There's no hair color more popular or 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." And blonde balayage, in particular, is a favorite for the warmer seasons of the year (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. To prove it to you, we rounded up our favorite examples of blonde balayage hair color, below.
Meet the Expert
- Janna Velasquez is a hair stylist at Bomane Salon in Beverly Hills.
- Erica Conan is the director of education at ColorProof.
Balayage Blonde Hair
Choosing a Shade: Talk with your stylist. "They will help you choose a blonde tone that not only complements your complexion, but also base your balayage color choice on how much maintenance you can commit to, how often you will need to retouch, and color-care products for your at-home regimen," says Erica Conan, director of education at ColorProof.
Maintenance Level: Anywhere from low to high. Balayage is "completely customized to your hair needs and overall goals," which will impact the frequency of salon visits, says Conan.
Goes Great With: Natural blonde hair, warm skin tones
Similar Shades: Dirty blonde, blonde ombré, dark blonde, brunette with blonde highlights
Price: "On average, expect a starting price around $160 for an all-over balayage, or some places charge around $25 'per piece' for enhancement balayage," notes Conan.
If you're feeling inspired to brighten up your strands, then keep scrolling to discover 30 blonde balayage hair color ideas before booking your appointment.
Long and Sun-Kissed
"Balayage is a freehand painting technique, usually focusing on the top layer of hair, resulting in a more natural and dimensional approach to highlighting," says stylist Janna Velasquez of Bomane Salon in Beverly Hills. Case in point: Ciara's long, sun-kissed hair, which starts out as chestnut at the roots and slowly transforms to yellow-blonde at the ends.
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 color is seamless and accentuates her bold brows.
Dramatic Honey Blonde
We love actress Zendaya's blonde pixie, which calls to mind a 1990s chop. Her eyebrow color matches the bronde tones at her roots, giving the entire look a natural effect.
Rez proves that one of the best colors to accompany a choppy lob is blonde balayage. The waves add texture and volume, mimicking the glorious effect of salt water on the hair.
Cool-Toned and Texturized
If you're trying to avoid any warm tones, draw inspiration from this cool blonde masterpiece. The cool undertones help keep the overall shade from skewing too brassy. Plus, it's lower maintenance.
The closer your base color is to your natural hair, the less often you'll need touch-ups. "You can pair your balayage with other color techniques to help stretch your salon visits," notes Conan. "Talk to your stylist about shadow or smudge roots as a possible option for you."
Light and Lifted
Rez also counts Riverdale actor Lili Reinhart as a client, and, 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 a red-carpet event, her color is always perfectly glossy and melded.
Beyoncé proves that blonde balayage can work for darker hair, too. Here, the diva's continuous blonde highlights provide contrast to the chestnut color at her roots while accentuating her bouncy waves.
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.
"Melty" and Mussy
Garrison's Instagram caption described this blonde color better and more succinctly than we ever could. All he wrote was "melty," and it truly captures the magic of this color. The highlights and lowlights blend together so seamlessly, it's difficult to tell where they end and begin (which, in this case, is exactly what you want).
Warm and Bright
Have you ever seen a more Instagram-worthy head of hair before? We haven't. The undulating blonde highlights give the appearance of movement and dimension, even when photographed sitting still.
Jourdan Dunn's hair is another example of dark brown perfectly accented with blonde balayage highlights. It creates a natural-looking bronde color effect that looks so natural, its hard to tell it's been created by an actual colorist.
Janibell, of janibellrosanne.com, wears strawberry-blonde balayage highlights throughout her springy curls. We love the way her hair transitions from dark brown to blonde at the ends (and, yes, we're obsessed with her eyeshadow, too).
With balayage, the results are always natural-looking since the highlights and lowlights intermingle throughout the hair. Here, we are loving how darker roots undulate into an ashy blonde shade.
This look is like a combination of balayage and ombré. Overall, the hair color moves from black to light blonde, but it's woven through with tons of different blonde tones in the middle.
Waist-Length and Wavy
Whether you wear extensions or your hair really is waist-length, this look on J.Lo proves that blonde balayage highlights work on any and all lengths. Note here that extra highlights around the face help to brighten and open up the overall look.
Hairstylist Cherin Choi's dedicated client base includes celebrities like actress Chloe Bennet. Choi had just created this color before this red-carpet event, and we love how the blonde and caramel hues blend together for this warm, toasty look.
Curly and Volumized
Balayage can give the illusion of endless depth. Here, highlights help to brighten the face but they also add interest and the look of layers throughout.
This color meld transitions from cool-toned brown to sandy blonde. The effect serves to accentuate her layers.
We love this softer take on platinum. An icy shade with cool undertones does require a few added visits to the salon, but the variety of shades throughout makes for a more natural look than pure platinum.
Justin Anderson, expert colorist at Nine Zero One Salon in LA, was the mastermind behind Drybar founder Alli Webb's bright blonde balayage. To keep this color bright—and not brassy—invest in a purple shampoo.
Money Piece Highlights
Jamie Chung is on trend with her blonde balayage complete with money piece highlights. And while we love her soft and subtle color, you could also opt for a bolder and brighter shade contrast with this technique, if you wanted to.
If icy blonde is more your style, look no further than this cool-toned creation on model Jasmine Sanders. The darker lowlights under the light blonde hair bring depth to the overall look.
Long and Texturized
Looking for supermodel hair? Take a cue from Heidi Klum. Her long, textured layers and dimensional color are the best of balayage.
Anderson is known to work his magic on many noteworthy celebrities as well, including Kristin Cavallari. This playful high ponytail showcases her darker roots and tumbles into a warm honey blonde.
Just a few small pieces of blonde against a darker base makes for a stark yet understated contrast. Concentrating most of the color at the ends makes for an easier-to-maintain look, too (as the roots stay pretty much the same shade and therefore don't require as much upkeep).
At the 29th Annual SAG Awards, Cara Delevingne exuded elegance. While balayage is often associated with cool and casual looks, this chic sombré style demonstrates its versatility.
Blink and you'll miss all the variations in this gorgeous buttery blonde hue. The overall base is blonde, but a few darker (and lighter) alternating shades throughout create added depth and interest.
Margot Robbie stunned at the UK premiere of Babylon with a face-framing updo that highlighted her balayage blonde color. To keep color-treated hair healthy, Conan recommends investing in "healing products."
Undone Honey Blonde
When we see this hair color, one word, and one word only, comes to mind: sun-kissed. We love how the light pieces frame her face at the front, and that a mix of different tones work together to create one cohesive look.
Jaws dropped when Halle Berry showed up to the 2017 Oscars with this mesmerizing bob. Although its defined curls and tantalizing volume gave it an instant wow factor, it was its balayage blonde color, which created dimension and contrast, that took it to the next level.