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Everything you need to know about Balayage

Balayage is a bit of a buzzword in the hair colour community right now. If you search ‘Balayage’ on Instagram, you are presented with 15 million search results for the word (And 34,800,000 results on Google to be precise!). And on any given day in the salon, at least half of the clients are having the service, or one of its variations. So it’s no surprise that some people might wonder whether it’s possible to recreate these amazing salon looks at home. Josh Wood Colour sells at-home permanent colour kits, as we believe beautiful hair should be available to all women. However, we also recognise that some techniques simply cannot be recreated at home, without the expertise of a colourist.

We spoke to Josh Wood Colour Advocate Colourist Jason Hogan to find out his thoughts.

What is balayage?

Balayage is "a technique for highlighting hair in which the dye is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect". You may have already seen it on your favourite celebrity, it gives an extremely natural result of hair lightening - that is softer than highlights - and works with your hair's cut and colour, to only be placed where your hair would naturally lighten in the sun.

Its popularity...


“About 70% of my clients have a free hand technique look – it’s certainly very popular! However, with it being such a buzzword, this can sometimes lead to clients misunderstanding the process. Balayage has become known for the look rather than the technique, people bring in photos of what they perceive to be balayage, but it’s actually a lot of foil work".

The technique…


“Balayage is a soft, natural look designed to lighten where the sun would hit, whereas the popular high contrast, dark roots to creamy ends look is usually foil work.

Balayage is a free hand technique, it’s more to do with the technique than the product. It mimics how hair would naturally lighten in the sun. It takes an experienced colourist to work with your type, texture, style and cut to place the colour accordingly. It’s a couture colour, so it isn’t ‘one size fits all’ in any way."

“The technique focuses through the mids and ends rather than the roots like an all-over colour does, and therefore is more complex to apply, as it’s not in a concentrated area.”

The formula...

“Of course, you can be very clued up about hair colouring, but the ins and outs of formulas takes years to learn. As a colourist you constantly asses your client’s hair and mix different formulas and levels of lightener for one head of hair, depending on the natural level of light, hair density, if the hair had been previously coloured or lightened, and the condition of the hair."

His advice...


“Go and see your colourist, there are some things that can’t be recreated at home and balayage is one of them. You should start on a ‘less is more’ basis if you have previously uncoloured hair, start lightly - you can build up balayage. It’s great for you to take the hair on a journey to customise it, and by adding balayage in stages we can make it really personal to the client, and to their hair health. But I’d definitely recommend taking some images of balayage that you like to a consultation with your colourist who can properly inform you of the technique involved, and how long it would realistically take to bring your hair to that level, without compromising its health”.

Now maintain your colour...

Josh Wood Colour Shampoo

Environmental Stress affects all hair, so protect colour with a barrier against potential damage.

Josh Wood Colour Conditioner

Shine boosting conditioner that prevents fade and nourishes your hair.

Josh Wood Colour Everything Mask

Created to lock-in colour, add shine, hydrate and deep-condition your hair, the Everything Mask is the ultimate treatment for all.

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