How to do balayage at home

It’s the hair colour trend Instagram is obsessed with

You know what comes with a new year? An easy excuse for a new hair colour. We’ve recently brought you tutorials for more daring, trend-based tones in shades of grey, pastel pink and mermaid blue, but sometimes you simply want to complement your own natural hair colour.

That’s where balayage comes in. The technique, which originated in France (balayage literally translates to “sweeping”), consists of sweeping or painting hair dye through your locks, lifting the colour and creating that effortless sun-kissed look that everyone wants.

And we do mean everyone. On Instagram alone, #balayage has over 15 million tags (and counting). Or take a look at practically any Hollywood star and celebrity red carpet to spot the style.

You might be wondering what’s the difference between balayage and highlighting or even ombré for that matter.

Ombré, which also borrows its name from the French language, means shading or shaded. Your hair is ombré if your roots are one shade and then it transitions to a lighter or darker hue at the ends. Think of it as horizontal placement whereas balayage is more vertical so that the ends are not necessarily all coloured. Simply put, balayage is a technique, while ombré is the effect or result.

While traditional highlights require precise placement and the use of foils or a highlighting cap, balayage is done free-hand. It doesn’t require you to start dyeing at the roots of your hair and is meant to simply underline your hair’s natural tone. This makes balayage the ultimate low-maintenance look.

Looking to try balayage at home? Although it may look daunting, it’s surprisingly easy to achieve. Read on for an easy four-step tutorial to nail the technique using Colorista Effects Balayage and achieve a warm, sun-kissed finish.


Start by sectioning your tresses into equal parts. For this tutorial, we parted hair in four smaller sections, but you can take a larger section for more dramatic effect. The beauty of balayage and ombré is that you can go from super-subtle to major definition, depending on your personality.


Apply the hair dye to the comb applicator and gently sweep it through the ends first. Then go back through the mid-lengths towards the tips. This allows you to deposit more dye at the ends with the strokes getting sparser on the way up. Repeat the process on all the remaining sections, making sure your balayage starts at varying points to avoid a dip-dye look. If you want to create a more natural finish, simply blend the dye using downward strokes with your gloved hand.


Once you finish all the sections, refer to the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Ombré Bleach Kit for development time. This will be roughly 25 to 45 minutes depending on your natural hair colour and the depth of your desired colour.


Wash your hair using the moisturizing conditioner included in the kit and then blow-dry. Style as usual.

So there you have it: the how-to on one of the most Insta’d hair colour trends. Chic, flattering and low-key cool, balayage is your “new year hair switch-up” sorted.

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