There's no hair color more popular for summer (or more highly requested) than balayage. The painterly technique results in a dimensional color that reads "I just came back from a two-month summer vacation spent seaside" and never "I just came back from an appointment with my hair colorist". The results are always natural-looking, as the highlights and lowlights intermingle throughout the hair. As stylist Janna Velasquez of Bomane Salon in Beverly Hills once put it, "balayage is a freehand painting technique, usually focusing on the top layer of hair, resulting in a more natural and dimensional approach to highlighting." (To read more about the actual color technique, click here.)
Blonde balayage is a particular seasonal favorite (especially for people who live on the sun-washed West Coast). It offers a natural-looking way to go blonde—one that's softer and subtler than other trendy blonde shades like golden or platinum blonde. If natural-looking hair color is your thing, and the long summer days are inspiring you to lighten and brighten your strands, then look through these 20 examples of blonde balayage before booking your appointment. We gathered pictures from expert hair colorists, celebrities, and Instagram for every last bit of balayage blonde hair inspiration you'll ever need.
This is one of our all-time favorite looks on Ciara. Her long sun-kissed hair starts out as chestnut at the roots and slowly transforms to yellow blonde at the ends. Perfection.
Matt Rez is an expert hairstylist and colorist at Mèche Salon in Beverly Hills. He has a whole host of celebrity clients like fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni. We love how her hair is equal parts ombré and balayage. The color is seamless and accentuates her bold brows.
We also love actress Eiza González's blonde hair, which Rez was also responsible for. She has naturally dark hair, but you'd never know by looking at this picture.
Rez proves that one of the best colors to accompany a choppy lob is dark blonde balayage.
If you're trying to avoid any warm blonde tones, draw inspiration from this cool-toned masterpiece. Like we said, Rez specializes in this hair coloring technique, which is why so many of our favorite looks on this list come courtesy of his Instagram account.
Rez even counts Riverdale's Lili Reinhart as a client. As we all know, Betty Cooper has some of the best blonde hair in the game. Whether she's promoting her hit show or attending an event as big as the CDFA red carpet, her color is always perfectly glossy and melded.
Raven of helllosunshine proves that blonde balayage can work for dark hair too. The continuous blonde highlights provide contrast to the chestnut color at the roots while accentuating her bouncy curls.
Stephen Garrison is an expert colorist at Roil Salon in Beverly Hills. His Instagram is full of blonde inspiration (blonde-spiration?) like this. We recommend scrolling through before committing to a new color.
Garrison's Instagram caption described this blonde color better and more succinctly than we ever could. All he wrote was "melty".
Have you ever seen a more Instagram-worthy back of a head before? We haven't. The undulating blonde highlights give the appearance of movement and dimension, even when photographed lying still.
Here's another example of dark brown hair perfectly accented with blonde balayage highlights. It creates a natural-looking "bronde" color effect.
Janibell, of janibellrosanne.com, wears blonde balayage highlights throughout her springy curls. We love the way her hair transitions from dark brown to caramel blonde at the ends.
Sure, this looks more ombré than balayage, but it's worth including nonetheless, thanks to the seamless color transition. We love how her dark brown (almost black) hair undulates into an ashy blonde shade. It comes courtesy of Cherin Choi. She's an expert hair colorist and co-owner of Nova Arts Salon.
Here's another one from Choi. She captioned this photo "Grown out and thriving." That's the best part about balayage and ombré hair color. It's extremely low-maintenance compared to other hair color techniques and grows out naturally and beautifully.
Choi is also responsible for this curly-haired color meld that transitions from cool-toned brown to sandy blonde. We love how it accentuates her layers and curly texture.
Justin Anderson is the co-founder of dpHue (the brand that makes the ever-popular Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse, $35). He's also an expert colorist at Nine Zero One Salon in Los Angeles. Here's an example of blonde balayage he did for Alli Webb, the founder of Drybar.
If icy blonde is more your style, look no further than this cool-toned creation by Anderson.
This color is similar to the one above, though ever so slightly more warm-toned.
Whether you wear extensions or your hair really is waist-length, Anderson's work proves that blonde balayage highlights work on any and all lengths.
When we see this hair color one word, and one word only, comes to mind: sunkissed. We love how the light pieces frame her face at the front.
Now that you have some serious blonde balayage hair inspiration, check out the best ways to care for your new color this summer with 17 vegan hair products to hydrate, smooth, and nourish your strands.