Streak highlights? Forget them! Ombre? No thanks.
We are in love with the hottest new hair highlighting trend: Balayage.
So what exactly is this strange word balayage and why is it important?
I was so intrigued by this new hair highlighting technique. I had never had highlights done and was scared out of my mind the first time I tried Balayage. My hair is very dark – I’m talking pitch black in fluorescent lighting but a dark brown in the sun. I have some warmer red undertones. My first “dye” job was a dark auburn and it didn’t really work well. Highlights have always been on the back of my mind – my dark hair has a tendency to wash me out and make me look pale and sick. Of course, it’s not always the case, but having a warmer tone was something I wanted to try.
Naturally, I needed an expert’s opinion on whether or not this new trend was right for me. So I sat down with Crystal Gretzinger, Chicago’s best balayage artist and owner of Sogna di Vita Salon in Wicker Park. Not only is she super sweet but incredibly talented. She specializes in balayage, haircuts, and bridal hair styling Crystal has been trained by the best in this technique – and it’s no wonder she’s Chicago best = her portfolio is amazing.
So, Crystal, what is Balayage?
Balayage is a French highlighting technique that means “to sweep”. This organic hand painted technique creates a sun-kissed natural highlighting effect, embracing your natural root and progressively getting lighter towards the ends of your hair. Women love this process since its low-maintenance and allows for months at a time between color appointments because there is less visible outgrowth than your standard foil highlights. Balayage really is the best of both worlds—you can still feel like yourself with your base color but can add brightness and dimension throughout the mid-shaft and ends.
What is the difference between Balayage and ombre?
Ombre is more of a statement color and is very trendy. Ombre means “to shadow or shade”. It’s a progression of color that fades from dark to light or opposite light to dark.
Balayage is a modernized highlight that is very natural and “sun kissed” It looks as though you’ve been in the sun all day.
How light can I go with Balayage?
Balayage is a more gentle lightening process, so several sessions may be necessary to receive the desired look. It is important to keep in mind what compliments your natural hair color and skin tone. Typically 3 levels lighter will be the best complimentary tone.
Am I a good candidate for balayage? (Psstt…I was so worried I wouldn’t be with my dark hair)
Balayage can work for any hair type, length, and cut. It allows your stylist to be very artistic and customize the color to you.
How should I prep for Balayage?
Maintaining healthy hair by using a nourishing shampoo and conditioner. I strongly recommend a heat protectant.
How long does the process take?
Average time for balayage is two hours and lasts for months! Balayage ages very gracefully. It’s like a fine wine and gets better with time.
How do I maintain my Balayage?
Balayage highlights grow out so natural usually clients don’t have to touch it up for about 3 months. Be sure to use professional color safe shampoo and conditioner, as well as a heat protectant to take care of your investment.
What are you predicting for upcoming trends?
Lived in hair (yesss!!!), pastel colors – such as rose golds and opals, as well as mixing tones warm and cool tones.
I was so surprised to learn that i was a great candidate for Balayage. I thought I would NEVER get highlights because of how dark my hair is. Crystal gave me some champagne highlights that were only 3 tones lighter than my natural color. After adding a toner, the champagne highlights looked super natural – like I’ve been at the beach all day.
And the highlights are subtle. It’s not “across the street” obvious like some ladies out there. Yikes? I always get compliments on how lovely the highlights look and how natural they are. The best part? Super low maintenance. Crystal taught me everything I need to know about keeping my highlights colorful and longer lasting:
- Heat Protection – my favorite (here) and (here)
- Color retaining shampoo – love this one (here)
- Wear a wide brim hat (favorite here) and avoid harsh chemicals on the hair.
If you are in the Chicago or Chicagoland area, I highly recommend going to see Crystal at Sogna di Vita Salon. She offers great services and is the sweetest hair stylist. She knows what will work for you and what won’t.
Are you dying to try some Balayage out? Check out our Pinterest hair board (here) for some ideas!
What questions do you have about balayage or hair care that Crystal can answer for you? We are hoping to start a hair series on the blog! Let us know in the comments below!
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