Balayage is a hair coloring technique that originated in France in the 1970s. Stylists create this effect by freehanding highlights directly onto the surface of the hair, without the use of foils or caps, to create natural-looking highlights in hair. This look differs from the uniform application of foil highlights.
Balayage is a French word that means "to sweep." Balayage highlights are intended to be soft and to sweep throughout the hair to add depth and dimension while avoiding overly noticeable transitions between colors in the hair. This technique results in very natural-looking highlights, though the balayage technique may be used to create bolder streaks of color if desired.
Highlights are applied on the surface layer of the hair and do not extend to the tips of the hair. This color technique does not require as much maintenance as traditional highlights. As the hair grows, it naturally blends into previously colored hair, allowing wearers to stretch the time between salon visits.
Balayage highlights can be applied to any shade of hair. This highlighting technique is applicable for any hair length, although it may not be as noticeable in short, cropped hair. Balayage highlights should be applied by a trained professional to avoid color overlaps or damage to the hair.