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What Is Balayage – The Most Popular Hair Highlighting Technique

Shalu B

Updated At  23 May 21

Want to know what is balayage and why is it one of the most popular hair highlighting techniques? Want to know the differences between balayage and ombre? Our guide covers Balayage vs ombre, Balayage vs highlights in detail.

Balayage hair has revolutionized the way we think of a color job. It has been a serious game changer. Its popularity is hitting the roof. A favorite amongst celebrities, Balayage hair is here to stay. It is only fitting that we answer all your questions about this latest hair trend that has taken the world by fever.

We have covered:

  • What is Balayage
  • Pros and Cons of balayage
  • Balayage vs ombre
  • Balayage vs highlights
  • Balayage vs baby lights
  • Hair care post balayage
  • FAQs on Balayage hair



What Is Balayage?

The word Balayage originated from the French word ‘balayer’, which means ‘to sweep’ or ‘to paint’. Even the Balayage meaning has come from the French language.


What Is Balayage Hair Color Technique?


Balayage is a hair coloring technique where the colorist takes small triangular sections of hair and colors them up, close and tight to give a soft seamless finish with the use of his hands.


Yes, It is a technique which uses free hand motions. There are no clear fade lines differentiating the colored and non-colored hair. Various light and dark hues are chosen based on the base color of your hair.




Balayage Before And After

You will see that Balayage hair often starts from the middle section and not from up the roots. It goes from dark in the middle to lighter towards the hair ends.

However, some darker pieces are left at the bottom to add definition. And the result is soft blended natural sun-kissed look.

Since it is a hair coloring technique, people often get confused with the differences between Balayage hair, ombre hair and highlights.




Balayage Vs Ombre

Ombre is yet another very popular hair color trend. And it is very easy to get confused between the two. But unlike Balayage hair, ombre hair is characterized by a drastic color change towards the hair ends.

If you want to know which is better between Balayage and ombre, check out the differences below.

  • Balayage uses longer hair pieces. Whereas ombre starts below the middle point.
  • Some darker pieces are left towards the end in Balayage but in ombre all ends are affected
  • Ombre is a gradation from dark shade to a lighter one and brings in a drastic in your face color change whereas the goal in Balayage is to achieve blended natural looking hair that look sun kissed.
  • Ombre is made to look like your hair has been dip dyed. Balayage hair on the other hand had a much softer and blended look.
  • Look at ombre as more of a style. Balayage is a hair coloring technique.
  • Since ombre hair is more noticeable, it requires more maintenance as compared to Balayage hair which requires very low maintenance.





Balayage Vs Highlights

Traditionally, the hair was colored with the help of caps and foils until Balayage came on to the scene. It is different from highlighting in the following ways:

  • Highlighting is done with the help of foils whereas hair Balayage is hand painted
  • Highlights are usually stripy. Balayage gives more of a soft blended look with no clear differentiating lines between the colored and non-colored pieces
  • In highlighting sections of hair are saturated from the roots to the ends. Balayage stays on the surface.
  • Highlights need to be touched up again with hair regrowth whereas in Balayage hair, the regrowth has no effect on the color. Everything just blends in smoothly.




Balayage Vs Babylights

Babylights are a toned down version of highlights done with the help of foils. They are very fine and are usually added along with the normal highlights to give depth and dimension to hair. Balayage is a hair coloring technique of its own which is hand painted for a natural seamless look.


Balayage Hair Good Or Not— Its Pros And Cons


  • Unique - Custom blended colors are used for doing Balayage hair. You will have your very own unique hair color which nobody else can possibly have.
  • Natural - There are no differentiating lines which separate the colored and non-colored hair. Balayage is softer and blended which gives a natural sun kissed look to your hair.
  • Low Maintenance - Balayage hair is very low on maintenance. No regular touch ups are needed. All you have to do is keep your hair healthy.
  • Cost Effective - Since Balayage has a natural and blended look, hair regrowth has no effect on it. The newly grown hair blend effortlessly with the existing Balayage hair.
  • Universal - Balayage has a universal appeal. It is suitable for all ages, hair length and hair texture.


  • Does Not Cover Greys - Yes, greys cannot be covered by Balayage. It only helps in blending the grey hair.


Side Effects Of Balayage

Balayage hair will have the same effects on hair as every other color job. In the long run, it will dry out your hair.


Things To Keep In Mind Before Going For Balayage

  • Get a consultation before going for Balayage hair
  • Find the right salon. Choose a trained and experienced colorist. If your colorist is not good, you will end up with botched results.
  • Take your hair inspiration pictures to show your stylist so that he gets an idea about what is it that you want.
  • It might look easy but it is not. This is a technique best left to professionals. Do not try it at home.


What Is Balayage Hair After Care?

  • Use sulfate free hair products.
  • Do a hair mask weekly to maintain hair health
  • Use shampoo and conditioner specially made for colored hair
  • Wash hair with lukewarm water and not hot water


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How much time does Balayage take?

Depending upon your hair length and the amount of hair you want highlighted, the procedure can take anywhere from 10 minutes to up to 3 hours.


Q. How much maintenance is required for Balayage hair?

Balayage hair is very low maintenance. Since it has a softer, blended and natural look, you don’t have to rush out to your salon frequently to get them retouched. The new growth blends in perfectly.


Q. What should be done to maintain and take care of Balayage hair?

Balayage hair is not high on maintenance. You should however make sure your hair look healthy. Balayage looks good when your hair is healthy.


Q. How long does Balayage last?

Balayage hair can last up to 4 months which makes them very cost effective.


Q. Can Balayage be done on curly hair?

Yes, absolutely. Balayage is suitable for all hair types and textures. It works especially well with curly hair as it is easier to paint each curl separately.


Q. Is Balayage done only on long hair?

No, Balayage is suitable for all hair lengths from short bobs to long mermaid-esque hair except very short cuts like pixie.


Q. Can Balayage be done in any color?

The base color of your hair influences the shade for Balayage normally. But, you can get any other colors as well.



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