With root touch-ups every six weeks and occasional brightening treatments, colouring your hair requires a lot of upkeep, not to mention quite a bit of cash. And with a second lockdown looming, it's high time we discovered a low-maintenance hair colour. Thanks to hair colouring techniques like balayage and babylights, the new wave of hair colour trends look all the better after a month or two of wear.
With a name taken from the French word to sweep or to paint, balayage is, you could say, the ultimate in custom colour. Applied by a skilled technician, the results can be fantastic and despite the initial outlay – it shouldn’t require too many trips to the salon to maintain. So, if you have it how do you take care of it? And if you want it, what should you consider? We asked Elaine Sullivan, owner of Aviary Lane in Dublin for her insight into the dream ’do.
“Balayage is often referred to as a couture colour service. It’s a horizontal colour blend from the roots to the ends that gives the colour technician full artistic license. With highlights, there is a formula, a sequence that works with a schedule, and you can repeat and follow the pattern. Balayage – on the other hand – can be labour intensive, needs a more creative eye and takes time to blend. So it often has the price tag to match. However, a full balayage should only be necessary once or twice a year and can be maintained using a ‘money piece’ at the front or some small highlights scattered to soften the line.”
IF SOMEONE WANTS TO TRY BALAYAGE WHAT SHOULD THEY CONSIDER?
"Firstly, ask yourself if you need it. If you are already heavily highlighted, simply choosing less highlights could give you the same result without the price tag. Think about your hair type and length. Finding a colour tech with the knowledge and the ability to match to a specific hair colour is also essential. There is a lot of unnecessary jargon around colour techniques, so do your homework before you make your salon appointment."
WHAT PRODUCTS SHOULD PEOPLE USE AT HOME?
"If the hair is long and has a couple of blonde balayage pieces, you need something softening that will inject moisture. The Sebastian Dark Oil range is super for this. For a full balayage, there is a lot going on when it comes to lightening the hair, so it is hollow and needs filling up with oils and lipids to keep it looking expensive and shiny. Light doesn’t bounce off a ruffled surface so using things like dry conditioners to smooth the hair in between washes (and after brushing) is very effective. Kevin.Murphy Young Again Dry Conditioner(€25) is one such highly-recommended product. Another thing to keep in mind is that backcombing and bleach don’t go together so avoid any sort of backcombing when going through colour processes."
HOW CAN YOU BEST MAINTAIN THE LOOK?
"Do your research, trust your colour technician and use good homecare products to keep your hair in good condition. If you’re doing a full balayage, work towards getting it done no more than twice a year."
THE TOOL KIT:
If you’re going to invest in your hair, it shouldn’t stop at the salon door. Great homecare will help make the most of your colour.
Heat Relief, €33, Aveda; Leave-In Conditioner, €21, Great Lengths; Young Again Dry Conditioner,
€25, Kevin.Murphy; Colour Security Shampoo, €22, Color Wow; Keratine Repairing Care Mask,
€23, Phyto; Hair Oil, €24.95, Dr Hauschka; Dark Oil Styling Oil, €36.95, Sebastian Professional
This article was originally published in the September issue of Irish Tatler.
Main image by @justinandersoncolor on Instagram