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How do Balayage highlights differ from normal highlights?

How do Balayage highlights differ from normal highlights?

How do Balayage highlights differ from normal highlights?

The main difference between these colouring techniques is in the final results because the balayage technique offers a more natural look with the effect of the sun on the hair. At the same time, in traditional highlights, you get an intense, more visible change in hair colour.

The difference between highlights and balayage is that highlights almost always use foils, whereas balayage is more of a visual hand-painted technique. Balayage will always give a more subtle result than traditional highlights.

I want to dye my hair in the balayage style. Is it possible to keep my natural hair colour (darkish brown) as highlights and then dye other parts black?

How to Dye Balayage Hair Back to Brown (4 steps that you can follow too) To dye your balayage, all you need to do is use a brown dye with a 20-volume developer. If you’re set on returning to a dark brown, you should use a level 4 brown dye. That means that the colour of your balayage right now will lighten as days go by. So, on the one hand, there’s that. Also, as an effect of the products you wash your hair with, your balayage will lighten as time passes.

What is the difference between full highlights and balayage?

Highlights usually always use foil and are strands of hair, while balayage is more of a hand-painted technique that. 

It looks like it melts into a lighter colour.

Can I go from fully blonde to balayage or highlights? If yes, how?

Yes, you can do either… if you want balayage, go to a professional colourist and have them apply the darker colour at the roots and work down…It’s a reverse balayage…if you want highlights, have your colourist use lowlights to break up the blonde; I suggest applying two colours of lowlights two shades different from each other for a more natural look…if you want a more drastic look; then make 3 or 4 shades difference from each other…

How do I do blonde highlights at home?

I wouldn’t! Get someone else to do it and someone who is a stylist. Only do it yourself if it’s a toner on already lightened hair.

You would need to do it reasonably fast to ensure it’s developing okay, and trying to do foils in the back of your hair is hard for even experienced people. Plus, it’s hard to get to a light shade of blonde quickly, so it depends on what colour your hair is coming from.

Is your hair already coloured? Is it virgin hair? Do you have warm or cooked undertones? if you are asking this question… I would advise that you shouldn’t take the risk.

A friend of mine had her hair break and fall out.

It was gorgeous ash blonde, and she’s had to let virgin hair grow through for ages!! Like a year! I know it’s ages because I’ve listened to her whine about her hair nonstop. The stylist then wouldn’t touch it. You will be gutted if it goes wrong.

My balayage highlights came out a little too blonde. How can I darken the colour to more of a light brown?

If your balayage highlights came out a little too blonde, I suggest you hit the pause button before you do anything drastic.

Sometimes, the highlights soften, darken and mellow on their own accord without chemical or hair colourist intervention.

Even when I use every trick in the book to preserve my blonde highlights (I can never be blonde, in my opinion), they darken all on their own within the first week after getting the highlights.

You can also use purple shampoo, which will often help balance out the blonde and soften it.

If waiting out the blonde highlights isn’t a viable option, and you don’t want to experiment with purple shampoo if you had your hair highlighted by a hair colourist, ask them to apply temporary colour to tone down the blonde slightly.

What is the difference between overall colour, lowlights and highlights?

Highlighting and lowlighting are two sides of the same coin: altering your hair to create depth, dimension, and movement. Put, when you highlight your hair, you add lighter strands, and when you’re lowlighting,e you’re weaving in darker sections.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper.


  • Have you ever noticed how kids’ hair gets naturally lighter from the sun? That’sThat’s the look highlights try to mimic, injecting brightness and lift. A 
  • Colourists traditionally weave or slice lighter colours—often 2-3 shades lighter than your base—throughout your hair. Techniques can vary from foil highlights to balayage (a freehand technique), but the goal is to make the hair appear sun-kissed and vibrant.
  • Highlights have an impressive range of effects. They can be used subtly to add a touch of radiance or dramatically for a bold look that significantly contrasts with your natural colour.


  • On the flip side, we’ve got lowlights. The unsung hero is when you want to add depth back into the hair that’s been over-highlighted, making it look denser and more affluent. These are typically darker sections, about 2-3 shades deeper than your base, woven into your hair. If highlights are sunbeams, lowlights are the shadows they cast, giving your hair visual ”weight” and movement.
  • Lowlights can be crucial for someone whose base colour has become too light or monochromatic after successive highlighting treatments. They add complexity back into the hair, almost like adding darker threads to a tapestry to give it more texture and narrative.

To muddy the waters a bit, we also have overall colour, which is when you change the entirety of your hair to a different shade—it’s like the canvas upon which these highlights and lowlights play. You might go overall darker for the autumn/winter months or lighten for summer, then add other dimension-creating treatments.

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The Play of Light and Shadow

Think of highlights and lowlights as your hair’s light and shadow. Both techniques create layers of colour that make your hair look like it has more volume and life. Imagine an artist putting the final touches on a painting—these hair treatments are those deft strokes that bring the work to life.

Whether you go lighter with highlights or darker with lowlights, or even change your overall colour, it’s a dance between shades, and it can change not just how your hair looks but how you feel.

Picture a beautiful head of hair with sun-kissed highlights and deep shadowy lowlights, all set against a rich, freshly coloured backdrop. That’s the kind of depth and dimension you can achieve.

The Bottom Line

Highlights brighten and add vibrance, while lowlights add depth and contrast. Your overall colour is your hair’s foundational shade, upon which highlights and lowlights can be added for dynamic effect. Like a painter considering every brushstroke, a good colourist will take into account your initial base colour, your desired result, and the blend of highlights and lowlights needed to get you there.

Ultimately, the difference lies in the desired outcome and the interplay of colours at work. It’s about balance, it’s about hue, and it’s definitely about making a statement that matches your style and lifestyle.

What is the right way to get balayage done?

Part 1 of 3:Choosing a Color

Choose a light blonde colour for your balayage highlights if your hair is a naturally calm, dark, like chocolate or dark ash brown. More golden ash or khaki shade will give you sleek, flattering highlights.

You may need to bleach it before dyeing it blonde if you have very dark hair. Otherwise, your hair may appear lighter than you want. The final colour will depend on your natural hair colour and the developer you use.

Looking at your skin tone will help you figure out if your hair is warm or cool. An easy way to determine your skin tone is to check if you look best with silver or gold jewellery. You’ll likely look best with gold jewellery if your skin tone is warm or silver jewellery if your skin tone is calm.

2. Go with a caramel shade if you have natural or warm brown hair.

If you have warmer-toned or natural hair in shades like walnut or mahogany, go for blonde highlights with more yellow. For a warm, natural look, look for a caramel or honey-blonde shade.

If you have natural hair, gold tones look especially great. Try balayage highlights in red, gold, or copper.

3. Try a flaxen or beige balayage if you have relaxed blonde hair.

If you want to try the balayage technique with light, icy-toned blonde hair, go with a shade with no warm tones, like cool beige or flaxen. These more metallic shades can enhance the grey-green tint of your hair.

Balayage highlights will only pop on blonde hair that’s more dirty blonde, as opposed to platinum. If you have white-blonde hair, try lowlights instead.

4. Use light gold dye if you have yellower blonde hair.

With blonde hair that’s sunnier and warmer in colour, like honey or sandy shades, look for a light gold, beachy, or burnished yellow dye. Subtle highlights in these shades will add depth and movement to your naturally blonde locks.

5. Pair red hair with balayage in the same colour family.

Balayage can also be a great technique to bring out different notes in red hair. Stay within the same general hue as your natural colour for a subtle, sun-kissed look.

If you have a blue-red hair tone, like scarlet or wine, go with more excellent balayage colours like strawberry.

For orange-red hair colour, try copper or ginger highlights.

6. Buy a balayage or highlighting kit at a beauty store.

It’s best to balayage hair with highlighting or balayage kits, available at any store selling hair products and online. Suitable kits should be easy to find and affordable.

Balayage kits come with a comb applicator, lightening formula, plastic gloves, conditioner to use afterwards, and instructions. They’re a convenient way to try this hair colouring technique at home.

If you can’t find a balayage kit, try a kit made for traditional highlights.

If you have very dark hair, you might also need a bleaching kit if you’re hoping for a dramatic change.

Balayage will work on any hair type.

Part 2 of 3:Applying the Hair Dye

1. Prep the hair dye and put a towel around your shoulders for spills.

Follow the instructions on your highlighting kit to get your dye ready 

. Put an old towel around your shoulders to soak up excess dye, and wear an old shirt in case of spills. It would help if you also slipped on disposable plastic gloves to prevent stains on your hands.

You’ll want to start with dry, clean hair for the best dye application.

Unlike other hair colouring techniques, you might not have to apply bleach before you balayage hair. The dye formula included in your kit comes with all the ingredients you’ll need to lighten your hair without a separate bleaching step in some cases. If you want a dramatic colour change from dark hair to light, then you may still need to bleach your hair.

2. Test one hair strip before applying the hair dye.

Choose a small piece from the bottom layer of your hair and apply just a dab of dye to it. Let it process for the instructed time, then rinse the dye and check the colour.

This allows you to check the dye colour and ensure that your hair has no adverse reactions.

3. Separate your hair into three sections.

Draw the tail end of a comb from ear to ear in a halo-like line to separate your hair into top, middle, and bottom sections. Slip hair ties around the top and middle sections and move them to the sides, or pull them into tiny buns so you can work on the bottom section first.

4. Separate a thin, wispy strip of hair in the bottom section.

Starting on one side of your hair, separate one thin piece of hair. The exact width of your highlights depends on your preference, but balayage tends to look best with lighter, more subtle highlights, at most 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.

5. Apply the dye with your fingers or the brush from the dye kit.

Hold the strand and dip your fingers or brush into the hair dye. Then, gently paint the dye onto the strip of hair with your other hand, applying it more heavily at the bottom and tapering off as you reach the mid-lengths.

If you want a natural look, painting the dye onto your hair is the best way to achieve it. However, it would help if you did not make horizontal or broad strokes. Try to blend it as well as you can.

Unlike with traditional highlights, you’ll only apply the dye to part of the strand, so don’t go all the way to your roots. Most balayage styles tend to fade out about midway up the strand, especially on long hair.

This tapering method will give your hair the natural fading effect that the balayage technique is known for.

Be extra careful if you have short hair so you don’t accidentally cover more of your hair than you’d like.

6. Continue applying the dye, alternating from side to side.

Pick a strand on the other side of your head and repeat the application process, going back and forth and from front to back. For the most natural, sun-kissed look, only highlight strands about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart or as far apart as you want your highlights.

Once you complete the bottom layer, you can gently section it off with a hair tie, though this is optional. You can also cover your hair with a piece of foil before proceeding. Then, repeat the process with your hair’s middle and top sections.

The hair in the bottom layer tends to be darker and more challenging to lighten, so it’s best to add highlights there first and give them the longest time to process.

7. Let the colour process, then rinse it with the included shampoo.

Once you’ve added your highlights, check your dye box to see how long you should wait to let the colour process—typically around 20-30 minutes. Then, rinse the dye with the shampoo included in the package and follow it with a thick layer of the toning mask, if one is included.

Leave the toning mask as long as instructed, then rinse it in the shower.

Remember that the longer you let the dye process, the lighter your highlights will be.

Part 3 of 3:Maintaining Your Balayage Look

1. Repeat your balayage process when your hair needs more colour.

The balayage technique is so popular because the process doesn’t require touch-up visits to the salon; it will grow out very naturally. Keep an eye on the colour and repeat the process whenever you think your colour needs a pick-me-up every 2-3 months.

You can even let your balayage highlights go longer and transition to an ombre look.

2. Wash with a color-correcting, low-sulfate shampoo and conditioner.

3. Apply a hair mask once a week to hydrate your strands.

Even the tiny amount of hair dye used in balayage can dry out your strands, leaving them stiff and hard to style. To keep your hair healthy, apply a hydrating hair mask once a week.

You can buy a hair mask at a beauty store or online or make your own.

If you bleachbleach your hair, apply a restorative treatment once or twice a week. You can also use a protein treatment once a month to strengthen your hair, but avoid using it more than that, or it will make your hair brittle.

4. Shower every other day with lukewarm water.

To keep your hair healthy and moisturized, rinse and wash it with cool or lukewarm water instead of hot water, which can strip moisture. It’s also best to shower every other day or once every few days; washing your hair too often can make it dry and brittle.

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Does balayage leave you with more noticeable roots when grown out, or do highlights?

Even if the hairdresser goes close to your scalp, the issue is that the highlights tend to start at the same point, so when your roots grow out, they’re more visible. Balayage offers a lot of subtle contrast, so the colours blend into each other and trick the eye into thinking it’s meant to be that way.

I recommend balayage, or if you go for highlights, make sure to ask for lowlights too, with the colour being similar in tone to your natural hair colour to offer some contrast once the roots come out. If you’re going blonde, you might need some toner too – it gives your hair that lovely ash-blonde tone, and your hair won’t be as brassy (which can often make the roots look even worse).

Which is better, balayage or ombre?

Both these hairstyles are derived from the French. Balayage is more traditional and is still the most common form of this hairstyle. This method applies the colour in the same direction as the hair grows, while the ombre is done in two directions.

Ombre is more popular because it gives a more natural look than balayage. The hair colours range from light to dark, with the darkest colour at the tips. It makes it look as though the hair has been dyed naturally by the sun.

In balayage, the aim is to have highlights or streaks that look like they have just been sun-kissed. In ombre, hair colours are darker at the roots than at the tips. It makes it look as though you have dark hair with lighter ends. Ombre hair is more popular and much easier to handle. 

It requires less maintenance than balayage. On the other hand, balayage looks more natural and is better for people with layered hair. Save on Indique’s SEA Collection 30% OFF. Shop all bundles, wigs, and closures with code SEA30 for a limited time.

How do I fix a brassy balayage on dark hair?

Before attempting to tone the brassiness out of your hair, you need to understand a little more about colour. Take a look at any colour wheel, and you’ll understand. Brassiness is yellow, so tone your hair with the opposite colour on the colour wheel to neutralize it and make it more “ashy” and less “brassy”. 

The opposite colour is purple, so you need to deposit some purple dye into your hair. If the unwanted colour is orange – the colour most brunettes suffer from- the opposite is blue. You need to deposit blue colour into your hair shaft to neutralize the orange and make it more “ashy” or “cooler”.

Now, how do you do this?

There are two ways to remove brassiness, but you need to know: both are temporary, but one will have a more prolonged (and more damaging) effect:

1- Toner: go to a professional stylist to tone your hair. Toners are similar to hair dyes, but instead of depositing full-on colour into your hair shaft, they deposit colour to a much lesser degree but will neutralize any unwanted colour. 

It is better not to try this at home because toning involves adding peroxide to your hair, and your hairdresser will know which colour is best to “cool” your warm, brassy tones away. You will probably need to tone your hair every 6-8weeks

2- Purple shampoo. (Use blue shampoo if you have orange, not yellow, brassiness). These are safe because they’re just shampoos. I recommend you apply the shampoo to your hair when dry, leave it for 5-10 minutes, and wash it out. A purple hair mask or conditioner is also good, as most purple/blue shampoos are drying. I have two recommendations for you that I have tried:

Fanola No Yellow Shampoo & Conditioner and Mask are my current favourites. Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo & Conditioner.

It would help if you used either at least once every two weeks (depending on how frequently you wash your hair, sun exposure, chlorine exposure, etc.)

Is a balayage ombre considered full head highlights?

Balayage translates to “sweeping.” When done correctly, the colourist takes a small section of hair and sweeps the colour onto the top using a gradient technique, going from dark to lighter. 

Then, they use a ColourWand paddle to apply more colour toward the bottom of the hair, creating a melting blended colour. This lighting method towards the ends gives the colourist more control and makes the effortless gradient sun-kissed highlight everyone wants this time of year.

BALAYAGE IS NOT HIGHLIGHTS! Highlights tend to look stripy and harsh in some cases. This is a balayage on dark hair.

This is foil highlights and base colour on dark hair. She originally had a black box colour.

What is the best way for me to add lowlights and highlights to my hair?

That’s an easy answer, but you’ll need someone to apply it.

The outer section or surface hair is the most important, so pay extra attention later.

Section the hair in 1~2 inch thickness, depending 

on how dark or less obvious you want your lowlights to be. Thinner sections mean darker.

They are light depending on how dark your roots are and 

how long your lengths and ends are. You can choose an intermediate to darker, which is the same tone as your natural hair.

Apply the colour from roots to mid-length with the edge side of your brush. The width of the colour applied should not be thicker than a quarter of an inch.

The spacing should be half to 1 1/2″, depending on the darkness of the desired results. Should you want an even darker overall, you can paint one streak to the miss and the other to the ends.

The last section should be how your hair falls naturally, according to its parting. 

Extra care to avoid smudging the surface. Start thin and repeat if you need to. Leave the short fringe if you have no experience, as it takes more control and skill. This technique is a balayage in “reverse”.

I’m getting my dark hair balayage blonde in a couple of days. Will the blonde fade because my hair is so dark?

No, your blonde balayage won’t fade darker… when lightened (with bleach or permanent hair colour), you lose at various extents the natural melanin of the affected area (which means it permanently lightened your hair).

The way lightened hair fades is very simple: the cool pigments they deposited into your hair (toner) to conceal the underlying pigmentation of the level of blonde your hair has been lightened to (Brassiness) leaves/deteriorates gradually as it wears, reverting it to its warm base before your hairdresser applied the toner.

Will blonde box dye work on hair that has been balayaged? My natural shade is light brown (on top) with a blonde balayage on the bottom. I want to know how the box dye will affect the different coloured areas of my hair.

I do not recommend doing that! I don’t recommend using boxed dye at all! The chances of getting the dye all over the balayaged areas are 100%! Even one little touch of box dye colour, any colour really, and you now have a splotch; imagine not knowing how careful you must be and washing out the box dye only to find you now have brassy roots and splotchy balayage! Yay! NOPE! Didn’t you pay a lot of money for your Balayage?

Why would you want to pay more for a color correction? Call your salon and ask for a free consultation.

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Is Balayage better than highlights?

It depends on what you want the hair to look like.

If you have grey hair, you are better off with highlights. Balayage is not to the root, and the grey will be more noticeable.

Balayage is also done at room temp. So, if you are a level 5 or darker, you will not get platinum blonde in one sitting. You can do it with highlights, foil, and heat.

Can blondes get balayage?

Hello. What an interesting question. Truthfully, the only TRUE balayage is done on someone with naturally blonde hair. It doesn’t require any foil or Saran Wrap for incubation. 

It also requires no heat. Balayage is a French word that means to sweep or sweep. When done on someone with naturally blonde hair, it gives the most gorgeous bright blonde look. There are no lines of demarcation or real roots when it grows. Probably can go 4–6 months if you don’t have any grey hair you are covering.

People have only started the balayage ombré trend on darker hair in recent years. Balayage has been popular for decades, with natural blondes properly educating colourists to receive this custom look.

 It’s an art form that has only gained mainstream attention in the last five years. But this technique isn’t something just anyone can do. It takes quality training and lots of practice before charging a client for this service. 

It’s cool to watch when done correctly because the technique is done very quickly, section by section. And the cost is up there, considering you only get it done every 4–6 months. Probably not the answer you expected, but I hope you enjoyed learning about this fantastic art form.

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Do balayage highlights look good on thin, fine hair that doesn’t hold a curl very well? Most of the photos I’ve seen are of girls with thick, curled hair.

Emilie, hair colour or highlights usually give thin, fine hair more body and make it seem thicker. It curls better and is much easier to style.

Also, it would help if you always remembered that your delicate hair must be done correctly. If someone leaves it too long, you could get fried hair. That would be not good. Please go to a colour expert who will know precisely how to do your hair. Good luck!

Before getting light brown and dirty blond highlights on my dark brown hair, what should I know?

If you’re thinking about getting light brown and dirty blond highlights on your dark brown hair, keeping a few things in mind is essential. First, I highly recommend visiting a professional stylist who can help you choose the right shades and give you an idea of what to expect in terms of maintenance. They can also help you avoid any potential damage to your hair. 

Remember that lightening your hair can be a significant change, so be prepared to put in extra time and effort to keep your highlights looking fresh.

Choosing a reputable salon where you feel comfortable and confident in the stylists’ abilities is also important. They can help ensure your new highlights look tremendous and adequately addressed. And lastly, be open to trying new products and styles that will help keep your highlights looking vibrant. This can be a fun and exciting change, so embrace it and enjoy your unique look!

How do Balayage highlights differ from normal highlights?