creating soft, natural looks. There’s no stripy look like you can get with foil highlights, Balayage emulates the parts of your hair that would naturally lighten in the sun. Also, Balayage is a freehand technique as no foil or meche are used to create the highlights.”
I won’t lie, I was gifted with really great hair. As a child, my mother literally refused to let me cut it because of how long and thick it was. I’ve grown up not doing much to it, other than getting it cut every 12 months or so (I know..blasphemy!). But, when I finally figured out what Balayage was and started seeing all the beautiful photos girls were posting on Pinterest, I started getting the itch to try it out for myself! I did a fair amount of research being making an appointment (mostly screen shotting hair photos I liked) but there was still a bunch of things I didn’t realize before getting Balayage done. So I’m saving you the trouble and sharing the 5 things I think every girl should know before doing Balayage! Check out my Before and After Photos below!
1. It’s SO expensive
As are so many of my favorite things in life, Balayage is freaking expensive. It can you upwards of $250-$300 for just one appointment! That’s not including all of the upkeep you need to do afterwards (See #3) or the special shampoo/conditioner you need to buy to keep the color and hair healthy (see #5). My advice to you, if you are comfortable with seeing different stylists is to find a deal on Gilt City, Groupon, or Living Social. I know that people may have forgotten about these sites but I have gotten great stuff on all three sites. I found a $100 deal on Gilt City for a cut + Balayage at a salon in downtown Boston (where I live). I looked up the salon on Yelp and saw that it had great reviews, bought the deal, and made an appointment for a week later. Not too shabby!
2. It takes a LONG time
Coming from a girl who is usually in and out of the salon in an hour or so, it blew me away how long the Balayage process took. Granted, I do have very long and dark hair, but my appointment was at 1:00 pm and I didn’t leave until almost 5:00 pm! When I first arrived, I showed the stylist photos, then she went through and did the actual color/bleaching with a paintbrush. I then sat reading magazines for a solid 30 minutes. Then she went back and washed my hair and put toner all over my head. I then sat again for another 15-20 minutes. Then she shampooed and conditioned my hair. Next, she cut my hair, put product in, blow-dryed, finished off cutting the angles around my face, and then curled as well! Lastly, she took photos. It was definitely worth the time because I LOVED the outcome but it took up half of my Saturday!
3. If you do Balayage and want to keep it up, it’s going to be costly
When getting normal foil highlights, most professionals suggest repeating the process every 6 to 8 weeks, which seems insane but I guess it’s true. The good thing about Balayage is that you can go longer periods of time between going back to the salon. 3-4 months is recommended but I have friends who have had it done close to a year ago and their hair still looks GREAT. Since it creates a more natural, sun kissed look as opposed to streaky foil highlights, it grows out much more organically and doesn’t create drastic differences near your roots. Regardless, if you want to continue with this particular trend, it might cost you close to a $1000 a year ($250 x every 3-4 months). The problem is that if you go to a good salon, and see how great it looks, it’s going to be hard to not continue with it!
4. It gets lighter over time
This one really took me by surprise. When I first left the salon, I definitely loved the color but it was a little less drastic than I was hoping for. I could definitely tell a difference and it obviously had that “fresh from the salon” look but it was pretty subtle. When I got home and showed my roommate and shared my concerns, she told me “Oh, but it gets lighter over time”. Huh? I had no idea! Apparently, as you wash your hair, you actually see more of the color come through and over time the bleached hair becomes more prominent. I didn’t really believe her when she said it but almost three weeks later, I have realized it’s totally true! Every time, I wash and dry my hair, I’ll notice the lighter colors a little bit more than the last. Keep this in mind when discussing your approach with the hair stylist. I wanted it a little lighter but some of you may not!
5. You have to buy special shampoo/conditioner
I have used “good” aka expensive shampoo and conditioner ever since I graduated from college but once I did Balayage I knew I would need to change my products again to use whatever is best for colored hair. The hair salon sent me home with samples of Pureology Nano Gold which I really liked. They gave me enough for 3-4 uses. When I went on Amazon to check out the cost of the products, I was SHOCKED. Each 32 oz. bottle was over $100!! Over $200 for Shampoo and Conditioner? NO WAY! Once again, I went on Groupon and got a great deal on another Pureology Shampoo/Conditioner. I bought the smaller 12 oz ounces for $14.99 each. After using these for a few weeks, I’m not sure that I love them, they are really drying out my scalp and since they don’t have chemicals in them (all organic) it feels like my hair isn’t cleaning as well. I’ll make a decision when the bottles run out if I want to try another brand!