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." The results are always natural-looking since the highlights and lowlights intermingle throughout the hair.
As stylist Janna Velasquez of Bomane Salon in Beverly Hills puts 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."
Meet the Expert
- Janna Velasquez is a hair stylist at Bomane Salon in Beverly Hills.
- Erica Conan is the director of education at ColorProof.
Blonde balayage is a particular 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.
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
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 25 examples of blonde balayage before booking your appointment.
Long, Sun-Kissed Balayage Blonde
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.
Short Blonde Balayage
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.
Choppy Balayage Blonde
Rez proves that one of the best colors to accompany a choppy lob is dark blonde balayage. The waves add texture and volume, mimicking the glorious effect of salt water on the hair.
Cool-Toned Balayage Blonde
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."
Subtle Balayage Blonde
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.
Dark Balayage Blonde
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.
Balayage Blonde Melt
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).
Ultra-Dimensional Balayage Blonde
Have you ever seen a more Instagram-worthy head 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.
Strawberry Blonde Balayage
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 in this picture).
Ashy Blonde Balayage
We love how these darker roots undulate into an ashy blonde shade.
Grown-Out Blonde Balayage
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.
Cool Sandy Blonde Balayage
This color meld transitions from cool-toned brown to sandy blonde. We love how it accentuates her layers.
Platinum Blonde Balayage
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.
Warm Blonde 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.
Waist-Length Balayage Blonde
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.
Honey Blonde Balayage
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.
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.
Volumizing Blonde Balayage
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.
Aftercare is just as important as what goes on in the salon chair. Conan recommends investing in "healing products" like ColorProof's Baobab Heal & Repair JetSet ($36) to restore hair health after a balayage treatment.
Baby Blonde Balayage
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).
Butter Blonde Balayage
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.
Ice Blonde Balayage
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.