Shatush, balayage and degradè: techniques and differences


From red to brown, passing through caramel and platinum blonde. There are many colors to choose from to have lighter hair with respect to its natural tone and reminiscent of the “sun kissed” effect. For this reason, in recent times the techniques to lighten hair have multiplied exponentially.

But the most requested and used by hairstylists are shatush, the balayage and the degrade: it is 3 different ways to bleaching the hair obtaining warmer or colder tones depending on the needs.

What is shatush?

shatush or balayageShatush. Source: Pinterest @alfemminile

The shatush is a technique that allows you to lighten hair without touching the roots but working exclusively on the lengths. Born in the 60s by the New York hairstylists, it was relaunched in Italy by the stylist Aldo Coppola which made it a valid replacement for the ’90s meches. Thanks to the shatush, it is possible to lighten your hair even by three shades compared to its natural color, obtaining a natural and elegant result.

It is a technique that is applied exclusively on the lengths and ends, without touching the roots of the hair. In particular, the hair comes carefully cotonati and divided into sections. Then we proceed to apply the bleaching that will go to lighten natural hair color.

The result? A hair with gradual and irregular reflections and shades that create a totally natural effect but rich in color contrasts. Among the most beautiful shades of shatush we find the cold brown ideal for darker hair caramel brown, while the copper color is suitable for brown hair that needs some touches of light. Without forgetting the nuances of blond ranging from warmer tones of gold and honey to colder tones of platinum or ash.

What is balayage?

shatush or balayageBalayage. Source: Pinterest @ pourfemme

Among the techniques for lightening hair, the balayage it is among the most popular of the moment due to the never artificial finish that gives on any type of hair. Balayage consists of two phases: the first is the discoloration, the second is the color of the chosen shade that ranges from copper to brown, passing through warm blond. In fact, with balayage the hair is lightened and toned evenly from the root down without backcombing or color contrasts.

The brushstrokes of the lightening cream are applied to the hair divided into 5 strands that create the typical star shape, starting from the roots to slide towards the lengths and ends. In particular, streaks of bleaching agent are made on the lengths through the use of a brush. Then we proceed to lighten by one or maximum two shades compared to the natural color of the hair, obtaining a natural effect that brings light and vitality to each hair.

What is degradè?

shatush or balayageDegradé. Source: Pinterest @pourfemme

The technique degradè was invented in 1990 by Claudio Mengoni of Joelle, a revolutionary hairdresser who aimed to minimize the regrowth effect and preserve the health of the hair. In fact, the degradè is a technique to lighten the hair that eliminates the sharp contrasts of color typical of streaks or shatush, obtaining a series of brilliant and homogeneous shades.

The degradè is made up of several phases. First, the color locks are selected based on their thickness, dividing them into colored threads, ribbons, glazes and lunettes. Subsequently the hair is divided into six rectangles, inside which the hair is brushed with color in different percentages depending on the result to be obtained.

The effect of this particular and complex lightening technique is almost imperceptible to the naked eye as it does not differ excessively from the natural tone of the hair and roots in general. In this way the problem of regrowth is reduced with a shiny hair effect as if it were hit by the sun’s rays.

The differences between shatush, balayage and degradé

Designed and created to give light to dull hair, shatush, balayage and degradé are techniques aimed at lightening hair through very different ways and results.

  • Nello shatush backcombing of the hair is preferred, and then the bleaching agent is applied in a compact way, from mid-length to the ends.
  • In balayage the crown is divided into sections that form a star and guarantees a less clear application of color between roots and tips.
  • In degradè the locks taken in minimal and thin portions are bleached by one or two tones, to then be toned with a homogeneous and natural effect, avoiding sharp detachments.

So shatush and balayage create gods play of light on hair characterized by color contrasts in which the roots are darker than the tips, while the degradé has a homogeneous color effect that gives brightness and lightens roots, lengths and ends, evenly with bright shades but without contrasts net of color.

Shatush, balayage or degradè: what to choose?

Choosing the right technique to lighten the hair is a task that is up to the trusted hairdresser or hairstylist to whom you are addressing, who will be able to recommend the right method according to the needs of each hair. However, knowing the differences between the various techniques can be useful for orienting yourself along the choice of the reflecting effect to have on the hair.

For a reflex effect which gives some lines of light along the face and lengths without touching the roots, it is recommended to opt for the shatush and balayage techniques. For a uniform effect which goes to lighten the hair without creating sharp contrasts, opt for the degradé.

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