So I have been meaning to write about this for a while. I know it's a common enough topic of discussion the the blogging world but I thought I would give my point of view as an avid supporter of balayage for about 3 years now! At the time I was looking to go a bit blonder (i'm naturally a sort of strawberry blonde but missed the platinum blonde hair I had as a child) but I really was terrified I'd end up with stripy or fake looking hair so I took to the interweb to find a solution. I heard about this balayage technique and decided it would be the one for me.
The color is applied freely with a brush with a section of your hair pulled tight on a paddle. Once the color is applied, the hair is let loose to hang free and dry, no foils or anything. The color is not applied from the root but slightly below and in a roughly V shape so that when that section is dry and falls naturally, you can't see a block of highlight. More sections are taken from the front and these sections are smaller, this is why the effect is so sun kissed because it follows the pattern of natural highlights one would get in the sun.
American Tailoring or Ombre seem to be the terms applied to the more dramatic balayage effect which is more like a dip dye - see Drew Barrymore. This seems to work best with darker natural hair colors for a more dramatic contrast.
At first the technique is very subtle but once you have it done maybe 3 times, hair is significantly lighter but still looks so natural. They recommend that you wait 3 - 6 months at least between sessions. It's not designed to make you blonde in one go and should be quite subtle so if you're looking for a total hair color change, it's probably not for you. It is quite addictive though so beware!!
The one BUT is that it is EXPENSIVE. Well I'm not really sure about normal highlights but I know that any methods that have been around for a file can be done fairly cheaply. Balayage will set you back between €100 - €150 depending on the length of your hair and where you get it done. I always got mine done in Peter Mark's in Dundrum Shopping Centre and then I heard about the Style Club Balayage classes. These are the only way to go as far as I'm concerned! Basically a hair styling student does the color while being supervised fairly closely. It takes a bit longer but you get a full head of color with a cut and blow-dry for €70! Pretty good value! For non Dublin dwellers, I know that Peter Mark in Limerick does it and I'm sure some others around the country do, just call your local salon to enquire!
They style club classes take place on Mondays usually and you just ring up and ask when the next one is on and they'll fit you in! It's cash only and I suppose one should leave tip to be nice because they do such a good job!