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In the world of haircolor, balayage still reigns supreme thanks to its natural look and highly customizable, low-maintenance characteristics.
A French word meaning to sweep or to paint, balayage is the technique of free-handing soft, painted lines to create streak-free, natural-looking highlights with less noticeable roots on the hair.
"The most beautiful thing about balayage is it's customized for each person based on hair length, hair texture, skin tone, and desired level of maintenance," says L'Oréal Professionnel Artist Nancy Braun, owner of Balayage by Nancy Braun in Beverly Hills. She says, as far as hair color treatments go, balayage is as low maintenance as they come".
"In the old days of foil, clients were in the chair every four to six weeks for upkeep," Braun says. With balayage, Braun might see a client only three to four times a year for an hour or less. The technique requires a high degree of skill that hasn't been widely taught until recent years, although it's been around since the late fifties. Balayage has only recently stepped into the limelight thanks to models and A-listers who love this beautiful look.
At home, you can keep your balayage looking-and feeling-great! First, Braun recommends always using shampoos and conditioners that protect color-treated hair. Take it a step further by adding a weekly at-home treatment such as a moisturizing or recovery mask. "I'm in LA where hair has been aged and abused by the elements," she says. "So I always tell my clients to try a once-a-week moisturizing mask to keep [their hair] healthy and shiny."