Balayage, Foliage, Baby Lights & Shadow Root...


Cracking the code on the latest techniques and verbiage👩🏼‍💻

With so many new words being tossed around in regards to hair color, I know it can be terribly confusing for you.

I also know I’m not always the best at communicating what and why I am doing what I’m doing to your hair. I’m fortunate enough to be trusted by nearly all of you to just do what’s best for you and make you feel pretty! However, it’s nice to know the fundamentals, so I’m going to break it down for you. 


A French word meaning “to sweep”. 

Balayage is the word used for hair color that’s applied by painting the color on the hair.  Why would you want Balayage? 


This method gives a very natural, graduated effect. Think “I spent all summer at the beach and the sun gave me these amazing highlights." The best candidates for this application would have long hair with long layers.  

Balayage can be done with any color but usually it’s used for highlights. The slow graduation of color (subtle at the top and heavier at the ends) makes the grow out very subtle. It’s a very low maintenance way of coloring your hair. 

Balayage takes skill and time,  so expect to pay more for your sun kissed color.



Foilage is balayage wrapped up! It could be in foil, cellophane or foam sheets. 


If you wrap lightener applied to your hair it helps to keep heat and will enable your hair to process into a lighter blonde. Heat helps open the cuticle layer of your hair allowing the lightener to dive deeper resulting in a brighter, more dramatic blonde.



Baby lights are foiled highlights. What makes them “baby” is the size of the highlights.  Typically, baby lights will result in a million foils in your hair.


Your stylist will meticulously section your hair into tiny slices and then weave skinny little pieces out of each slice to lay into a foil with lightener. 

This results in a very blended, natural looking highlight. Think about when you were a child and spent all summer outside!! Yes, hair like that! 



The favored look right now is “lived in” hair. This applies to color as well as style. 


A shadow root, or color melt or smudge will give you a little darker tone from the root and then gracefully trasition into a lighter or highlighted look.  

The key is darkening your highlights toward your scalp. They’re still there and there’s still variation of color, it’s just a softer look with no hard lines. 



I hope you find this helpful and insightful! 


good AURA always, 


January Carter