The Salon at ULTA on State Street in Chicago recently welcomed Sydney Brown to their team of salon professionals. Sydney worked in New York for 15 years at renowned salons including Frederick Fekkai and Paul Labrecque’s East side salon as a color specialist, specifically through the technique of bayalage highlighting. During her time at Frederic Fekkai, Brown worked on numerous photo shoots and styled celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Angelica Houston, Celine Dion and Kim Basinger.
I had the opportunity to try bayalage highlighting at the hands of Sydney Brown last Friday. I have been getting my hair highlighted for the last 20 years, so I was excited to learn the difference between bayalage highlighting and the foil highlights I have been accustomed to.
First of all, I have to say that the Salon at ULTA is a wonderful retreat. Right off of the hustle and bustle of State Street, up on the third floor at the top of the store is this bright, huge open space! Everyone was helpful, friendly and in a good mood (and no, they did not all know I was a journalist!). I was offered a demitasse cup of cappuccino, which may have caused me to become even more chatty than usual. Luckily, Sydney's easy-going nature could deal with anything, including me, and I really had a great time with her. We talked about her 2-year-old twins, New York vs. Chicago, and discussed the hairstyles we will wear when we are over 80! (She already decided on a silver shiny bob, and I'm going for the up-do and will wear huge sunglasses.)
Back to bayalage highlighting. It is a French technique where highlights are hand painted on the hair. Sydney studied it through legendary colorist Constance Harnett who lead the Frederic Fekkai color team since its inception. Sydney told me she was going to add more highlights around my face and down to the ends in the front. I was well overdue for highlights!
One difference in the technique was that first she dropped a towel down on the floor, explaining that "it can be a drippy process" – although she did make one bit of a mess. She looked like a artist with her apron, grabbing different brushes as she worked on my hair, painting and customizing and making decisions as she went. Then she separated the highlights and lowlights (we had to cover grey in my hair) and layers with no color with Saran wrap. It may have taken her a bit longer to "paint" and less time to separate than if she had to make those little foil packages in my hair, so the timing on this process is probably about the same. I may add that my appearance during the processing was just about as silly and similarly futuristic with my hair in plastic wrap as it would be in foil. I think this process is more comfortable than foil, since there is no itching or pulling when it comes to removal before rinsing!
The advantage of bayalage is that Sydney was able to highlight vertically, and lighten a specific area of hair, all the way from top to bottom. The main difference is the control over which areas can be lightened, whereas with foil highlighting, I think you may get more uniform overall color highlights.
Phillip assisted and did a great job blowing out my hair! He told
me he was going to make me a rock star, and at least I felt that way.
Call 312-279-5081 for a bayalage highlighting appointment with Sydney Brown.
The price is about the same as regular highlights: just a few $75, more $135, all over (which is what I needed) $180
Salon at ULTA on State Street. 114 S. State Street, between Monroe and Adams. Ulta Salon Hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 10am-7pm*, Thursday 10am-8pm* and Saturday 9am-5pm*. The Salon is closed Sunday and Monday. *or by appointment. Get more information on the salon at ULTA service here!
— Carol Calacci
FTC Disclosure: Complimentary treatment received for review.
Photos: ULTA and Second City Style