Anatomy of Balayage

We all know Balayage has become a major hair trend of the century — it’s been sported on everyone from the average Joe to A-list celebrities. Everyone has a different take on the wondrous technique, which makes it just as unique as it is appealing. I would like to share my personal journey of using and learning the art of Balayage and possibly introduce new ways to use it.

Balayage was introduced to me during my student days in cosmetology and was very much confused with Ombre. However, they have very different meanings: Ombre being graduation of lightness to darkness or the opposite, and Balayage meaning hand painting. That being said, you can mesh darkness to light using hand painting. The wonderful Guy Tang brought me this realization with his eccentric but educational YouTube videos. Since then I have dabbled quite a bit with this technique using different products, sectioning, and hair types.


A big part of deciding on which style of Balayage to go with is all based on what look the client is going for. For this lovely military gal, she just wanted a soft, blended look that would be fun and sophisticated. To achieve this, I used the teasing method, taking about 1 to 1 1/2 inch sections all the way up the head. Using a Rat Tail comb, I brought the hair toward the base from the midshaft of the hair and alternated painting on lightly with either a V shape or completely horizontal on the remaining hair. That allowed the teased hair to veil over slightly where we had lightened, creating the ‘soft feel.’

There are other aspects to consider when deciding on Balayage like face shape, hair cut, budget, and so forth. Try experimenting with different lighteners or colors. Many Balayages can be done with a simple one-process hair color. If you have a client who is on a budget, perhaps try a partial and play with sectioning based on cut and client needs. Also different techniques can be incorporated: try weaving, teasing, or simply lightly painting on the surface. Play with different levels of saturation too, depending on the desired look.  Needless to say the possibilities are endless.

Balayage is a very free form way to bring fun into any hairstyle. I have learned that I will never stop expanding my knowledge on this technique, and I encourage anyone to go on a journey themselves to understand this art. It is universal to anyone and is a technique that will most likely stay in style for centuries to come.

If you have not viewed Guy Tang’s Youtube videos here is a link to his channel. Enjoy!


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