Just because you have a bob or a lob doesn't mean you can't get in on the balayage game. Balayage got its name from the French word for "sweeping," since with this hair colour technique, dye is strategically hand-painted by the colourist, "giving softer, less-noticeable regrowth lines, unlike traditional foil highlights that can typically be uniform and stripy," said Jack Howard, balayage expert and educator at Paul Edmonds salon in London (you'll find queues around the door of people eagerly waiting to learn his technique).
Balayage has long been associated with long, beachy hair, but "balayage is for all hair lengths, textures, and colours — not just for blondes or long hair," Howard explained. In fact, the balayage technique is ideal for people with a bob due to its ability to frame the face and add dimension to the haircut. It's also an incredibly low-maintenance way to colour the hair, and who doesn't want that? Ahead, Howard breaks down exactly why balayage is a great option for those with a shorter haircut.
For short hairstyles, often lighter pieces of balayage are applied as they complement the cut rather than compete with it.
How Does Balayage Application Differ For Bobs?
For bobs — which are just so on trend — the placement of your balayage will be dictated by your cut. Typically, with longer hair, balayage is applied through the midlengths and ends of the hair, which means slightly different rules apply when it comes to hand-painting shorter haircuts.
For example, if you have blunt or invisible layers, you can add some pieces of balayage throughout with a few face-framing sections (also known as money pieces) closer to the roots, which not only keep it light and fresh but also mean it's easy to maintain with regular trims. "For wavy bobs and lobs with heavier layers, I like to add a full head of micro balayage and small face-framing pieces to give the same impact, which is still softer than foil highlights," Howard said.
Face-framing is a key aspect of applying balayage with a bob or lob. Howard explained that heavier application is typically used for longer hairstyles. However, for short hairstyles, often lighter pieces of balayage are applied as they complement the cut rather than compete with it. "On longer hair, it's all about the saturation of the ends to give a hit of colour," Howard said. "But with bobs, it's more about defining the shape of the cut to add dimension." It can also have the added benefit of making it look like you have more hair. POPSUGAR UK Editor Ange Law loves to get balayage while having a bob because she feels it gives the illusion of fuller-looking hair, particularly in the front sections.
Image Source: Jack Howard and Richard Ashforth
How Does Having Balayage Affect Your Regular Trims?
The reality for people with shorter haircuts, especially if they're blunt, is that they need to get their hair trimmed more often. This is another reason the balayage application differs for people with bobs and lobs. "On a bob, I try to take my balayage application higher, towards the roots, otherwise it gets cut out quicker and doesn't look as 'lived in,'" Howard said. Application closer to the roots is crucial if you want that "undone and relaxed" vibe.
Balayage For Brunette Bobs
Balayage isn't just for blondes, either. Howard is on a mission to prove balayage is a technique that can (and should) be used on brunettes, too. Often, it's barely noticeable, and that's exactly the point. Chocolate-toned brunettes can get balayage to add very slightly lighter (think: chestnut coloured) pieces throughout the hair, which adds dimension without totally changing the shade of it.