Balayage: The not so secret hair technique loved by the A-list

Welcome to balayage 101...

Balayage is, undeniably, one of the most popular highlighting techniques used today. And with more and more celebs, style icons and the beauty bloggeratti sporting ultra-cool variations of this popular look, finding inspiration for your own take on the trend has never been easier.

Unsure what we mean by balayage? Learn all about this technique and how to wear it by simply scrolling.


Balayage 101: The basics

Balayage: Kaia Gerber backstage getting her straight brown hair brushed.
Back to balayage school with our guide. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

What is balayage?

Balayage derives from the French word meaning to sweep or to paint, and is actually a hair colouring method that involves a hairstylist ‘painting’ the dye onto the hair. Over the last few years, this has become a common hair colouring technique for hairdressers looking to create a graduated and natural-looking finish on their clients.

The idea of balayage hair is that you will be left with a natural colour graduation, so if you love highlights, you’ll be given a sun-kissed look that is softer than traditional highlights with less noticeable regrowth at the roots.


What is the technique for application?

Depending on your desired finish, most balayage styles are applied starting from approx a quarter way down the lengths of the hair, with the bulk of the colour applied at the tips.

Unlike an ombre style, this colour technique leaves no harsh or distinctive colour lines and is mostly applied free-hand. This means hair will be left with a graduated and smooth finish that is subtle and seamless in comparison to traditional highlights or ombre techniques.


Balayage hair inspiration


Caramel balayage

woman with caramel balayage
Source: Adobe Stock

The caramel balayage is certainly one of our personal faves. Long dark brown tresses are with a warm caramel update looks so stunning against most skin tones, making this look a great all-rounder.


Blonde and black balayage

woman with dark roots and blonde balayage
SourceL Adobe Stock

Lightens her dark-toned hair with a light hue to add depth to your tresses.

Editor’s tip: As with any hair colour update, it’s important to use a wash and care system formulated with coloured tresses in mind.

We love Dove Nutritive Solutions Colour Care Shampoo and Conditioner for keeping colour looking vibrant for up to 10 weeks.


Curly balayage

woman with naturally curly hair and blonde balayage
Source: Unsplash

Make you strands pop by adding balayage on naturally curly hair. Curly-haired ladies often team their enviable tresses with a lighter hue to emphasise the structure of their curls.


Sunkissed balayage

woman with natural hair and balayage
Source: Unsplash

Give your light brown tresses are given a sunkissed finish with soft dipped ends and face-framing highlights.


Dark balayage

woman with dark hair and lowlights
Source: Unsplash

Want to find a new way to add dimension to dark hair? Then add a subtle lowlight balayage for a multi-tonal finish.


Hazelnut streaks

woman with long wavy hair
Source: Adobe Stock

Tempted to trade in your raven locks for a hazelnut hue? Then you’ll love this take on a balayage. Adding subtle highlights to dark brown hair will help to give warmth to your look.

Toni & Guy Damage Repair Mask - product image

Editor’s tip: Keep your tresses looking in tip-top condition by using a weekly deep conditioning treatment like TONI&GUY Damage Repair Intensive Mask.


Seamless balayage

woman with long wavy hair
Source: Adobe Stock

Get the best of both worlds with this brown swirl. Bronde hues can be tailored to suit all skin tones and can be painted on as natural or as bold as you desire.


Curly fringe balayage

woman with curly hair
Source: Adobe Stock

Rocking curly bangs and wondering how you can incorporate them into this colouring technique? Give your bangs a gorgeous balayage that blends into the rest of your hair.


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