Madison Hair Stylist Mallory Cook Explains Balayage & More
We’ve been seeing a lot of these fancy sounding words used to describe hair color for a while now. If you’ve ever gone to handy dandy Pinterest to try to figure out the difference, you’ve probably seen a lot of the same pictures pop up for balayage, ombré, foilyage, babylights and more than one, if not all of these terms.
The truth is, you don’t go into the salon to “get a balayage” or to just get “babylighted.” These are all terms stylists use for an application method of color or lightener to create a specific look in your hair. More than one technique may be used to create a particular look depending on what is already on your hair, and what you are looking to have as your finished result. So what that means: the technique used in your hair should be decided AFTER looking at pictures and talking about how you would like your hair color to look with your stylist!
What is Balayage?
Balayage in French means, “to sweep.” This term applied to a hair color application technique would be used for someone who is painting color, typically highlights, in a very natural soft way creating a soft effect towards the top, and a heavier, brighter effect at the ends of the hair. Think of your hair, after sitting in the sun, typically the ends of the hair are lighter and brighter from more exposure over time, and closer to the root there is softer brightening effects, usually mostly around your face and right on top. Balayage is a great way to mimic this kind of effect, and you have the power to make it bolder, or more subtle to look like you spent a week at the beach.
What is Foilyage?
Foilyage is something that fools (foils) a lot of us. I know a lot of stylists will disagree, but this IS a way of applying color to balayage, the difference? Foilage is applied in a foil, rather than free hand painted. Why? Many reasons! You will get a more defined result isolating the hair in a foil if desired, my main reason for going to foilage over balayage is how much more lightness I can achieve having the hair processed inside a foil. We can use a lower developer so we’re not just busting open the cuticle of our guests hair (with open air processing of highlights you usually want a higher developer so it can get the job done before it dries out), and it will lift higher. So if I’m working with a guest who has previously darker colored hair, or just naturally darker hair that doesn’t lift light easily, I will absolutely get the foils out and ready to go to achieve there desired result.
What are Teasy Lights?
Teasy lights means we backcomb the section of hair before painting, foiling, whatever application of highlighting we are using. This will create a super diffused line of demarkation, meaning the line where the highlight starts, for the maximum amount of blending in addition to our sweeping/painting method.
What are Babylights?
Babylights are done in very fine sections of hair, meant to mimic the multi dimensional color of a baby/toddler. These can be done very close together, or further apart depending on how much impact you want for the color. I love using baby lights to blend gray hairs for my clients that aren’t wanting to commit to an all over solid color. I’ll use two different formula, one a shade or two lighter than their natural, one a shade or two darker than their natural. It creates such natural dimension, it covers and blends those gray hairs right in. I’ll use closer sections in areas where there is more gray.
What is an Ombré?
Ombré is another fancy word, it’s french for shade, or shadow. So creating a shadow, or richer color at the base of the hair, fading out into lighter ends. This technique can, and has been applied in so many fun, creative ways. We see anything from a subtle medium brown into medium honey blonde ends, from extreme nearly black roots into silvery blonde ends, or more fun, fashion color, applications can be done such as dark blue roots into bold yellow ends. Techniques such as babylighting, teasy lights, and balayage can all be used within an ombré to create a nice blended effect.
What are the benefits of these techniques?
The beautiful thing about any of these hair color methods is they are super customizable. Bigger sections will create more of a bold impact, especially around the face this can create a very dramatic sunkissed, vibrant look. or fine sections can be taken for the ultimate natural color results.
A few things to remember or notice.
In any highlight or lightened hair as equally import to those bright pieces is our dark hair/negative space in between so those light pieces pop. If you as a client notice your hair getting to all over bright there’s a few techniques that are life savers to help bring contract back into their hair. Ask your stylist how they can add contrast back in. This makes hair look healthier, shinier, and it just pops color more to have dimension vs a solid color of hair.