28 Stunning Balayage Colors for Short Hair in 2018

A balayage for short hair is a modern technique to customize pixies, bobs, and other short cuts to transform them into the most unique and liveliest hair colors. The notion that a balayage is only possible and mesmerizing on long hair is totally a myth! It’s all about the gradient and contrast when creating a seamlessly blended ombre melted on short locks.

An important thing to take note of is that your colorist’s level of expertise is a high priority, as precisely hand-painted highlights are needed to work with the short length. Start with this popular trend by consulting first with an expert about which kind of tones would best suit you and bring out the texture and dimension that you prefer in your hair. You will love your new balayage hairstyles.

Make the most of your look with one of these stunning balayage short hair colors!

Midnight Blue Balayage Short Hair Color

Midnight Blue Balayage
Instagram @spaceskum

What could be cooler and edgier than an A-line cut painted with an awesome azure on natural jet black hair? This surely gives us the chills for its beauty and uniqueness.

Auburn Color

Auburn Balayage
Instagram @ellie.noel

A nicely blended auburn/copper is what you need for this season. Looks totally magnificent on waves!

Ice Blonde Highlights

Ice Blonde Highlights
Instagram @hairbysamcrawford

A fun and new sassy cut totally goes well with a vibrant metallic white like this. It also looks cool to leave in your natural dark blonde roots for a really edgy and interesting turn-out.

Grey Highlights

Grey Highlights
Instagram @coloristjunkie_mo

Some layers on this amazing rounded lob work so well with the silver on black hair. The two neutrals create a deep dimension for the look.

Dark Blonde Balayage on Dark Brown Hair

Dark Blonde on Dark Brown Hair
Instagram @hairsocial

Have a brand new appeal to a classic simple bob by dyeing it with this blend of brunette and honey streaks with dark roots. You’ll have a dimensional hair that will last for awhile.

Red Hair Color

Red Balayage
Instagram @hairbylaurenrulh

Go solid crimson on your dark hair for a totally cool vampire vibe! Not much upkeep is needed compared to going all out on this color!

Balayage Lowlights

Balayage Lowlights
Instagram @shinetimes

Deepen your natural color by getting lowlights balayage for that wonderful dimension that is stunning even on short hair!

Short Razor Cut Light Ash Brown Hair

Short Razor Cut Light Ash Brown Hair
Instagram @hairbywhitneyratto

Say yes to a smokey mocha color like this that shows off your waves’ texture and movement! Not only that, but it makes the whole look soft and light too.

Layered Bob Golden Brown Shade

Layered Bob Golden Brown Shade
Instagram @qhairq

An effortless way to brighten your skin and frame your face is having vibrant gold highlights all around your wavy hair! The layers make it defined and textured at the same time.

Chin Length Bronde Highlights

Chin Length Bronde Highlights
Instagram @hair.by.amanda

A few pieces of rusty blonde and that fringe helps the texture of this short bob show through! Go with this length if you want to balance an oval face.

Short Blunt Cut Honey Blonde Balayage Highlights

Short Blunt Cut Honey Blonde Balayage Highlights
Instagram @hairbykailihall

Beachy and sharp – this edgy neck-length bob is a stunner! Perfect for any complexion!

Neck Length Balayage for Short Straight Hair

Neck Length Balayage for Straight Hair
Instagram @sydneyzeessalon

When you have a blend this seamless, it’s always the perfect shine and vibrancy that shows. Ideal for flat-ironed bobs.

Short Bob Platinum Blonde

Short Bob Platinum Blonde
Instagram @motherofcurls

This dirty metallic and ashy ombre is a totally unique and high-fashion hairstyle! It’s perfect for a casual as well as a business look, and will suit any complexion. To balayage short hair, it takes great planning because the hair is shorter and there is less to work with. A colorist will measure the hair to make sure the colors streak perfectly.

Long Pixie Dark Tones

Long Pixie Dark tones
Instagram @shearbrilliancebyalaina

This cute short haircut proves that length doesn’t matter when it comes to having an exceptional style! Those brunette highlighting pieces definitely does their job in giving dimension to and brightening the look.

Brunette A-Line Bob

Brunette A-Line Bob
Instagram @prissyhippiebeautyshop

An easy breezy dimensional angled and layered wavy cut appears so gorgeous and brightening when painted with blonde highlights near the face. This is one look to have if you wanna keep the maintenance low with your hair.

Choppy Bob Caramel Balayage Highlights

Choppy Bob Caramel Balayage Highlights
Instagram @hairby_mkrause

Q&A with style creator, Melissa Krause
Hairstylist @ Columbia Gorge Salon And Spa in Troutdale, OR

How would you describe this look?

I love this simple yet beautiful balayage bob. It’s a great way to introduce color if you’re new to it or looking for low maintenance or a more subtle natural look. It grows out beautifully and can add dimension to your color and show off texture. The cut is a classic look that can be written straight or curled. Perfect for those beachy waves as well! It looks great with bangs or a longer fringe, and it’s very versatile. Bobs make perfect balayage hair!

Any advice for someone considering it?

Use a volumizing product when you blow dry. I use bodybuilder by Kevin Murphy or anti-gravity by Kevin Murphy. You can do flat iron curls (that’s how I achieved this look) or wrap around a curling rod. I finished with bedroom hair by Kevin Murphy (a texturing spray) which adds separation. I also alternate curl directions to create a clash in curls so they do not all clump together. The best part is that it doesn’t have to be perfect! If you have a natural wave, you can put product in and scrunch and go for people who don’t have much time to spend on styling.

Ombre Hair

Ombre hairstyle
Instagram @justjawnihair

Q&A with style creator, Jawni Sears
Balayage & Blonde Specialist @ Wild Roots Salon in Colchester, IL


How would you describe this look?

I love how it looks both edgy and chic. This above the shoulder cut can look really clean and fresh with a simple ear tuck, or you can quickly throw some curls in it and finish it with a texturizing spray for a more undone, casual look. The textured layers and the blend of cool and warm blondes really set this bob apart from what could have easily just been a basic bob.

I finish most of my textured bobs with Redken Wax Blast. It also works great to refresh curls late in the day.

Any advice for someone considering it?

A short textured bob can be a great cut for busy women who are already in the habit of styling their hair daily. A few quick curls and a texturizing product can get you out the door quickly. With that being said, if you don’t enjoy styling your hair every day or like the feel of styling products, you’re going to start your mornings very frustrated. I like to have my clients think about how important being able to throw their hair up in a messy bun is to them. If that ranks pretty high on the list, then maybe a short haircut isn’t the best choice.

Here, I used a balayage technique to create more lightness on the ends and around the face before applying an icy glaze – giving it an edgier feel, but still modest enough for a professional job. It really changed the whole look of the cut. Aside from the cut, a balayage always looks better styled, so I would definitely think about that before considering this cut and color. While you’re styling your hair every day, don’t forget to use a heat protectant. Redken Iron Shape is a favorite!

Light Brown Balayage

Light Brown Balayage
Instagram @devynhairart

Q&A with style creator, Devyn Martinez
Hairstylist @ Cutting Edge Hair and Body Salon in Goleta, CA


How would you describe this look?

In Santa Barbara, a lot of my clients are looking for that perfect just-left-the-beach, sun-kissed look! This textured chin-length bob with dimensional lighter brunette balayage works perfectly straight or curly! When it comes to styling, I like to make it achievable for my clients. I love using only my hands to blow-dry my bob cuts. I ask most of my clients to flip their hair upside down to create more movement and lift at the root, with no nozzle to allow for more natural curl to show. Then I use my 1.25″ curling iron(you can use 1″-1.5″) to create more wave and movement on the root section.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This color application is great for someone who is seeing grays pop up but aren’t ready to commit to a permanent color. The babylights and dimensional color can really disguise those new grays. This short sassy length with no fringe can elongate a square or heart face shape. The perfect low maintenance option for all those busy moms out there!

Short Shaggy Rose Gold Balayage

Short Shaggy Rose Gold Balayage
Instagram @kris_you_up

Q&A with style creator, Cristina Ruso
Suite Owner @ K.Rose Studio in Miami, FL


How would you describe this look?

What I enjoy about this look is that it is hip and versatile in many ways. The color is a dark rose gold shade that is incorporated into the natural base color of the client. With the roots staying dark and the ends gradually getting lighter, it allows for an easier, more natural grow out.

The tone can be maintained or left alone and still be wearable. The cut is layered with the ends point cut to give texture/movement, with some light blunt bangs for more fun. The style shown is a loose/messy wave but this cut can be worn straight or natural as well.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This look can either be low or high maintenance depending on the person. If you enjoy changing tones often, this shade would be good for that because since its a light rose gold shade, it will fade in a short amount of time, and you can move on to the next color. If you enjoy this shade and want to maintain it, you can get frequent toner refreshes every few weeks, or buy a rose color depositing shampoo or conditioner.

Since the cut is versatile, it allows for a natural fall no matter how it’s styled. It is good for anyone with naturally straight, fine, wavy, or thick hair textures. This look can be worn by someone with a funky style, or for anyone who is simple and wants to try out fantasy color but wants to start subtle. To achieve these waves, I used a flat iron bending technique and straightened out the ends a bit. It can be finished off with a light/medium hold hairspray to give some texture and break the hair up a bit.

Maroon Coloring

Maroon Coloring
Instagram @laurlahair

Q&A with style creator, Lauren Robinson
Redken Certified Colorist & Master Stylist @ Design 1 Salon and Spa in Portage, MI


How would you describe this look?

This cute little asymmetrical bob has tons of added texture on the inside to add movement without shortening the layers on the silhouette that is a tiny bit longer than jaw length. The raspberry color is perfect for ladies who always want funky colors while maintaining “acceptable work hair color” for professional jobs, like in this case, a nurse! The tousled texture is perfect for helping soften the style as well. I love that this hair color really is a showstopper for shine and pushing the edge just enough to feel comfortably bold.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This is great with an undercut for clients with really thick hair if you really want to cut down on styling time. It’s also very wearable for fine haired clients as well, especially because it has a more full baseline! Change the length depending on if you have a strong or soft jaw and again, voila! it works for lots of people! Texture spray is a must and even using some proofing powder or a tiny bit of sticky paste at the root gives it just enough lift. Color like this can’t be washed often so it’s more for people who are into no-poo routines or wash 2-3 times a week.

Short Messy Brown Hair

Short Messy Brown Hair
Instagram @bri_kim

Q&A with style creator, Bri Kim
Hairstylist @ Peroxide Beauty and Barbershop in Hermosa Beach, CA


How would you describe this look?

This is a textured long bob with a chocolate-toned balayage. I did this cut exclusively with a razor to both reduce weight and provide lots of natural movement for a more lived-in look. The highlights are hand painted to enhance the movement and add some lightness to the look.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This look is great for most face shapes! The razor cut naturally provides lots of movement so styling can keep to a minimum, or you can enhance the look with simple beach waves. I like to use a dry texture spray to give the look a little grit and separation, while still keeping it soft and moveable.

Lob Cut Blonde Balayage Highlights on Dark Hair

Lob Cut Blonde Balayage Highlights on Dark Hair
Instagram @brittnyshears

Q&A with style creator, Brittny Laudani
Hair Designer / Colorist @ M Salon in Baltimore, MD


How would you describe this look?

This look is a cool toned light/medium brown base with heavy balayage & a face-framing (money piece). The cut is a textured angled bob styled with a curling iron. The prettiest thing about this look is the cut. I’m a sucker for a great bob.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Bobbed haircuts can really be a winner for any type of hair. Getting the color you want may take multiple sessions. This guest was in the salon for four hours, so be patient with your stylist. Always use a texturizing spray, as it builds incredible volume and can add texture to any style. I like Oribe Dry Texture Spray.

Angled Bob Balayage for Very Short Hair

Q&A with style creator, Carly Anne Bigham
Hair & Makeup Artist @ Carly Bigham Hair Stylist in Rushville, IL


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as full, textured, and sassy! The loveliest thing about this is the lived-in tones, the low maintenance color that I’ve given her, and the fact that she can have so much volume with little to no product!

Any advice for someone considering it?

With this look, her hair is very thick and somewhat coarse. That’s where having next to no products comes into play. However, everyone is different. For fine to medium hair I would recommend a root lifting spray, specifically, I love Eufora. Then, a texture mousse and blow out cream to help with volume. Once blown out I would definitely suggest a heat shield. This will protect your hair from any damage. Low heat is more! Please do not have your hot tools set more than 350 degrees.

I am also a huge fan of texture sprays such as sea salt or even a dry shampoo will give you that grit for great volume and bounce. Any face shape is ideal for this cut, depending if they are wanting it asymmetrical or not. Oblong, or oval is best if chosen. Any personality or lifestyle is great for this. I fully would tell any busy mom on the go constantly to get this. It’s easy, fun, throw some beach waves in it and on your way!

Ear Length Silver Hair Color

Q&A with style creator, Rebecca Brown
Master Stylist @ Pure Hair On Hume in Toowoomba, QLD


How would you describe this look?

This look is edgy and fun for a blonde wanting a change. I love a dark ashy root stretch with the over-toned grey ends. The best part is this look fades beautifully over time back to the blondie we began with.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This look is great for the client who is fun and individual in their style but also ideal for someone who wants to put time and effort into styling a shorter hairstyle. Sea salt spray and dust-up on the roots is perfect for texture and movement!

Balayage for Short Curly Hair

Balayage for Short Curly Hair
Instagram @thecurlninja

Q&A with style creator, Stephanie Lieblich Mero
Independent Hairstylist in Orlando, FL


How would you describe this look?

This look is a full head of warm dimensional painted highlights and a stacked curly bob with bangs. A client booking this look would book a full balayage highlight and curl shaping if they were booking the service with me, although other stylists may use different wording. I only use balayage (in French it means, “to sweep”) because it is more gentle on the hair than foil highlights, as it does not conduct heat as foil does which can cause the hair to overprocess and damages the curls. The result is a dimensional highlight with lots of different tones in one process, which I love!

I also created this haircut. It was actually born out of necessity because she had old dark permanent color on her ends but I made it cute and funky for her! The best thing about it is that it is unique and playful.

I style all of my clients with a basic wash-and-go so that they can create the same results at home! I simply wash and condition their hair, apply styling product, towel dry a bit, and then air dry and diffuse. I like knowing that they feel they can style themselves just like I do because I didn’t do any fancy tricks on their hair!

Any advice for someone considering it?

I would urge them to be sure they are okay with an uncertain result. What I mean by that is that since balayage (and I mean true balayage, not foils used to try and create a dimensional look) does not use foil to conduct heat, you won’t be guaranteed a blonde result unless you have never processed your hair and have naturally blonde hair. Sometimes it takes multiple sessions to get to blonde, especially if you have naturally dark hair.

Make sure you choose a stylist who is a strong colorist and can tone out unwanted brass if your hair lifts to a color you won’t be pleased with. Toning is really where the magic happens in this process since really anyone can lighten hair, but not everyone knows how to properly tone to a beautiful result! That being said, once you have reached your color goal, this look is very low maintenance as it grows out beautifully. My clients go 3-12 months between touchup appointments depending on how tight their curls are (tighter curls take much longer to see the natural root come in).

As for the cut, this length is for someone who doesn’t mind losing a ponytail! If you are an athlete I would not recommend it, but there is still the option of half-up or using headbands to get it off your face and neck. If that is not an issue, this cut would look cute on almost anyone! It’s really soft around the face so it can flatter any face shape.

Pixie Cut Purple Balayage

Pixie Cut Purple Balayage
Instagram @ryan.aev

Q&A with style creator, Ryan Evans
Hairstylist @ Mirror Images Hair and Beauty in Doncaster, UK


How would you describe this look?

I love an androgynous haircut! Although it’s short, it’s still very versatile and easy enough to manipulate into different shapes and styles. Playing with color is my thing and I’m still massively in love with the root stretch and how it can transform a blonde completely!

Any advice for someone considering it?

Balayage short hair like this can be a high maintainer and don’t always suit everybody, however, confidence is key. Short hair is sexy too, and every female should do it at least once! Wear it sleek, mess it up, or even add braids and twists to change the overall appearance, short hair is able to be worn in a different way to suit whatever occasion. If you’re a blonde who wants to play with color but don’t know how then stick with the violet tones. That way it will always fade beautifully.

Ash Blonde Balayage Highlights

Q&A with style creator, Michelle Zapanta
Hairstylist / Owner @ Killer Beauty Studio in Cypress, CA


How would you describe this look?

This look is a modern version of a bob with subtle dimensional balayage. The best thing about this look is that the ends were more texturized to give it a more fun tousled bob. The darker ash blonde balayage is great for someone who wants subtle dimension without a lot of warmth. As for styling, it can look great both straight or with some beachy waves.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This textured look is great for someone with thick hair due to the texturizing and slight thinning, but it does have to be maintained. It does weigh down for people with thick hair over time so maintaining with a trim and texturizing can give the hair movement with less weight.

This is also great for thinned hair clients because it creates a body with some texturizing and no thinning. Also adding some beachy waves can add more volume. The color is also great for someone who wants a subtle blonde or for someone wanting to be lighter in the future but wants it in sessions. The styling is way easy and it can be done with just a straightener with your favorite smoothing serum or with a wand and texturizing spray to create a fun beachy look.

Since the look is an ash blonde balayage the regrowth will still be blended, unlike the streaky highlights look which can cause harsh lines. Blue toning shampoo with a moisturizing conditioner is great to maintain the ash blonde and also keep the hair healthy. Maintenance for color requires 6 to 8 weeks for a retouch. This whole look is perfect for anyone as long as you wear it with confidence and with a touch of your personality!

Chocolate Caramel Balayage

Chocolate Caramel Balayage
Instagram @christinabhair

Q&A with style creator, Christina Burnett
Stylist & Colorist @ Laboratory Hair Studio in Morristown, NJ


How would you describe this look?

This was Kate’s first time getting highlights so we chose balayage for a low maintenance color with a soft honey tone. We wanted the highlights to accent her cut so we chose a shoulder-length slight A-line bob with some soft layering for movement. I love how the cut is versatile so she can wear it straight, naturally wavy, or loose curling iron waves.

Any advice for someone considering it?

I think this is a great example of how to balayage short hair, as almost anyone can wear even taking it a little shorter or longer. It has an easy effortless style with a shape that works for most hair types with styling options. With a blow out balm, you can do a smooth blow out. Then the next morning you can wand some loose waves with a little dry texture spray or scrunch some mousse in for a natural wave.