Balayage versus Babylights This Summer

Most of us have been doing the celebrity-inspired balayage thing for a while now, but if you’ve been living off the beauty grid, here’s the deal: It’s a technique where colorists paint strips of hair free-hand, rather than using foils. The results make the highlights look way more natural, creating a totally customized effect. Sounds pretty great, but there is a downside to coloring your hair over and over — dry and over-processed strands. And with summer here, UV rays are gonna compound the problem, causing the color to fade. So what do you ask for instead of balayage highlights the next time you’re in the chair? Try babylights, a technique that’s way gentler and mimics the look of a carefree childhood summer spent on the beach. 

“Babylights are a subtle version of ombre hair. They require a shorter process time, so the chemical isn’t on your hair for too long, and won’t be as damaging” says Lisa Estridge, a colorist at Eliut Salon in New York City. They work particularly well on fine hair, because the sections the colorist uses are much thinner than with balayage. Some colorists prefer to paint babylights freehand, but Estridge says they’re best done with foils, which can be spaced out to achieve a sunkissed look on just a few sections. While the results won’t be as dramatic as with ombre or balayage, they’ll give your hair a subtle, summer-ready boost. Bottom line: Your strands will be healthier, shinier and silkier rather than over-bleached and frizzy. Your hair will thank you!