Everything you need to know about the hottest hair trend: Balayage
Balayage has been around for a while but this timeless colour technique is one of the most requested styles in salons today. So what exactly is it and why do celebrities love it so much? International colour expert Jack Howard explains…
So, what exactly is balayage?
From the French word meaning to ‘sweep’ or ‘paint’, balayage in its truest form is a highlight which creates a beautiful blend of soft, natural tones through the hair.
What made you want to create a balayage hair extension line with Beauty Works?
I was always colouring hair extensions in the salon and recreating popular balayage requests on client’s extensions, so I approached Beauty Works about the idea of developing a hand painted colour range, offering my 5 most requested balayage colourways. Quality was also important to me and I loved the fact that the hair was double drawn (meaning the hair is thick from the root to the tip)! A few samples later and we had ourselves a collection of 5 bespoke shades.
Can you create a balayage effect on any hair colour?
Yes. Dark, blonde, long, short, you can create a balayage effect on any colour or length! Balayage is a highlighting effect, it’s no longer just a trend. It has evolved into a modern highlighting effect which is hugely popular and has been with celebrities for many years, so I get clients with all different hair types requesting the look. Think Victoria’s Secret angel, Lily Aldridge, Sarah Jessica Parker or Kate Beckinsale – these are all balayage colour effects.
How does balayage differ from ombré?
Ombré, meaning ‘to shadow’ is a noticeable graduation from dark to light whereas balayage is a highlight throughout the hair that takes a softer approach. The demand for dark roots and lighter ends started a few years back, worn by everyone from Alexa Chung and Drew Barrymore. Ombré can feature quite a dark-to-light fade. Unlike ombré, balayage is less systematically placed to create a natural highlight.
Does it require a lot of maintenance?
No, balayage creates a softer look at the root which requires much less maintenance than a traditional foil highlight. It’s great because it gives the look longevity.
You’ve created 5 beautiful shades with Beauty Works, do you have a personal favourite?
All the colours were designed to add depth and dimension to your own hair colour but I particularly love ‘Biscuit’, it’s such a versatile shade which can blend in and work for brunettes who want to add a softer highlight.
What’s the best way to make sure my balayage extensions blend seamlessly with my natural hair?
Have them professionally fitted and always go for a consultation first – that would be the best advice I can offer. A good extensionist will be able to colour match you and fit your extensions to give you the most natural blend. Extensions used to be about adding length, now they are more about adding volume and creating beautiful colour and dimension. Extensions can transform someones hair and be completely discreet – these are the best type of hair extensions, when you don’t even know they are extensions!
Beauty Works offer extensions in a selection of lengths, with the balayage colour collection starting at 16” – perfect for subtle volume. They also have trained professional salons all across the UK that fit and supply their hair extensions, if you visit the store locator you will find some of the leading extensionists in the UK offering Beauty Works Hair extensions.
Of course contouring in the make-up world has become a huge trend recently, but what is hair contouring and can it be achieved with hair extensions?
Absolutely. Terms like ‘contouring’ and ‘strobing’ have filtered across to the hair world because these are terms the customer is familiar with and understands. As part of my collection with Beauty Works, we created face-framing pieces which come with the Balayage Bonds; each pack contains 20g of face-framing highlight pieces. On these pieces, the balayage effect is placed higher so that when placed around the face by the hairstylist, it gives an instant contoured effect by adding lighter tones around the face, accentuating the cheekbones and eyes.
As an international colour expert, you’ve worked your magic on many an A-lister. Who is on you’re A-list client list to date?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with the likes of Poppy Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse and super model Ana Beatriz Barros
If there was any celebrity you could work with, who would it be?
I’d love to work with Angelina Jolie or J Lo, they’ve both got a great head of hair. Kate Beckinsale is another one on this side of the water I’d love to work with. There’s so many great people, it’s hard to choose!
And lastly, ultimate balayage icon?
It has to be Sarah Jessica Parker. She’s the poster girl for balayage. I love how her hair has evolved from that over-processed blonde in the early 90’s to the beautiful soft balayage it is now.
So there you have it. Our Balayage masterclass in under 10 minutes. Feeling inspired? Shop Jack’s latest collection here >