If, like us, you're constantly curing a Pinterest board filled with hair inspiration (just in case, you know?), then you'll doubtless have been won over by the balayage bob. Whether poker straight or teased into artfully undone waves, brunette or blonde, the ombré colour fade seems to lend itself irresistibly well to a shorter, shoulder-grazing hair-do - and plenty of A-list stars would agree. The likes of Lily James, Anne Hathaway and Alexa Chung (to name just a few) have all opted to add interest and definition to their long bob hairstyles with the placement of subtle balayage highlights, painted freehand towards the ends of the hair.
Ready to book an appointment? We consulted colour expert Christel Lundqvist, director of STIL Salon, to find out everything you should know before embracing the trend...
What should people with short hair bear in mind before opting for balayage colour?
Balayage looks great on hair that has a little length and natural texture, so if the hair is really short, there are other freehand techniques that can be used to better effect. If the hair is cropped, an all-over colour technique is often the best option to work with the hair’s length, shape and texture. However, it can look amazing on mid to long bob styles, as seen on the likes of Anne Hathaway, Lily James and Kate Mara.
Can you use colour to flatter your face shape when you have shorter hair?
As a general guideline, darker shades create strength and thickness, whilst lighter shades promote texture and lightness so you can definitely place certain shades around the face perimeter to either strengthen or soften someone’s complexion and features.
How much upkeep does balayage colour require?
There are many different colouring techniques and some of them require less up keep than others.Generally a colour needs refreshing between 6-8 weeks, especially highlighting techniques or all-over blonde looks. However, other colour looks are so natural looking that you can go longer in
Which products would you recommend for balayage hair in between salon visits?
If you have blonde hair and want to maintain its intended hue between visits, invest in a cool or warm blonde shampoo depending on your tone as that will cleanse and nourish, as well as adding tone to the overall colour while shampooing the hair. My favourite for cool blondes is TIGI’s Fashionista Violet Shampoo and Conditioner.
Can an ombré effect work on blonde hair as well as darker shades?
Yes absolutely, the principle idea of ombré is that you keep the root area darker than the ends, so this technique can work equally as well with blonde or darker hair.
What should I ask my hairdresser for to ensure the desired effect?
If you are going for an ombre effect, the thing to bear in mind is that this trend has softened over the years and there is a more seamless blend between the root area and length, so ask your hair colourist for a subtle fusion between the shades you are opting for. Also, tell your hairdresser
the natural fall of your hair as the technique applied can be altered to suit this.
What's the best way to style short hair with balayage?
Colour should always complement the hair cut so decide on this first and then the hairdresser can place the colour accordingly. With any colour you should be able to style it straight or with movement for it to look great.
Inspired to try balayage? Take a look at the gallery below for some short hair inspiration, courtesy of our favourite A-listers...
These loose, beachy waves are the perfect complement to Jenna Dewan Tatum's long balayage bob, with a subtle ombré from glossy dark brown to a redder hue.
Christel Lundqvist is director of STIL Salon in Notting Hill. 020 7243 1521. www.stil-salon.com.