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Is Palm Painting the New Balayage?

You’ve heard of balayage… but have you heard of palm painting? Balayage, the French highlighting technique that literally translates in English as “to sweep or paint,” is the key to that uncomplicated yet gorgeous blend of hues that quietly whispers, “she takes really good vacations.” But–is it soon to be eclipsed by a new kid on the block, palm painting? Palm painting is quite literally what it sounds like, and no we’re not talking about palm trees–it’s painting with your palms! It’s basically a brush-free version of balayage, where the artist uses his or her hands to spread the hair color. And allegedly, it’s even more natural than balayage because it doesn’t follow any pattern or structure, so you won’t have to worry about any harsh, stripey lines. 

“Palming is about the personality of the client and it’s not for everyone,” says the originator of the technique Marcos Verissimo—a senior colorist at Neville Hair and Beauty in London. “The technique creates a beachy, summery, sexy look. It’s what I call an imperfect symmetry. It can refresh traditional highlights and can brighten block or plain color, but in a symmetrical way.” And who does that whole effortless yet impossibly beautiful thing better than French women? That is who Verissimo is constantly inspired by, especially when it comes to palm painting. And he admits that the technique was an organic next step to balayage. “I came up with the technique by studying artists and how they work with shadows and light,” he told Mane Addicts. “I thought if artists can work with both a brush and by hand, then maybe I could. So I practiced on my trusting clients in Sao Paolo who absolutely loved the results. Not only is it quick but it’s accurate and I was able to get to the roots without brushes and foils and achieve this amazing symmetrical natural look, simply by applying colour in sections with the palms of my hands!” How cool is that?

Verissimo recommends palming to those who want a lighter and fresher alternative to conventional highlights. “It’s quick, easy, and effective to get a much brighter look,” he confirms. “I can achieve a buttery, L.A. beach blond, as opposed to platinum or ash blonde. Without the use of foils, this method is kinder on the hair. Traditional foils heat up the product, which can sometimes damage hair unnecessarily.” So if your hair is just coming back from damage or over processing, palm painting is the technique to use.

Celebrities and beauty lovers all around the globe are already all for palming, including some of the world’s biggest supermodels and actresses. “I’m new to London, but have amazing local clients who include the London It crowd like Chloe Green who is a recent convert of the palming technique,” Verissimo stated. “It was the first time she ever had her hair colored and loves it.” Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Gisele Bundchen are also on his client list. Now we understand why their hair looks so perfect!


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And Verissimo believes palm painting is here for the long haul. “I have been palming now for ten years and have just brought it to London,” he expressed. “So far, my clients have adored it and the Neville Hair and Beauty team are adapting to the method. It has been amazing for people with fine and previously damaged and over-processed hair.” It’s also very effective with extensions and weaves, as Verissimo is able to create dimensions with the technique and really get to the roots. But that’s not all.

“Another bonus is how quick I can refresh the color,” Verissimo exclaimed. “Application takes around 15 mins with 20 minutes to process, which means busy clients can be in and out blowdried in an hour and a half. This is perfect for busy London ladies who used to spend up to four hours in the chair.” Sounds good to us and we cannot wait to try palm painting the next time we’re across the pond!

Have you every tried palm painting? Let us know below!

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