Famed hair colourist Negin Zand is a strong proponent of the ultra natural technique of balayage, the ancient French hair colouring method that emphasises sweeping motions and a free-form style of highlighting the hair.
Known for her unique approach and speed, Zand has become a favourite among the A-list celebrities of Hollywood, including Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Rachel McAdams, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker to name a few. Born in Iran but raised in Sydney, Zand lives in Los Angeles, where she felt she could strengthen her talent. After spending some time with famed Beverly Hills hairdresser Christophe, she is now working at the Benjamin with Negin Zand in West Hollywood. The passionate colourist, who has been featured in renowned fashion and beauty magazines, talks to Roula Allam about the intricacies of balayage.
1. You’re famous for your balayage techniques. What’s your secret for creating those ultra-natural, sun-kissed highlights?
A lot of people have started choosing to do the balayage, however, each stylist uses different techniques. Like one would do a painting on a canvas we all have a different eye. I've always been known for my natural effect of colour, but most important is the placement and timing. I like to feather finely at the root and then go thicker towards the ends to create the full effect of the treatment.
2. As there is no foil or meche used in the freehand technique, is it healthier for our hair?
Yes, absolutely. I have more control with balayage. It is not the typical 1,2,3,4 weaving technique with foils that cause straight lines that one would not necessarily have naturally. It all depends on what products you use so you do not damage the hair. Do not overlap the highlights; just connect them to the same sections of hair that were done before. It is also important to determine how light you want to go with the correct peroxide.
3. What sets balayage apart from traditional hair colouring?
Balayage has a much more natural, beautiful and cohesive look. Compared to other looks, balayage creates the impression of sun-kissed hair. It also grows out very softly, does not create any hard lines and is easy to maintain as it only needs to be treated at the salon every two to three months.
4. What are the best ways to maintain the colour afterwards?
Always stick to using professional products. I always recommend using any shampoo and/or conditioner that is specifically for colour treated hair. If you can go every other day without washing your hair then do it. It also helps to do a deep masque once a week, and if you can, do a cold rinse with bottled water, that will always help.
5. Is it suitable for all hair types and lengths?
6. It’s been around for a while, but why do you think it’s become so popular with so many A-listers and celebrities recently?
Balayage looks more natural rather than weaved and frosted. The treatment is very low maintenance, natural, looks very bespoke and is incredibly flattering. The more people are seeing it on catwalks and red carpets, the more it is appealing to them because of the polished look it has.
7. What are the main differences with ombré hair?
Ombré is a very extreme extension from dark to light. Balayage is a lot subtler and is still dark at the root but not without the harsh line extending to lighter ends.
8. When it comes to dying hair in general, how can we know which hair colour works best for our complexion?
My advice is to be subtle with colouring and keep it as close as possible to your natural base shade. Never go two shades lighter or two shades darker from what you naturally have. The best thing to do is to see a professional hair colourist who can advice you which colour suits your skin best and your hair type.
9. Is there a colour that works best to cover grey?
It is always best to see a person who specialises in colour. It's not about the brand, but the formulation of the products. It always advised as mentioned above to not to stray away from your natural hair colour.
10. What’s the best way to keep colour treated hair from becoming dry?
To protect your hair and to prevent your hair from drying out, you can use various products with different ingredients, depending on your hair type, e.g: coloured hair, damaged hair, curly hair etc. We also recommend using hair serums as a protective measure when blowdrying the hair and some of the recommended products, include Kerastase Resostanc (Fibre Architecte), Original Sprout (Tahitian Oil) and RedKen (Two Smooth).
Negin Zand’s Tips For Healthy Hair
Use serum to protect the hair! One of my favourite products for maintaining colour is L’Oréal’s Mythic Oil, which you can apply to wet or dry hair. It calms the frizz and adds major shine.
It is essential to always use a shampoo that is formulated for your personal hair needs. I also recommend always using a leave in detangling spray or nourishing oil to protect your hair.
Treat yourself to a weekly deep conditioning treatment. This will help nourish and rebuild your hair from any environmental, heat styling or chemical processes that your hair endures.