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Difference Between Balayage and Highlights

Balayage and highlights are the two of the most trending women’s hair painting techniques. Many women are probably aware of the traditional foil highlights but rarely know the difference between balayage and the highlights.

There is a remarkable difference in the appearance, treatment options and maintenance between these two hair painting styles. For instance, with balayage the hair strands are painted from the mid-section to the tips whereas with highlights the hair strands are painted from the roots up to the tips. This article unfolds the key differences between these two styles.

 

What is balayage?

Balayage word has been derived from the French name which means “to paint or to sweep”. This is reflected in the way the style is being administered. Balayage is purely a free-hand technique with no aluminum foils needed as in the traditional highlights. It takes about an hour and a half to complete the style.

Moreover, unlike highlights, there’s no need to keep touching the roots of the hair after applying balayage as it grows out naturally. It also blends out well with the air as it is applied in large patterns across the hair using hands. Maintenance is effortless with balayage with no regular salon appointments. Instead, the hair can be recolored after 10 weeks.

When applying balayage, the hairstylist can match any skin tone or hair texture. That said, the technique does not exclude any hair texture, skin tone or hair color. The important thing is the sun-kissed natural appearance on the hair that is a few shades lighter than the bottom hair. Curly hair, in particular, is easy to apply balayage as it is easy to hold it and apply the technique. Generally, balayage adds dimension and depth to the hair. As thus, it boosts a thin hair and looks as though it is a thick highlight.

Short, medium or long hair can apply balayage. Also, any color can be applied. Usually, an appointment should be scheduled between the stylist and the wearer to discuss the color applications. Balayage has been worn by celebrities all over. Many women are thus inspired by the looks they have seen before. The uniqueness of balayage is that everyone can have a bespoke appearance.

The technique is often applied in revolutions around the hair. Using a cellophane between each layer, the dye is applied first at the bottom section of the head next to the neck. It is then followed by the midsection and finally the top section. The technique is characterized by non-uniform chunks of the color. It is also possible, to a certain extent, to apply both highlights and balayage.

 

What are highlights?

The highlights is an old technique that has recently been outshined by balayage. However, the technique is still relevant and attractive. Typically, highlights are characterized by a uniform color of the hair that is lighter than the natural hair color. They are a few shades than the base color. For instance, a dark-colored hair can turn light brown.

In contrast to balayage, highlights are applied from the roots of the hair to the tips. As thus, maintenance is important as the hair grows. One might have to visit the hairstylist on scheduled times such as 6 weeks intervals to get the hair re-treated. Aluminum foils are used to apply highlights with the help of heat to saturate the hair. The foils lighten the hair. Highlights are generally done in a more structured manner than the highlights.

 

Key differences between highlights and balayage

Definition of  highlights Vs. balayage

Balayage is a freehand technique applied by dying parts of the hair from the mid-shaft to the tips. The word balayage is derived from the French name meaning “to sweep or to paint”. Basically, the technique sweeps a sun-kissed natural look on any hair texture and size.

Highlights, on the other hand, is an old technique often applied with aluminum foils to lighten the hair from the roots to the tips. The technique is applied in a structured pattern, usually in revolutions around the head.

Application of  highlights Vs. balayage

With balayage, it only needs the hairstylist to use hands and select parts of the hair to be painted accordingly. It can take about an hour and a half to apply the technique. Moreover, it can lasts for 10 weeks before it needs to be changed on the head. Highlights, as highlighted already, need aluminum foils to trap heat and lighten the hair. The technique does not last long as the hair grows since it is applied from the roots. Balayage grows out beautifully while highlights may need scheduled retreats.

Maintenance of  highlights and balayage

Balayage grows out beautifully since it is applied from the mid-shaft to the tips. No need to keep touching it. Highlights need maintenance. The hairstylist may schedule visits to keep reviving the style.

Ease of application

Highlights are generally ease to apply with the aluminum foil to achieve a desired look. Balayage, on the other hand, is a freehand technique so it needs attention to details. It is easy with a curly hair because it can be grabbed with ease. Balayage adds depth to a thin hair. It is characterized by non-uniform chunks of color on the head. Highlights appear to be more structured.

Comparison Table for Balayage Vs. Highlights

 

Summary of  highlights Vs. balayage

  • Balayage is a freehand technique applied in non-uniform chunks of color on the head
  • Highlights are applied in a structured pattern using the aluminum foils to trap heat and lighten the hair
  • Balayage can be applied on individual strands of hair to achieve a certain color effect while highlights are applied usually in revolutions around the head
  • No maintenance required for balayage as it grows out beautifully with the hair
  • On the other hand, highlights require maintenance
  • Balayage can lasts up to 10 weeks. The technique takes about an hour and a half
  • Balayage is applied from the mid-shaft to the tip while highlights are applied from the roots to the tips
  • Balayage is best suited to all kinds of hair sizes, textures and colors and so are the highlights

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References :


[0]George Driver (28 July 2017). What Is Balayage? Everything You Need To Know about The A-list Hair Technique. Accessed at: https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/hair/a37306/balayage-hair-highlights/. Accessed on: 17 August 2018.

[1]Arshiya Syeda (16 February 2018). Balayage Vs Highlights: What’s The Difference? Accessed at: https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/balayage-vs-highlights/#gref. Accessed on 17 August 2018.

[2]Mireille Guiliano (16 Jan 2014). French Women Don't Get Facelifts: Aging with Attitude. Random House. 

[3]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/idhren/8456356851

[4]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/37-brown-hair-with-pastel-purple-ombre-highlights.jpg

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