The Reverse Balayage: 23 Inspiring Styles and Everything You Need To Know

Avery Hunt
Avery Hunt Hair Colorist

#1: Lived-In Blonde Color Melt

Are you a busy woman and finding it hard to make it into the salon every 4-6 weeks to touch up your highlights? Ask your stylist for a reverse balayage. When incorporating a shadow root, consider a color that is close to your natural color. This will give you an easier grow-out. If you are naturally on the darker side, have your stylist show you some dark brown swatches. He or she should be able to match you as close as possible this way. Your stylist will then use sweeping motions. These help to blend the color into your blonde for a beautifully blended look.

#2: Full Foilayage with Reverse Balayage

If you want to add elegance to your long, wavy hair, think about a full foilayage with a reverse balayage technique next time you visit your stylist. This hair color gives an enticing mix of light and dark shades. These shades evenly spread across your hair. A balanced blend of highlights and lowlights gives your hair a layered look. If a mild but striking change is what you’re after, this technique is ideal. It suits all hair lengths and textures. Try this full foilayage with reverse balayage hair color. It gives you a fresh, striking look that reveals your natural beauty.

Reverse Rooted Caramel Balayage
Instagram @halia.xo

#3: Rooted Caramel Balayage

A rooted caramel balayage is a good option for darker hair. When lightening hair you have to lift through all the undertones, from red all the way up to pale yellow. On darker hair, it can take longer or more sessions to get to pale yellow. Caramel is somewhere in the middle. A great place to start if you’re on your journey to a lighter blonde. Also a great place to stay. Remember to bring a photo of the caramel you want, not everyone’s caramel is the same color.

Reverse Balayage with Dusty Purple Tones
Instagram @bia.hairdresser

#4: Reverse Balayage with Dusty Purple Tones

An inverted balayage is a great way to add natural dimension and depth to your hair if it is already blonde. The process is quite simple, as there is usually no bleach involved. Ask your stylist to determine what color lowlight would look best to break up your blonde. Also, ask their opinion on what color toner would be best for the blonde you currently have. In this case, a purple toner was used to cancel out the warmth and yellow tones of her previous color. This resulted in a beautiful dusty, ashy blonde.

#5: Bronde Highlights and Lowlights

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance color, ask your stylist to try a balayage. Balayage is another word for free-form painting. The stylist uses sweeping motions with their color brush to create natural looks. A balayage does not go all the way up to the root as a highlight does, which allows for a natural grow-out. If your hair is already light and you’re looking for more dimension, try a reverse balayage. It will give you the same look by adding lowlights instead of using bleach.

#6: Reverse Balayage Blonde Ombre

Try a reverse balayage blonde ombré on your highlighted or scalp-bleached hair. Especially if you are looking for less maintenance and want to give it a bit of a break. Your colorist will put a semi-permanent color on your roots and leave out all the blonde ends. This will create a seamless ombre effect. Ombres are known for going from darker roots to lighter lengths and the lightest ends.

#7: Reverse Balayage with Shadow Root

Bring some depth to your hair with a reverse balayage. A balayage will deepen up your hair and bring back some depth. Over-highlighting can make your hair look all one color and flat. Adding a shadow root will keep your roots soft and natural.

Subtle Silver Blonde Reverse Balayage

#8: Subtle Silver Blonde Reverse Balayage

Bring depth back into your locks with a subtle silver blonde reverse balayage. When your hair is looking washed up, add some subtle lowlights into your hair for more dimension. Having lowlights will make the balayage highlights pop for a brighter looking blonde. Tone to a silver for that perfect cool ash tone.

Reverse Balayage Highlights on Dark Brown Hair
Instagram @savvysmithhair

#9: Reverse Balayage Highlights on Dark Brown Hair

Ask for a reverse balayage highlights on your dark brown hair to achieve the lived-in blonde look. It’s super low-maintenance and much gentle on your hair. Your colorist may have to pre-tone your hair before you go from blonde to brown reverse balayage. Be prepared because this will add on time and cost.

#10: Blonde Lowlights and Root Smudge

Consider a blonde reverse balayage to richen your ash blonde this season. I like to add blonder lowlights and root smudge them to create dimension and deepen the blonde. The root smudge is an excellent option to create a soft grow-out. Plus, it’s a great way to minimize maintenance while staying light.

Rose Gold Reverse Balayage
Instagram @chrisroks_

#11: Rose Gold Reverse Balayage

If you like the color pink, rose gold is a must-try for you! Rose gold is the perfect combination of pastel pink and gold. And it creates a beautiful, dusty blend. This color is only attainable on pre-lightened hair. Ask your stylist if they can apply this color after highlights or balayage.

#12: Ash Bronde Balayage Highlights

Go for a natural look with ash bronde balayage. A reverse balayage will bring back some nice depth into your locks for a more sun-kissed look. Hints of ash tones will give your hair dimension for a high-contrast look.

#13: Beige Blonde Balayage with Dark Roots

A beige blonde balayage with dark roots is a perfect low-maintenance color. When scanning the internet for the perfect color, look for ashy and sun-kissed blonde. Be sure to go over your hair inspo with your stylist to choose the perfect color for you.

#14: Brunette Balayage with Bleached Hair Highlights

Brunette balayage with bleached hair highlights makes going darker easier. A reverse balayage on bleached hair leaves the bleached hair but adds a darker root. The color is then feathered down into the blonde. Just as it sounds it’s the opposite of a traditional balayage. Keeping the blonde pieces adds depth and a variety of hues, drawing the eye in every direction.

Dimensional Blonde-Brown Reverse Balayage
Instagram @finlayshair

#15: Dimensional Blonde-Brown Balayage

If you are looking for a way to add lots of dimension back into your hair, try a blonde-brown balayage. A light-to-dark reverse balayage is the best way to accomplish this. Take several large sections of hair where you want to put a lowlight in and melt a glaze from root to end. Apply using a demi-permanent gloss so you can go back to bright blonde easily.

Reverse Balayage with Golden Bronde Babylights
Instagram @hairbygemxo

#16: Golden Bronde Babylights

Babylights with a golden bronde shade is the best way to brighten up your light brown hair, without going full blonde. Babylights are highlights that are very thinly applied for the perfect shimmer. This style perfectly balances a cool dark blonde with a warm honey blonde.

#17: Reverse Balayage on Platinum Hair

A reverse balayage on platinum hair is perfect if you are blonde and want natural dimension. There is no need to lighten your hair in this situation, as your blonde will be the highlights. You will just need to determine what hair color to choose as your lowlight. Then your stylist will balayage that color in, creating a beautiful blend of the two colors.

#18: Brunette Balayage and Root Drop

Brunette balayage and root drops are a perfect way to transition into the next season. Warm copper brown roots melted into a wheaty blonde add the right amount of color variation. Going darker doesn’t have to be scary. Talk to your hair colorist about getting there gradually, more of a balayage look. You can always have those lighter pieces toned darker at any time, giving you more colors to play with.

Soft Chestnut Brown Reverse Balayage
Instagram @hairbyjaayyy

#19: Soft Chestnut Brown Balayage

Try a warm chestnut brown balayage if your skin tone has a warm undertone. Chestnut brown has hints of golden auburn and spicy chocolate brown. Adding a few pops of beige blonde lends dimension and contrast. Talk to your stylist about which tone would work for your skin tone.

#20: Chocolate Brown Hair Balayage

One of the best colors to try after a previous balayage when you’re looking to go darker is a shade of brown. This is a great option especially if your natural color is already dark. A nice chocolate shade will bring out the warm tones in your hair. And they’ll give you a soft dimension over your previous highlights.

#21: Ashy Reverse Foilayage

Looking to break up previous highlights for a darker, more dimensional look? Ask your stylist for a reverse balayage. This process requires adding lowlights, or darker pieces, throughout the hair. Plus, it enhances your current blonde with a toner. If you’re not a fan of warmth in your hair, ask your stylist to use an ash brown lowlight and an ash toner. These will create the perfect blend of cool colors.

Ash Brown Reverse Balayage

#22: Ash Brown Reverse Balayage

If you have dark hair with grown-out highlights and want a low-maintenance color, consider a brunette reverse balayage. This type of color keeps your root natural which will keep you out of the salon longer. Weaving lowlights into your previous highlights will help your color to remain dimensional.

Reverse Blended Balayage on Dark Hair
Instagram @hayleyraehair

#23: Blended Balayage on Dark Hair

Blended balayage on dark hair is the hottest hair trend right now. Reverse balayage on dark hair is adding a darker base color and lowlights to lighter brown hair. Balayage is a French word meaning ‘to sweep’ most people think of it as hair painting. Either way, balayage makes beautifully blended hairstyles.

Reverse balayage is a hair coloring technique that brings out natural-looking lowlights to the tresses. It’s such a creative way of giving blonde locks an illusion of depth and a brunette finish.

Consultation is imperative, says hair artist Angelica Blanco of Covina, CA. Talk to your stylist and let them know what you like and don’t like.

“In my case, I always ask women if they like to see brightness at the root,” Blanco states.

Don’t forget to inquire about maintaining the tones between salon services. Blanco suggests using color-safe shampoos and conditioners to let the color last longer.

She notes, “Stylists can give you beautiful and shiny, soft hair. But if it’s not properly taken care of, it won’t ever stay looking fresh.”

For women who only want to try a balayage but don’t want to fully commit, choose a demi-permanent dye. “These work wonders as they do fade in case the shade is too hard for you,” Blanco notes.

If you’re feeling a little too blonde, here’s a chic solution for you. Photos here feature the best and most popular reverse balayage hair ideas you can try!