Hair Colour Explained: Balayage, Highlights & More!

Balayage, highlights and root stretch in Warwick

Are you in need of a hair colour refresh, but always find the whole thing a bit awkward because you’re not really sure what to ask for and you’ve heard loads of terms like balayage and root stretch and don’t really get the difference.

We’re here for you! At our salon in Warwick, we like to make things really simple, so please don’t get caught up in saying the right thing just have a think about how you’d like it to look.

But if you would like to understand the options available to you, here are some top tips on highlights to babylights and everything in between!

What’s the difference between a balayage and foil highlights?

Balayage has been a huge hair colour trend for quite some time now and as a team we’re proud of our reputation as a go-to salon for balayage in Warwick.

But one thing we’ve noticed is that there is still a fair bit of confusion between a balayage, foil highlights and all the other hair colour buzzwords, so we thought we’d do a bit of a Q&A with Leanne (who’s a bit of a guru when it comes to all things hair colour – especially balayage)

So what’s the main difference between foils and balayage?

Well, foils are added at the root area. We can get in really close so it really does seem like the hair has grown in that colour.

But because they are so close to the root, your natural growth is going to show through and for most people that’s going to be about every 5-6 weeks (on average hair grows about a centimetre a month).

Balayage is hand painted hair colour. Your colourist will choose where to add the colour based on the shape of your face, the structure of your haircut and what’s going to work for your colourings..

It creates a much softer line that will grow out more gradually.

I’m going grey, should I have foils or a balayage?

If grey roots are starting to come through then foils are definitely a better option for you because your colourist will be able to blend it in much better.

Your colourist will also be able to blend  a mixture of darker and deeper pieces with the lighter ones so you’ll feel much more confident with your re-growth.

So what’s a Root stretch then?

Often known as lived-in colour, a root stretch could be the perfect choice for you if you’ve got lighter ends that are a colour you really like.

Your Hair Management Colourist will literally extends the root area and then blend it into the end colour. It gives you a softer smudge that looks like it’s been naturally coloured by the sun.

So is a balayage an ombre?

That’s a tricky one! Yes. And no!

Balayage literally means hand painted in French. It’s the technique we use when we do any bespoke colour that’s painted onto the hair.

And an ombre is usually done by hand painting the hair with tint.

Where an ombre hair colour is different to a balayage is that it is usually a very two tone effect with one colour at the top and a more definite line into the next shade.

A conventional balayage tends to be much more blended for a softer look. It usually means you can wait a little longer between appointments.

Could I have a balayage with semi-permanent hair colour?

That’s another yes and no question. Balayages are usually done with permanent hair colour and they are quite often part of a blonding service.

But if you are going blonde and feel in the mood to mix it up a bit, it’s always fun to add a semi-permanent to the ends. I love doing this with an ice white or you could add a baby pink or a copper through the ends.

Your demi-permanent colour is going to wash out after 8-10 weeks, but that’s the best bit because you can then go in for a change, like a lilac or whichever creative colour takes your fancy.

If you are looking for grey coverage, you’ll always need to go for permanent colour.

How should I look after my colour between appointments?

Most of our balayage or highlights guests have bleach on their hair because they want that brighter blonde.

Our bleaches are very gentle on the hair to minimise damage and leave your hair in the best possible condition, but your hair will still needs some rehydration so I recommend the Moroccanoil Hydration and Repair shampoo and condition as well as using the treatment weekly.

Pollution can make your colour go a bit brassy, so I’d also encourage you to add a silver shampoo to your aftercare routine. It will neutralise the colour and keep it a nice clean blonde.

I love the Moroccanoil solver shampoo because you can really see the difference in the tone after you have used it. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes once a week for the best results.

If you have a reverse balayage (where we add a darker colour), your service will include a tint and you will need to lock in the colour, so I’d recommend you use the Color Care Products from the Trauma Treatment range.