This is a trend I love. I know that this look has been around for quite a few seasons now, but its one that I have fallen in love with, and have been getting done for the last few years now.

I’m actually not a fan on the technique when it involves the dip-dye look (which I personally think can look a little trashy), where it actually looks as though your last trip to the hairdresser was a good 6 months ago. I like the more natural look.

My favourite look it that of Whitney Port whose colourist is LA hairdresser Johnny Ramirez ( – he has some great inspiration on his site. In my opinion, he does the best balayage ever. His technique is that of mimicking the way a childs hair colour ends up after the summertime. You know when you see a child in autumn and the ends of their hair and the fine hairs that frame their face are naturally lightened by the sun? This is the look that Johnny tries to replicate, and one that I asked my hairdresser to attempt on me.

Apparently there are two different techniques in which you get the balayage effect (which is basically just free-hand colouring). The first one is where they back-comb (tease) the hair, and apply the bleach to the teased parts. This gives a free-hand coloured look, as the colour travels to random parts of the hair and lightens it in a unique way that cannot be achieved with foils.

However my hair is quite long, and I don’t like the idea of my hair being teased, then bleached, and then I have to get it all combed out at the basin, where I’m sure I will lose a significant amount of length due to snappage – which by the way, you have to be prepared for if you are going to commit to balayage. After all, your ends are bleached.

My hairdresser Jenny, owner of Erics Salon Castle Hill (ph: 02 9634 2343) uses the technique where they alternately take a small section of the ends of your hair, and paint the bleach on about a third of the way up the length, and then use a clear gloss rubbed onto the mid lengths to kind of distribute the bleach so its climbs up subtly to give the faded effect, whilst wrapping the bleached portions around the alternate non-coloured sections, giving a kind of candy-cane effect. Some people like to have the kind of half-bleached look, whereas I get them to apply it in a sort of halo fashion, so the blonde parts are mostly at the ends of my hair, and framing my face, rather than halfway up my head – when the bleached parts are half way up, this is where I really do think this look can take on the appearance of re-growth, and I hate that look.

For the base, she applies a tint which is about the same colour as my roots (just a little warmer). I also get her to do a few weaved foils at the front of my face so it looks more natural & I get that youthful I’ve-been-at-the-beach-all-summer sun-kissed look.

There is another reason behind colouring my hair like this. As I approach my mid 30’s, I am desperately trying to hold onto my youth as best I can, so this is a kind of trickery if you will. It gives the illusion that I am indeed younger than my 33 years, whilst looking natural at the same time. So this is a great tip if trying to find a suitable colour technique that will flatter your looks.

And the best part is, I only have to get it coloured every 3 to 4 months, so its actually a cost effective look to go for. I just pop a Napro Silver toner ( in it if I find its looking a bit on the brassy side (and I yank out any greys that pop up from time to time). Other than that, the only time you need it coloured is when you get a haircut (as the blonde bits would get cut off obviously).

I find if you get it done properly and by a good colourist, it can look as though this was the hair colour you were born with.

2 thoughts on “BALAYAGE”

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