Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About This Year's Most Trending Hair Color

The low-fuss trend that changed the hair color game

Woman with Balayage Hair At Salon
Photo: Getty

If you've been around a salon—scratch that—if you've been around a group of two or more women who color their hair, chances are you've heard the term "balayage." This trendy hair coloring technique has taken the world by storm and rightly so. Its hallmark lived-in color is a dream for upkeep and for fooling everyone into thinking you came by those sun-kissed highlights naturally. Whether you're already a fan or planning on taking the balayage plunge, this guide to anything and everything balayage is here to breakdown the technique.

What Is Balayage?

The balayage definition is "to sweep" and that's quite literally what your stylist will do you if you ask for the treatment. She'll apply very thin and gentle highlights toward the root, gradually adding more drama from the mid to ends.

There's often confusion between ombre and balayage. According to Redken, both are hair coloring techniques though balayage is by far the more natural looking of the two. Ombre features a quicker tone change from roots to tips, where all strands are affected. Balayage, on the other hand, has a longer and more gradual color transition thanks to the sweeping technique.

How To Pronounce Balayage

The ways we've heard balayage pronounced in the SL office, let alone the hair salon, are numerous and varied. For that reason, we're deferring to Modern Salon's balayage pronunciation. The hair authority asserts the correct way to pronounce balayage is bah-lee-ahge with an alternate pronunciation of bah-lay-ahge.

How To Balayage At Home

If you're attempting to partake in some DIY balayage, our hats are off to you. You're a brave soul. Luckily, there are a number of at-home kits that should make the process a bit easier—though we wouldn't say fool-proof. Most good kits will come with all the equipment you need to master the technique at home: applicator, formula, conditioning treatment, and instructions. If your kit doesn't come with gloves, be sure to pick some up. Brands like Madison Reed and L'Oreal are probably the best place to start for at-home kits. In fact, they make it look downright easy.

WATCH: Beautiful Balayage Highlights Inspiration for Your Next Salon Visit

Feeling adventurous? Go ahead and give your at-home balayage a try. Be sure to let us know which kit you chose and any pitfalls you experienced along the way so we can report back.

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