What do you think: Is this flip a flop?
Ah, balayage—it came into our lives after years of high maintenance hair and blessed us with its wily ways. With its delicate sweeps and strokes of color, naturally blended hair that looks enviously pecked by the sun became an attainable dream at last, for blondes and brunettes alike. Meaning technically “to sweep” or “to paint” in French, balayage highlights are the new normal. Despite becoming the beautiful muse of our hair dreams, balayage was recently thrust into an early-onset renaissance of sorts. There’s a new spin on the coloring technique making waves, and it’s been dubbed “reverse balayage.”
Deryn Daniels, hairstylist at Chrome Salon in Evergreen, Colorado, posted a reverse balayage look on her Instagram and playfully captioned it: “In a world full of blonde balayage, be a reverse.” Cue the color that launched a major debate. Cool or crazy?
A mane of golden blonde curls blends down into a warm, dark chocolate finish, and we’re intrigued. We get it—the beauty world never stops reinventing and revamping to keep things fresh and new, and we understand how reverse balayage is aiming to be the balayage 2.0. But like Mama always said: If it isn’t broken, why fix it? Looking at the finished style, we can't help but feel a bit unsettled. (Perhaps it's the unnatural upside-down colorway that has us unsteady.)
But the real question we pose: Isn’t one of the major benefits of balayage—besides the beautifully blended look—the seamless way in which it grows out, giving you more precious time between touch-ups? It’s as low maintenance as you wish. By going with the reverse look, you risk reaching an awkward stage of, say, chestnut roots, a honey blonde mid-section, and dark chocolate ends. That’s just not the kind of swirl we’re into.
Balayage became the highlight heavyweight amongst traditional techniques because it offers rich blended color without making you commit to maintaining your roots with regular salon visits. Reverse balayage, as the name implies, is quite the opposite. It needs more salon appointments, time, money, and styling (because we’re imagining a reverse ombré doesn’t really cut it when air-dried).
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Though undeniably edgy and unique, reverse balayage is a real commitment. New York-based colorist Cassie Cohen told Allure: "This would require a regular highlight visit to lighten your roots and refresh the dark bottom." (Every six to eight weeks.) She continues that clients should also "go in for a refresh gloss in between color sessions to keep the vibrancy of the tones alive."
Basically, start marking your calendar and canceling coffee dates because you’re about to have a permanent spot in that salon chair. We’re not trying to discourage any bold ladies that want an eye-catching hairstyle, if only for a while; but, personally, we aren’t exactly trying to make a date with this trend anytime soon.