Meet 'layage', the first big hair trend of 2016 we're keen to try.

The name may not be the most original going around but it’s the low maintenance hair trend set to dominate in 2016. Bye balayage, hello ridiculous suave-sounding ‘layage’.

So what’s the difference? The term seems to originate from London’s Charles Worthington salon and while the effect is similar to balayage, layage is all about the technique and the resulting subtle effect.

Called ‘hair painting’, it involves sectioning hair over a large flat surface then fluidly hand painting with colour, which apparently allows greater precision and control. (Watch: Charles Worthington Colour Expert Katie Allen demonstrates the technique. Post continues after video.)

Video via Katie Allen

“It is really popular as it allows our colourists to personalise a client’s colour to suit their hair cut and highlight particular areas to enhance texture,” explains Joey ScandizzoELEVEN Australia Co-Creative Director and three-time Australian Hairdresser of the Year.


The overall effect is a much more subtle and soft gradient of colour (especially compared with its predecessor balayage) and because it’s so natural looking, the upkeep is far easier too.

Image: Instagram (@katiecat11)


"As the colour is painted on through the mid-lengths and a lot of the time it is not applied through the top layer, it’s a pretty low maintenance style," says Scandizzo.

The best part? It works equally as well in all hair colours.

"It works for every hair colour as you are just working with light and shade and you can eventuate that with all colours and tones. It looks amazing when you use a couple of different tones that are only a few shades lighter than your natural colour – play around with it," he says. (Post continues after gallery.)

Prices vary depending on salon and stylist, but should sit in a similar price range to balayage, with the added bonus of requiring fewer touch ups.

Complete by framing your face with natural looking sun kissed highlights and you're on to a serious winner.

Will you give 'layage' a try?