Let’s start with the basics, shall we? The ‘70s are known for many things: thigh-high boots, flower power, the words groovy and rad—and, as it turns out, it also happens to be the decade that balayage highlights were developed. As we mentioned earlier, balayage is a highlighting technique that was created by French colorists back in the 1970s. In French, the word balayage means to sweep, which describes how the highlights are applied. Balayage highlights are painted on using a brush. They're completely freehanded, there is no cap or guide of any sort, it's all about where the colorist thinks the highlights will look best. The whole goal of balayage highlights is to leave you with natural-looking, sun-kissed hair. To further explain the technique, allow us to compare it to two other popular hair highlighting options.
Rather than traditional foiling or cap techniques, balayage is a freehand technique. With foils, you’ll get a very uniform finish, while with balayage the result is more natural. This also allows the colorist to apply the color in more specific areas that they think will brighten your features.
An ombré hair color involves hair that gradually transitions from dark to light, from your roots to your ends. Rather than creating a gradient effect, balayage highlights are placed throughout your mane in specific areas.