Everything you need to know about Balayage highlights

This ever-versatile highlight technique is perfect for everyone, no matter your hair type! So are you ready for balayage highlights?

Unlike other highlighting or hair coloring techniques out there, balayage highlights may possibly be one of the most flexible trends that can easily give your hair a quick makeover. The trend allows colorists to paint your hair to give it a more diffused highlight look — or as others have called it, “lived-in highlights.”

Colorists take reference from your natural hair, or the base hair color that you want, and paint in the highlights to create a look suited for your current haircut, hair length, and face shape. And overall, this technique can bring a touch of softness to your look or give your look an edgy vibe.

So if you’re thinking of giving yourself a quick makeover, why not jump onto the balayage trend?

Balayage hair inspiration for your next hair makeover

woman with balayage on wavy hair
Dark hair balayage on wavy hair. Credit: iStock

Dark hair Balayage brings dimension

For an entryway into balayage, stick to a dark hair base. This allows you to retain your natural hair color. Then, bring dimension to your hair by picking a color at least 4-5 shades lighter than your base color. It would add just a touch of lightness to your hair without making it look like you underwent a huge hair makeover.

girl with blonde balayage and holding cup
Balayage on long hair. Credit: iStock

Balayage for long hair

When you have long hair, it’s so easy for your hair to look flat and dull as the length can weigh hair down. So adding a lighter toned Balayage highlight is a great way to bring back movement, body, and flow to your long hair. Sticking with a dark base at the top, pick out a color that’s at least 5-8 shades lighter than your base and have your colorist work the color down from about 5 inches away from your roots. The faded “lived-in” highlights will instantly give your hair lift and breathe new life to your hairstyle.

Editor’s tip: if you’ve always wanted to go blonde, adding blonde Balayage highlights to your hair is great way to slowly transition into full-out blonde (as seen on the picture above!).

Happy young woman in black dress and pearls
Portrait of happy young woman in black dress and pearls on grey background..

Balayage for short hair

Balayage is versatile enough to be used on both short and long hair (and all the lengths in between). How the color is applied depends on the effect that you and your colorist wants to go for. Want to soften your features? Pick a lighter color and focus the placement around your face and further away from the roots. For something a little edgy, bring the color closer to your roots and up higher up towards the crown of your hair.

curly hair balayage on black hair
Balayage on curly hair. Credit: indigitalimages.com

Curly hair can rock Balayage too!

Here’s the thing: balayage looks amazing on curly hair. Why do you think most of the before-and-after-shots of balayage shows hair lightly curled? Balayage on curly hair gives hair more movement and dimension by visually separating the curls. For curly hair, it’s best to use at least two shades with different undertones. This will make your hair appear to have even more body and flow.

A girl with a beautiful smile walking on the wooden dock
Pastel balayage on short hair. Credit: iStock

Balayage with playful colors

Balayage isn’t just reserved for natural-looking hair colors like brown, blonde, and copper. Be playful and add bright pops of neon in your hair. To truly get the colors to pop, pick a base that is at least 2-3 shades lighter than your natural hair color. Then pick a bright, fun color like lavender, baby pink, or bright blue.

Take note: depending your base color, you may have to bleach your hair to achieve a bright pop of pink. So remember to keep your hair well-conditioned!

How to care for your Balayage Highlights

To prevent color from fading and to keep your hair in tip-top shape (goodbye frizz and dry ends!), we recommend using conditioners daily as part of your hair care routine. Apply a coin-sized amount (depending on your hair length) on the ends of your hair and work your way up!