What are Balayage Highlights? 39 Perfect Examples

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Best balayage highlights
Cindy Marcus
Cindy Marcus Hairstylist, Editor-in-Chief

Balayage highlights are rich and dimensional hand-painted accents added to the hair. This coloring technique creates a beautiful multi-tonal, natural look that gives prominence to any haircut. Though they create stunning results when combined, there is a noticeable difference between the outcomes of balayage vs. highlights.

What is balayage and its difference from highlights? When doing balayage, stylists paint the color in one sweeping stroke, whereas in highlights, they use foils or caps to section off the hair. While highlights tend to generate more pronounced streaks of color throughout the hair, balayage provides a smoother, more blended color transition and a natural-looking appearance.

Here are the balayage tips I got from Christine Sheehan, a hairstylist in Robbinsville, NJ.

💡 Key Things to Know First

  • A consultation is a must.
  • Ask for a Brazilian Bond Builder (B3) in the lightener to maintain the hair’s integrity and health.
  • Understand that transitioning from blonde to dark and vice versa takes several appointments. Trust the process.
  • Use proper professional products at home and return to the salon to refresh your toner.
  • Give thought to these questions before getting balayage:
    • What is a balayage color that fits your budget the best?
    • Can you keep up with the maintenance?
    • Are you willing to use the products recommended to you?
    • Are you committed to regular salon visits?

Remember to check out these images of the most popular hair ideas with gorgeous balayage highlights.

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#1: Blonde Highlighting on Brown Hair

Opt for a classy ash blonde balayage color. My favorite thing about this look is that it’s fun, simple, and does not need a lot of maintenance. It will grow out beautifully and be natural-looking. This color and cut are great for women with naturally fine hair texture who don’t do much with their hair. And, for ladies seeking a new look that will look good straight or curly to enhance their natural hair.

#2: Warm Balayage with Dark Roots

Consider this warm balayage with dark roots for a more natural blonde look. It’s an excellent choice as it includes a full highlight service that brightens your hair.

#3: Thick Wavy Balayage Hair with Highlights

If you haven’t tried balayage yet, you should! This thick wavy balance hairstyle with highlights is a bright and easy way to incorporate the color trend into your look.

#4: Balayage Highlights for Fine Hair

Elevate your hair with balayage highlights that will leave you feeling good. It’s a great idea to opt for this style to add depth and dimension to your locks. It gives the illusion of thicker and more voluminous hair. For styling, use a volumizing mousse to add body at the roots. Create soft waves using a curling iron for a textured, effortlessly chic finish.

Beige Blonde Balayage Highlights with a subtle money piece
Instagram @onurarslain

#5: Beige Blonde Balayage Highlights

Give these beige-blonde balayage highlights a go! The beige tone is a perfect neutral. Don’t forget to talk with your stylist about maintenance for a look like this.

Silver Balayage Highlighted Hair
Instagram @hairbyshum

#6: Silver Balayage Highlighted Hair

Silver-highlighted hair or a platinum balayage like this requires lots of patience and maintenance. If you can afford to spend the time and money it takes to achieve these silver locks, you will live your best silver foxy life. It’s one of the best hair colors for women who are already blonde or have natural virgin hair that hasn’t been colored before. Silver and gray balayage are hard to achieve but also hard to maintain. You’ll want to ask your hairstylist what they recommend you use at home to keep the longevity of your hair color and also avoid shampooing every day.

#7: Bright Golden Blonde Highlights with Balayage

A warm balayage with bright golden highlights is good for a natural, sun-kissed look. The best way to keep this color looking fresh is by keeping up with regular 6-week appointments. When you see your stylist, ask for a balayage with bright golden blonde highlights!

#8: Light Brown Roots with Champagne Blonde Balayage

One of the most asked-for looks is a beautiful lived-in champagne blonde wavy look. You don’t have to go just one color all over. Ask for a few different hues to give a soft multi-toned finish. A light blonde, a golden blonde, and a light brown work well together. The tones soften the regrowth root, resulting in this stunning balayage long hair.

#9: Amazing Chunky Light Balayage Highlights

If you want a blend of light and dark colors, ask for a dimensional balayage. The contrast between the highlight and lowlight makes your color look richer. And it adds more depth. Ask for your balayage to be higher around the hairline if you can. It will give you a longer grow-out period. Though the maintenance of such a brunette balayage can be low, you should come in every 6-8 weeks for toning and trimming.

#10: Light Blonde Highlights on Lighter Brown Hair

Looking for a low-contrast blonde hair color but don’t want to look monotone? You could achieve this result with a balayage or foilayage. Wait 48 hours to wash your hair after your coloring service. And use cooler water every time you wet your hair. This will ensure that your toner will last longer!

Tousled Light Peach Balayage Highlights
Instagram @colorme.courtney

#11: Tousled Light Peach Balayage Highlights

A tousled light peach balayage color is a perfect transition to go a bit darker with your hair! The best way of adding dimension is with a darker peach shadow root. It’s a great way to add some depth. Style your hair with waves and enjoy your dimension.

#12: Dark Brown to Light Blonde Color Melt

A gorgeous way to go light is for a dark brown to light blonde color melt. This might take a few highlight sessions to achieve the bright contrast. The soft and low-maintenance grow-out is great about this brown and blonde balayage.

Brown Long Hair with Copperish-Blonde Balayage Highlights
Instagram @alejocolorista

#13: Brown Long Hair with Copperish-Blonde Balayage

Remember to ask your stylist for rich balayage. Adding pops of brightness will liven up any brunette color. And toning with warmth will give softness to the look.

#14: Sandy Blonde and Brown Balayage

Try a sandy blonde and brown balayage color palette if you want to be light without the maintenance of a blonde. Plan to talk to your colorist about this option so you are on the same page about the blonde-to-brown color ratio.

Icy Blonde Balayage Highlights
Instagram @glamourbycee

#15: Icy Blonde Balayage

An icy blondish balayage is a bold look. Getting to icy blonde takes patience, starting with previously color-treated or naturally dark hair. One of the best things to do is ask your stylist if your hair can handle being lightened to this level of icy or platinum blonde balayage. Avoid high heat and washing too often. Using a moisturizing deep conditioner at home will help keep your hair healthy.

Long Choppy Layers and Brown Balayage
Instagram @_emreofficiall

#16: Long Choppy Layers and Brown Balayage

Long choppy layers and brownish balayage create the supermodel chic look. If a soft highlight look on brunette hair is what you’re looking for, this natural balayage is a great option. Balayage mimics how the sun would lighten the hair, looking very natural. Choppy layers will help support a wavy look, whether natural or iron waves.

sun-kissed balayage highlights on brown hair
Instagram @keziasimoes

#17: Sun-Kissed Balayage Highlights on Brown Hair

These sun-kissed balayage highlights look their best on brunette hair and are easily achievable with an expert balayage specialist. Going dark to light with these lived-in highlights requires purple shampoo to maintain its fresh, golden-blonde balayage tones.

#18: Dirty Blonde Balayage Highlights on Curly Hair

Embrace your curls, and upgrade them with a balayage technique to create this dirty blonde hair! Effortlessly sport volume and character when you free your beautiful natural locks.

Partial balayage with highlights
Instagram @colorbymarina

#19: Partial Balayage with Highlights

A partial balayage with highlights is perfect for brunettes wanting a sun-kissed look. The balayage hair color is placed perfectly around the face and part line, while the highlights are fine to create the illusion of naturally lightened hair.

Dark and rich chocolate balayage for women over 50
Instagram @bonvoybalayage

#20: Dark and Rich Chocolate Balayage for Women Over 50

A dark and rich chocolate balayage for women over 50 is a smart choice when you want more dimensions for your black hair. Adding a subtle balayage will make the color pop! This is a perfect low-maintenance color to try.

#21: Auburn with Amber Highlights for Older Women

Auburn with amber highlights for older women brightens the skin tone, giving a glow to paler skin tones. As we age, our skin becomes more sallow, so adding warmth back by adding brightening tones like Amber and auburn sit well against your complexion. The balance of two dimensions of color also gives more depth back to the hair giving a fuller feel.

#22: Golden Peach Balayage for Women Over 60

A golden peach balayage for women over 60 is a wise choice. It can be very youthful for women with a more golden complexion golden blondes can be modified to suit your skin tone. A balayage is a technique achieved by skillfully hand-painting color directly onto the hair. This creates a more natural, blended, sun-kissed color.

Rainbow balayage hair
Instagram @mermeg.hair

#23: Rainbow Balayage Hair

A rainbow balayage hair coloring consists of multiple colors, from pastel to bright. The multiple colors create beautiful dimensions and take precise placement, so find a balayage specialist.

Light Blonde Balayage on Red Hair
Instagram @desiree_styles

#24: Light Blonde Balayage on Red Hair

Feel edgy and dreamy with pops of color from a red balayage on long, delicate layers. The balayage ends to give the red hair a soft color melt effect. This hairstyle looks especially magical when paired with graceful braids!

Bronde Balayage on Long Black Hair
Instagram @mizzj_at_play

#25: Bronde Balayage on Long Black Hair

Bronde balayage hair ideas are true eye-catchers! Long wavy hair with the right colors of highlights balayage would make anyone stand out – whether in a formal event or on the beach.

#26: Golden Balayage on Brunette Hair

Let go of the traditional highlights and ask for golden balayage pieces instead because, let’s face it, dark hair shouldn’t be boring. Add a handful of warm caramel streaks for new dimensions and the face-frame highlights. With this caramel-brown balayage, you’ll surely have that glowing effect on your beautiful face.

#27: Rose Gold Balayage Highlights

Rose gold balayage highlights have become super trendy because of the unique shade created that can complement many base colors. Cotton candy or a pastel pink balayage plus textured waves are super cute and perky! With a spray-on hold and a few flicks of a brush, have fun with this adventurous dark to pastel pink hair transition.

#28: Light Blonde and Chocolate Brown Balayage

Light blonde and chocolate brown balayage hair make a lovely date night look, which looks edgy but sweet. These ash bronde highlights on balayage hair look stunning with a middle part and huge loose curls, creating a more casual yet put-together style.

Balayage on Dark Hair with Purple Highlights
Instagram @elissawolfe

#29: Balayage on Dark Hair with Purple Highlights

Intensify your lengthy mane with a purple balayage and charming soft waves towards the tips. This two-toned balayage style is perfect for an everyday rocker look!

Caramel Balayage on Brown Hair Color
Instagram @hairmeroar

#30: Caramel Balayage on Brown Hair Color

Show off those fab beach waves with sweet honey accents and a caramel balayage that add body and dimension to your brown hair. Shades like this look stunning on any hairstyle, whether wavy or straight.

Subtle balayage with cool brown highlights
Instagram @laurengrummel

#31: Subtle Balayage with Cool Brown Highlights

Rock a subtle balayage with cool brown highlights if you want to see a bit of dimension to your locks. Stylist Lauren Grummel of New York used the teasy light foil application to get the look.

Balayage works for most women, Grummel claims. Her biggest recommendation? “A good shampoo and conditioner. These will help to keep your color fresher and longer. As well as to nourish your hair,” she adds.

#32: Subtle Face-Framing Balayage on Dark Hair

Face-framing balayage highlights are a low-maintenance way to brighten up your hair while spending minimal time at the salon.

It’s good for the woman who doesn’t like to sit through hours of foils and balayage but still wants that nice sun-kissed blonde hair highlights. The greatest thing about this look is how much more dimension it can give you. This is a good example of the phrase ‘less is more’ because those two brighter money pieces around your face can bring out a nice contrast of color.

Such hair color ideas are flattering on most women just because you can fine-tune each individual’s tones. You can adjust the tone, blonde (or brunette) level, and placement.

#33: Copper and Strawberry Blonde Balayage Highlighting on a Dark Root

This look features subtle natural sun-kissed dimensional strawberry copper balayage highlights. It was created by hairstylist Crystal Jasmine of Chicago, IL. “I freehand-painted pieces of the hair that I wanted to pop when the light hits it but still have that natural sun-kissed effect,” explains Jasmine.

It’s very low-maintenance, giving that hair the subtle dimension it needs. Balayage is great for the low-maintenance gal wanting to dimension their hair but with no root outgrowth immediately.

“All women are candidates for highlights – it’s just finding the right shade for your skin tone,” she adds. “Easy to keep up with or just let it grow out. There’s no commitment. That’s what makes it so fun!”

#34: Ash Blonde Highlights on Light Brown Hair

These softer balayage highlights were created by hairstylist Courtney Rollo of Windsor, ON.

“Because the model’s base color was already a cooler brunette tone, these ashy blended balayage highlights complement her natural color,” explains Rollo. “To go with the edgy ash tones, we did a fun textured angled bob and finished the look with effortless messy beach waves.”

This light brown balayage can be very versatile since it allows for more time between appointments and, therefore, less maintenance. This would allow your natural roots to grow out. Best suited for finer hair, Rollo believes the cut can be worn sleek and straight to show off the edgy concave shape or wavy to accentuate the volume that can be created from having this type of cut.

Ash Brown Hair with Honey Balayage Highlights
Instagram @_lexo._

#35: Ash Brown Hair with Honey Balayage Highlights

The most beautiful thing about this honey-blonde balayage is its color. These honey tones compliment the natural base color, according to master stylist Lex Olson of New Jersey, who created this ash brown balayage with blonde hues.

Balayage highlights are the perfect introduction to women who have never had color before and want to try something new. Olson explains, “For example, this guest came in with a full head of gorgeous natural hair! Balayage is the perfect introduction to first-time color clients. With the right at-home regime, these looks are low-maintenance. Techniques that lighten like balayage can drastically improve hair color.”

#36: Caramel Highlights on Dark Brown Hair

Stylist and colorist Nicole decided on this caramel highlights balayage with a light roasted color on dark brown hair and did not disappoint. The coloring highlights darker hair and a fine density for a soft look.

#37: Balayage Rose Gold for Long Hair

When choosing a color for a new summer style, consider a balayage rose gold hue for long hair. With long hair, your color specialist can hand-paint lightener and tone with rose gold to give your hair a lighter look. Add loose curls for extra body and movement to show off your new color!

#38: Electric Blue Balayage Hair

Shock your friends with something exciting like electric blue balayage hair. Balayage, instead of ombre, is hand painted lightener to give a more organic growth period from the roots. You’ll want your color specialist to be an expert in getting the right hues and toning to set this color off. Ask your stylist to send you home with Olaplex number 3 to maintain your hair’s strength while taking on such color intensity.

#39: Light Balayage Brown Hair

Try light balayage on brown hair if you want a pop of color with a seamless root blend. Keeping the sections thin allows the balayage to be sprinkled in, which creates a beautiful dimension against the natural brown canvas. Use a 1.25-inch curling iron, starting a few inches off the root for loose beach waves.