We've already rounded up our favorite blonde balayage looks for summer (and beyond) then we moved on to a slightly different color technique and put together a list of our favorite brown ombré looks. What's the difference between balayage and ombré, you ask? Ombré hair starts off dark and transitions to a lighter shade at the ends. Balayage, on the other hand, is characterized by intermittent highlights dispersed throughout the hair, almost like subtle strokes of paint.
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." Basically, they may look somewhat similar, but not the same.
Choosing a Shade: It's a good idea to keep your base shade close to your natural color and to not go too light with highlights for less up-keep.
Maintenance Level: Low. Since the base shade is usually in the brunette or dark blonde family, you shouldn't have to worry too much about grow-out.
Goes Great With: All complexions and undertones. This look can easily be customized to work for anyone.
Similar Shades: Ombré, tiger's eye
Price: Depends on how many highlights required to get the desired look.
Keep scrolling to see 25 absolutely stunning examples that will make you want to call your colorist immediately.
Creamy Blonde Highlights
Nikki Lee is an expert colorist in Los Angeles and co-owner of Nine Zero One Salon. Just take a simple scroll through her Instagram to see some ultimate balayage inspiration, like the image above.
Ask your colorist for creamy blonde highlights that gradually go up to your dark brown roots. This intermingling will give a dimensional and summery effect.
This balayage look, also by Lee, is equal parts brown and blonde (let's call it bronde then, yes?). The highlights are perfectly placed in a natural-looking and sun-kissed pattern.
Sun-kissed balayage is the best on this brunette beauty. Celebrity master hairstylist Justin Anderson's color gives us all the feels.
Honey-toned balayage created by Eva Lam gives this brunette a sweet pick-me-up that perfectly flatters her natural color.
Here's the deepest brown shade we've seen yet. Lee kept the roots dark brown (so brown that they almost look black) before expertly painting subtle highlights down through the mid-lengths and ends. If you're not big on a lot of contrast or bold highlights, then this soft look is for you.
Bronzed and Bouncy
Raven from Helllo Sunshine shows us how bronzed balayage (and bouncy, natural texture) is done. There's not much to say about this look other than the fact that her hair looks fresh, modern, and healthy. We don't know about you, but we want our hair to inspire those very same adjectives.
L.A. balayage specialist Christine Silverman makes the whole process look effortless, as the color waves in the most natural way throughout her locks from top to bottom.
Highlights and Lowlights
If you want a bolder color contrast between the lowlights and highlights in your hair, take heed of this look. A base of dark brown accentuates the golden blonde streaks.
Johnny Ramirez is an expert colorist based in Los Angeles. He's also the co-founder of the ever-buzzy Ramirez Tran Salon. Though his Instagram is filled to the brim with amazing hair color inspo, we took a special liking to this rich brown balayage. It's so glossy and golden, it almost appears to emit its own light.
Balayage never fails to make hair look healthy and naturally voluminous, as demonstrated here with this flawless blend of brown and blonde tones.
Balayage suits just about all hair textures. Whether you have fine, thick, curly, straight, or wavy hair, a few well-placed highlights are sure to do the trick.
Matt Rez is an expert colorist at Mèche in Los Angeles. His is another Instagram feed we classify as a "must-follow." He excels at creating gorgeous balayage hair color, and while there were many images we could have included, we chose this one since it demonstrates one of the best things about balayage hair—its effortlessness. This photo was taken after four months of grow-out, yet the color still looks perfectly blended. That's just another reason we love balayage hair so much. It's incredibly low maintenance.