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So, What Exactly is Balayage?

Plan B Kelowna hair salon | Balayage blondes by Jenna

It’s a technique that’s been flying around salons for months now, everyone seems to be requesting balayage hair colour. You may have heard the term used when talking about the looks of A-list celebrities and trend setters, or even amoungst a group of girls on the patio at Cactus Club. It is literally everywhere. Over the last few seasons hair colour trends have been shifting toward slow-fade styles that add depth, dimension and don’t have you visiting the salon every few weeks for a touch-up – which is perfect for you salon slackers out there.

But have you found yourself wondering “Sombré, ombré, what now? What the hell does that even mean?” – well we are here to answer that question and translate all the trendy colour terms into plain english for you.

“Balayage” a softer alternative to traditional highlights

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[column col=”1/2″] It used to be if you wanted sun-kissed locks you were looking at a head full of tinfoil and some pretty noticeable roots within a few weeks. Not anymore.

Balayage is a French word meaning to sweep or to paint. It allows for a natural looking hair colour with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. Foil lightens the hair from the root to the ends while balayage allows the hair to be softer or muted at the root, and then gets progressively lighter as it travels through to the end. With traditional foils, the highlights are uniform and defined whereas Balayage is a freehand technique in which swatches of hair are sectioned and hand painted with a lightening agent. Balayage highlights are less systematically placed, giving you fatter, less symmetrical, more random highlights, and a more casual, beachy finish.

It works on both light and dark hair, and is suitable for almost any length except very short cropped hair. The maintenance is super low because you can go longer between touch up appointments due to there being no clear demarcation line or regrowth. All you really need to do is protect it as you would any other colour: use a colour protecting shampoo and conditioner, regular treatments and heat protection when styling. [/column]

What’s the difference between ombré, sombré, and balayage?

The demand for dark roots and lighter ends started a few years back as a way to combat the root regrowth problem. Ombré features quite a stark dark-to-light fade whereas with sombré the lighter sections start up a bit higher and the lower lengths have ribbons of dark colour for a more gradual transition. Think of sombré as ombré’s softer, lower maintenance little sister. The difference between sombré and balayage is a little more subtle, balayage gives you natural graduated highlights and sombré gives you a graduated lightening effect ending with totally lightened ends.



Balayage yer brights

Blondes aren’t the only ones having fun… You can channel a little rainbow bright with this technique as well by applying vibrant colours to the lightened ends.


Balayage gives a gorgeous healthy finish and can be natural or strong, whatever you want, it’s all about the application technique. So whether you’re dying to get that beach babe Kelownafornia blonde or you just want to try something new, go for it because this trend isn’t going anywhere for a while.
PS all the photos featured here are from our talented stylists at Plan B HQ!

Book in with the balayage experts at Plan B salon in Kelowna today! (250) 717-7526