Pintura vs Balayage
Two of great methods for highlighting naturally curly hair are balayage and pintura. I will attempt to explain the difference between these two hair coloring methods and offer an opinion on which technique works best for different curl types.
With both the Balayage and Pintura highlighting techniques, the hair appears darker near the roots and lighter on the ends as if the hair has been exposed to the sun for a few months.
When performing Balayage, a stylist applies lightener by first sweeping it onto the mid-shaft of the hair, then blending it lightly toward the roots and heavily onto the ends. This causes a slight lightening of the roots and more intense lighting of the ends. This is particularly important along the front hairline and along both sides of the part. When it is done by an experienced colorist, the effect is gorgeous.
“Pintura” means “painting” in Brazilian. In Pintura highlighting, the lightener is painted onto the hair, however it is applied first at the roots rather than at the mid-shaft. Also, more lightener is deposited at the roots than is done in Balayage. This creates lighter roots. In order to mimic the natural lightening of the sun, even more lightener is applied to the mid-shaft and ends of the hair than is applied to the roots. This is the same in both Balayage and Pintura.
The question remains, when is Pintura better than Balayage and vice versa? The answer lies in the size of the curl. Tightly curly hair such as fractal, corkscrew, botticelli, and corkicelli diffuses more light than loosely wavy hair. This is because the tighter curl creates a surface that reflects light in different directions and thereby diffuses the light and makes the hair appear darker. For this reason, it is best to use the Pintura technique on tighter curls because the highlights need to be brighter in order to be seen. In the case of looser curls, such as wavy and swavy hair, the hair has greater light reflection, and therefore the Balayage technique looks better.