50 of the Best Balayage: Curly Hair Looks for All Commitment Levels

Eunice Lucero | 16 June 2017
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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

balayage curly hair lob
A half-updo puts the focus on the subtle streaks near your hairline.

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.

Strategic highlights work overtime to enhance a brown base.

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.

balayage cury hair blonde waves
Curl hair away from the face for a more flattering look.

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.

This thick, flippy hairstyle is serving some major ’70s flavor.

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!

reddish balayage curly hair
Class up that fiery orange with deeper ribbons of dark bronze.

5. Copper Highlights

Barely-there penny-hued highlights make this bright copper shade all the richer.

auburn balayage curly hair
Undeniably glamorous, auburn is a classic shade that always delivers.

6. Dark Auburn

This deep, warm-toned mahogany brown balayage pops against fair skin with peachy undertones.

chestnut balayage curly hair
Cooler undertones are flattered by ashy brown shades.

7. Cool Chestnut

A medium-brown base gets thrown into sexy territories when accented with some super flattering cocoa highlights.

rose gold balayage curly hair
The pretty pink-tinged bronde is a hot color trend this season.

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.

dark caramel balayage curly hair
Wear them tightly wound (as shown), or soften them up for night by running your fingers through each barrel.

9. Dark Caramel Spirals

Sultry caramel highlights get emphasized even more when styled in perfect spirals.

platinum fringe balayage curly hair
Make sure to dust a few highlights around the sides of the face to open up your features.

10. Platinum Fringe

What’s a surefire way to edge up a baby blonde? Brush on some platinum streaks near the hairline.

bronde balayage curly hair
Take a crimper to your partline for a runway-inspired twist.

11. Natural Bronde

Blink and you’ll miss it—such is the appeal of these understated khaki blonde streaks.

sienna balayage curly hair
A dash of red always heats up a brown base and gives warm undertones a glow.

12. Sienna Waves

Micro-strips of reddish brown are woven into the hairline layers for a subtly seductive appeal.

coffee hued balayage curly hair
Hazel highlights pick up the flecks in brown eyes.

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.

golden balayage curly hair
A li’l bit cherubic, a li’l bit country… but all-out extra, which is how we love our curls.

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.

INVOLVED

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.

wheat blonde balayage curly hair
Styled in a trendy lob, this look is almost unstoppable. Photo credit: Nick Urteaga

15. Wheat Blonde

A chunky, messy lob is just the foil for this hyper-trendy color.

sandy blonde balayage curly hair
The synergy of blondes work to make this bronde shade brighter.

16. Sandy Blonde

Light dune-colored highlights blend perfectly into an ashy base.

khaki balayage curly hair
The neat spirals add to the polished, grown-up effect of this hairstyle.

17. Khaki Curls

Gold and khaki strips are an unusual combo in this winning look.

soft copper balayage curly hair
Understated yet sexy, this hairstyle is one of our favorite balayage versions yet. Photo credit: Dvora

18. Soft Copper

Thin sweeps of copper make for a sweet yet sexy option for women with a dark base.

tan ringlets balayage curly hair
Long and lush, a side part emphasizes the brightness around the face.

19. Tan Ringlets

The placement of the sandy blonde highlights is one of the most flattering we’ve seen.

ash blonde ombré balayage curly hair
Wear your hair in a half-updo to emphasize the contrast, or leave it down for a more blended feel.

20. Ash Blonde Ombré

Dark ash brown gradiates into a coppery tan in this summery ombré.

bronze balayage curly hair
A messy wave gives this look more confidence.

21. Bright Bronze

A little bit bold and streaky, this medium-contrast balayage looks best when styled in a summery beachy wave.

copper ends balayage curly hair
Bring out the edgy tips with some crimping.

22. Copper Ends

Lighter sienna tips are a more natural twist to dip-dyed ends.

caramel ombré balayage curly hair
A robust blend like this pops on medium to long hair.

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.

sandy blonde balayage curly hair
Bright lemony streaks break up the copper and dark brown.

24. Sandy Blonde Curls

A popular choice, these lemon yellow streaks get grounded by an espresso base.

We’re loving this natural and earthy color.

25. Honey Ringlets

Ash brown blends into a golden base in an unlikely yet flattering look.

beachy waves balayage curly hair
A super-pretty look, we like the natural gleam offered by these copper streaks. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

26. Golden Beachy Waves

Lush, coppery streaks make for an elegant and fashion-forward look.

moody rosewood balayage curly hair
Dark rose gold is so moody and so sexy.

27. Smooth Rosewood Highlights

A chic medium rose gold provides a molten touch to this balayage.

ash brown ombré balayage curly hair
We can definitely get behind this tan-to-wheat gradiation.

28. Ash Brown Ombré

This seamless gradiation of color is one of the softest and most wearable ombrés we’ve seen.

rooty blonde balayage curly hair
This seductive combo is a good option for those who want a lower-maintenance look.

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.

strawberry balayage curly hair
Perfect for those with cooler undertones. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

31. Strawberry Waves

This multi-tonal reddish shade is both dimensional and clean.

sunny blonde balayage curly hair
A bright, perky blonde is a great choice for this time of the year.

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.

ash sombré balayage curly hair
This balayage combo looks particularly fetching on lobs, or longer bobs.

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.

dishwater blonde balayage curly hair
A dirty blonde (a blonde that’s a bit rooty and streaky) is an easy way to ease into the trend.

34. Dishwater Blonde

Ask your stylist to carefully smudge your color through for a well-blended version of this look.

drippy bronde balayage curly hair
The effect is loose and soft, and looks best on looser curls and waves.

35. Drippy Bronde

Multiple shades are swept onto a medium brown base for a more dynamic effect.

raspberry balayage curly hair
Slightly more alternative and synthetic-looking than the others, but an appealing shade nonetheless.

36. Raspberry Ombré

Consider this a fun, slightly edgier alternative to traditional browns and blondes, if you want a different take.

beachy taupe balayage curly hair
This cool-tinged bronde is a refreshing spin on summer hair.

37. Beachy Taupe

Equally relaxed and interesting, this sun-bleached taupe shade is grounded by a dark root.

russet coils balayage curly hair
Style with some leave-in cream and you’re good to go. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

38. Crisp Russet Coils

Clean and well-blended, this look features a coppery-brown base with some face-framing blonde highlights.

rooty honey balayage curly hair
A more laid-back, rocker-chic look is perfectly at home during the summer.

39. Rooty Honey Ombré

Want a more laissez faire option? This curly, rooty blonde is high-contrast and high-impact.

tan streaky balayage curly hair
Cafe au lait highlights enrich this one-note hue.

40. Tan Streaks

Shiny tan streaks elevate an otherwise basic chocolate.

honey tips balayage curly hair
Accentuate dark hair and give natural textures more dimension with some lighter highlights.

41. Delicate Honey Tips

Highlighted natural hair gets a frosted effect with a honey shade.

high-contrast balayage curly hair
This striking ombré comes to the fore when worn in strict spirals.

42. High-Contrast Corkscrews

The mahogany spirals in the mid-length bring together two high-contrast shades.

messy platinum balayage curly hair
Give a regular blonde more personality with an even whiter shock of highlights near the fringe.

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



Balayage on curly hair: long, curly hair
Higher contrast for a bigger look. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

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.

Balayage on curly hair: Ashy Blonde Balayage
Cool tones are fresh and bright!

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.

BED HEAD by TIGI DUMB BLONDE PURPLE TONING SHAMPOO
Balayage on curly hair: Subtle Light Brown Balayage
No need for a big color change.

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.

Balayage on curly hair: Dirty Blonde Nude Balayage
Keep the color close to your skintone for a natural look.

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.

Balayage on curly hair: Subtle Ginger Balayage
These warm orange tones are the best.

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.

Balayage on curly hair: Amber All Over Balayage
For a whole new look!

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.

SUAVE COCONUT OIL INFUSION DAMAGE REPAIR OIL TREATMENT
Balayage on curly hair: wheat balayage
We are feeling some major laid-back vibes with this color. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

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!

SUAVE PROFESSIONALS SEA MINERAL INFUSION TEXTURIZING SEA SALT SPRAY

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