When stylist and salon owner Rory McNeill first told us about “balayage” highlights, we were skeptical. Isn’t that just, like, another buzz name for the same regular ol’ highlights we’ve been getting for years? We visited Rory at ROAR Salon to discover that (happily) we couldn’t be more wrong. Balayage highlights are actually a legitimately new and different technique for creating highlights, and after seeing the amazing transformation Rory performed on model Carlyn we can’t wait to try it out for ourselves.
The process is totally different from traditional foil highlights and involves customized hand painted color allowing for a sun-kissed, natural look — similar to what we had as children. “The feel is effortless and less structured,” says Rory. “Carlyn is a natural, low maintenance beauty. We only placed a few bits around her face so that she didn’t lose the richness of her brunette hair complimenting her olive skin. She practically lives outdoors so we knew summer’s sun would keep what we did going for several months and the color would evolve on it’s own.”
We watched as Rory transformed Carlyn’s hair from a solid brunette look to totally summery. First, he sectioned off her hair and then hand-painted the highlights individually. “I’ll use a sweeping motion starting at the root area and getting heavier as it is worked toward the ends of the hair,” says Rory. “Once the placement is achieved, we’ll let the hair processes for a bit and then rinse the product out. Nearly always, I’ll apply a toner or a gloss afterward to customize the color to the clients skin tone. Then I’ll treat the hair with a shampoo and conditioner — followed by a beautiful blow out.”He says that one of the biggest aspects of balayage is it’s low maintenance appeal. You really can get away with having the treatment done just a couple times per year. “Balayage grows out beautifully and more naturally than traditional highlights,” he states. “And it should be noted that results improve with every service. The technique naturally builds on the previous color allowing for even more dimension and color variation so many choose to come in every couple of months to keep the evolution going.”
He also says that all hair types can benefit from balayage color, but “where it seems to shine the most is on someone with layered, wavy hair. Having the right cut and styling the hair properly is key to making the color pop.” The entire balayage process takes about 2.5 hours in the salon start to finish, and a good color expert should be able to place the highlights according to your hair cut, your texture, and your skin tone so that it looks amazing — and totally bespoke to you.
We were completely blown away by Carlyn’s transformation. “Both her hair and skin tone came alive following the service, “says Rory. “She has a radiant feel and seems like she’s now living in summer! There is something very chic about the less is more approach and I believe it suits Carlyn perfectly.” We couldn’t agree more, Rory. Also, do you have any openings next week?