Make like the French do! Embrace a new look this season with balayage on curly hair.
In case you haven’t noticed, balayage, or the art of “painting or sweeping” on highlights freehand, has been a huge hair trend for the past several seasons. Renowned for the naturally sun-kissed effect it gives the wearer, it’s said to be much easier to maintain and grow out than regular foil highlights. It also has the propensity to fade into subtler ombrés, making balayage a sexy, lower-maintenance choice for those who want infuse a gentle shot of dimension to their strands. It’s also good to note that when it comes to hair textures and balayage, curly hair also has an added advantage: Any and all seams are magically hidden with the ringlets, garnering even more natural-looking results.
Now, we know not all highlight jobs are equal (and nor should they be!), so we broke down our roundup to help inspire you, wherever you may be in your color journey.
40+ Curly Hair Balayage Hairstyles for Every Commitment Level
1. Ashy Lob
An easy scattering of highlights around the face makes for a naturally streaked effect, and paired with the length of the season? A win-win.
2. Medium-Brown Spirals
This look is all about restraint. The right shade of highlights can strategically uplift your entire base, provided they complement your skin tone to a T.
3. Smooth Blonde Waves
Sparse strips of lighter color somehow seamlessly blend into the rest of this cool blonde shade. Styled in a polished wave, and it’s a foolproof day to night option.
4. Sexy Chocolate Curls
Medium to think chunks of color break up a dark base. Ed’s note: We’re loving this luscious, reddish-brown shade!
5. Copper Highlights
Barely-there penny-hued highlights make this bright copper shade all the richer.
6. Dark Auburn
This deep, warm-toned mahogany brown balayage pops against fair skin with peachy undertones.
7. Cool Chestnut
A medium-brown base gets thrown into sexy territories when accented with some super flattering cocoa highlights.
8. Rose Gold Ringlets
It’s been the color of the past few seasons for a reason! A rose gold balayage, particularly around the fringe and temple areas, looks chic and fashionable without trying too hard.
9. Dark Caramel Spirals
Sultry caramel highlights get emphasized even more when styled in perfect spirals.
10. Platinum Fringe
What’s a surefire way to edge up a baby blonde? Brush on some platinum streaks near the hairline.
11. Natural Bronde
Blink and you’ll miss it—such is the appeal of these understated khaki blonde streaks.
12. Sienna Waves
Micro-strips of reddish brown are woven into the hairline layers for a subtly seductive appeal.
13. Coffee Curls
Whoever said that they wanted some swirl in their coffee was probably referring to this elegantly highlighted curly look, which features a cool-hued brown balayage near the fringe and sides.
14. Golden Ringlets
What’s a pretty way to wear tightly-coiled curls? Accent the front pieces with a lighter shade—in this case, a wheat hue—to play off the golden base.
You’re not new to the game, and a curly balayage look is something you’ve always been curious to try. Whether somewhat streaky or an-all out double-process, you’ve most likely dyed your locks before, and highlights are a fave look whenever you need to step up your game or need a seasonal refresh. You’re not afraid to get trendy with your hair color and probably have a reasonably seasoned hair history (layers during the ’90s, or a pink phase? Check!). Go for some highlights that start mid-length, and maybe experiment a bit with shades you haven’t tried before. Perhaps a honey, caramel or ash blonde to dive a bit of personality to dark hair, or some deeper red to enliven your copper.
15. Wheat Blonde
A chunky, messy lob is just the foil for this hyper-trendy color.
16. Sandy Blonde
Light dune-colored highlights blend perfectly into an ashy base.
17. Khaki Curls
Gold and khaki strips are an unusual combo in this winning look.
18. Soft Copper
Thin sweeps of copper make for a sweet yet sexy option for women with a dark base.
19. Tan Ringlets
The placement of the sandy blonde highlights is one of the most flattering we’ve seen.
20. Ash Blonde Ombré
Dark ash brown gradiates into a coppery tan in this summery ombré.
21. Bright Bronze
A little bit bold and streaky, this medium-contrast balayage looks best when styled in a summery beachy wave.
22. Copper Ends
Lighter sienna tips are a more natural twist to dip-dyed ends.
23. Shiny Caramel Ombré
This lush, almost rustic hair color is a great gradiation of warm shades: from a deep nutty base to bronze tips.
24. Sandy Blonde Curls
A popular choice, these lemon yellow streaks get grounded by an espresso base.
25. Honey Ringlets
Ash brown blends into a golden base in an unlikely yet flattering look.
26. Golden Beachy Waves
Lush, coppery streaks make for an elegant and fashion-forward look.
27. Smooth Rosewood Highlights
A chic medium rose gold provides a molten touch to this balayage.
28. Ash Brown Ombré
This seamless gradiation of color is one of the softest and most wearable ombrés we’ve seen.
30. Rooty Flaxen Blonde
Can you say hot? A grown-in root paired with lighter blonde balayage on the sides is one of today’s sexiest trends.
31. Strawberry Waves
This multi-tonal reddish shade is both dimensional and clean.
32. Rooty Sunny Blonde
Like sunshine in a bottle! This undeniably summery shade starts out slightly rooty at the base, and warmer at the ends.
33. Pale Ash Sombré
Styled in flips à la 1970s starlet, a truly ashy shade gets a more haute appeal.
LOUD AND PROUD
Been there, worn that—and open to suggestions! You’re definitely not a n00b when it comes to hair color and balayage, naturally curly hair notwithstanding. In fact, you think texture adds another layer of awesomeness to an already interesting color. You were probably first in line when ombré hit the scene, and can find yourself poring relentlessly over Pinterest and Instagram trends for hours on end, your stylist’s number at the ready. A higher-contrast sombré is a balayage look that’s certainly up your alley, especially if you’ve got natural-textured or tightly curled locks.
34. Dishwater Blonde
Ask your stylist to carefully smudge your color through for a well-blended version of this look.
35. Drippy Bronde
Multiple shades are swept onto a medium brown base for a more dynamic effect.
36. Raspberry Ombré
Consider this a fun, slightly edgier alternative to traditional browns and blondes, if you want a different take.
37. Beachy Taupe
Equally relaxed and interesting, this sun-bleached taupe shade is grounded by a dark root.
38. Crisp Russet Coils
Clean and well-blended, this look features a coppery-brown base with some face-framing blonde highlights.
39. Rooty Honey Ombré
Want a more laissez faire option? This curly, rooty blonde is high-contrast and high-impact.
40. Tan Streaks
Shiny tan streaks elevate an otherwise basic chocolate.
41. Delicate Honey Tips
Highlighted natural hair gets a frosted effect with a honey shade.
42. High-Contrast Corkscrews
The mahogany spirals in the mid-length bring together two high-contrast shades.
43. Messy Platinum
White blonde strips near the hairline jazz up this platinum shade even further.
Loved these curly balayage looks but still need some guidance? Scroll on down below to see how various tones (warm, cool, neutral) can make a difference on your chosen highlights.
Ways to Wear Different Toned Balayage on Curly Hair
1. Blonde on Top Balayage
Balayage is generally done to the top layers of your hair to make it look sun-kissed. If you’re going for a bright blonde shade, why not keep the bottom section of hair dark! The contrast is totally gorgeous. Going for such a light blonde can be drying on your hair, especially if the darker tone is your natural hair color. Make sure to nourish your curls with a hair mask at least once a week.
2. Ashy Blonde Balayage
For a lighter look try an ashy blonde. For those who have naturally light brown hair this shade is easy to obtain! We just recommend keeping a purple shampoo on hand to keep brassy yellow tones at bay. We love Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo! It cancels out the yellow and to keep that blonde cool-toned.
3. Extra Subtle Light Brown Balayage
Add definition to your curls by only lifting your color a level or two. This gives a subtle effect to your balayage and keeps it looking downright natural. The lightness helps to break up the look of your curls without going overboard.
4. Dirty Blonde Nude Balayage
Remember the nude hair trend? You can do it with a balayage, too! The goal would be to match the lightness of the balayage to your skin tone to create an overall nude look.
5. Subtle Ginger Balayage
For those interested in more red tones, why not go for a ginger balayage? This is basically the only time brassy tones don’t bother us. Warm gingery orange shades are so gorgeous with warmer skin tones.
6. Amber All Over Balayage
There’s no reason you have to wear a balayage against your natural hair color. We’re totally loving this amber hair color with lighter amber balayage. There are so many tones going on that it gives super curly hair a lot of depth and shape! With this much color change you’ll want to break out the big guns and moisturize your hair with nourishing oils, like the Suave Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Oil Treatment, on the daily.
7. Wheat Brown Balayage
We’re getting gorgeous flower child vibes from this wheat brown take for balayage on curly hair. The subtle color change from a natural light brown to a soft wheat blonde is pretty much perfect. Get your balayage tones to be placed near your face and lower towards the back of your head emphases the natural look. To get beachy waves, spray on Suave Professionals Texurizing Sea Salt Spray throughout your hair, then scrunch the product throughout with your finger and you’ll be golden!