Hair is a really personal thing for me and over the years I’ve figured out what I like and a routine. I have tried to change things up a bit too much at times… bad bad baddddd highlights my senior year of high school and a short bob my senior year of college that was cute but when undone I looked like I was 12. I have been hesitant to cut too much or do much color-wise for a while, until I heard about/discovered balayage.
I mentioned when I was looking at pictures that I loved last week, but there’s something that just screams summer and warm weather from balayage’d hair. I always itch for a slight change when seasons come to an end so it was time to make it happen! I’ve figured out that it’s a subtle change between more and less color to add some dimension to my dark brown ‘do normally. I am so thrilled that I was able to have such an amazing artist and stylist balayage my hair! Daniel Villano is the current colorist for our First Lady, Michelle Obama and has worked with some of the most fabulous people that could come to mind. He held an apprenticeship with Frederick Fekkai when he was living in LA and has now become an expert at this technique.
Not only did I have the pleasure of being a recent client of his, but I was able to catch up with him and get the scoop on what this hairstyle is all about. I also gathered some questions from you guys as readers and have answers for you!
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an expert with balayage!
My expertise comes from my background in art. I come from a family of artists. My mom encouraged me to go to art school at the Art Institute in Chicago. It’s just something that was part of me. Balayage is the art of hair color. I’ve had the pleasure of training under the best of the best and spent the early years of my career traveling with L’Oreal. Now it’s part of me, I don’t do anything but Balayage.
So… what exactly is balayage?
The word balayage literally means “to sweep” in French. It’s the technique – I think some people pigeon hole balayage into a certain look. Balayage is the art of hair color. It’s unlike other methods because you don’t follow patterns and it’s not at all cookie cutter. You literally paint the hair! You make lighter strokes in some places on top and push harder to reach the hair underneath in others, kind of like different strokes you make when you paint.
How long has it been around?
Balayage itself has been around for a while, at least 10 or 15 years but it’s peaking right now. The first person to really stand out with balayage’d hair was Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It has evolved among stylists and now they know how to work with it.
What’s the difference between balayage and ombre?
Ombre and balayage are both techniques. Ombre was a fad that just meant you had color through the ends only, whereas balayage is a sweeping technique and you paint the strokes in – there’s not a hard line.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to try it?
Find someone who has been doing it for years! Do your research. It’s amazing how many people you can find via Instagram… you can see their work and get an idea for what it looks like before you go. There are differing levels of familiarity – for example, some people use foil but I use plastic because it holds in the heat for the color. Find someone who you can talk to and has similar taste. You want a stylist who is looking to make sure they do what you need and not what they want to do.
What’s the best way to maintain it?
One of the best shampoo and conditioners for color treated hair is Kerastase Colour Riche. It’s great for making the color last longer!
Does it look good on much darker hair or do you need to have somewhat lighter hair?
It doesn’t have to be a lot. You can do a few highlights on the end, and that’s it. It works on darker hair just as well as lighter hair!
Does it look good on straight hair? Can you pull it off with a long bob?
Can you do it with different shades of red or does it have to be blonde?
Yes, you can do it with different shades of red. It can span any color palette for any texture. You change your stroke and application to enhance those colors or textures.
A huge thanks to Daniel and his assistant Michael for such a wonderful experience! I’m loving my new ‘do and am excited to see pictures of you guys’ if you feel inspired to try it out as well!
MORE ABOUT DANIEL VILLANO
Balayage services in this post were provided by Daniel Villano