While it may sound slightly intimidating, silver balayage is actually a standard hue and technique subtly used in blonde hairstyles all the time to add extra dimension and light. (So subtle, in fact, that you probably never even noticed). It can be bold or daring, too—more on those examples later.
Most importantly, silver balayage works on all hair types—the balayage color technique, in fact, has always been popular for curly, coily, sleek hair and beyond, because the dark-to-light effect is easy to wear and maintain.
"Balayage is a technique, not a color," notes expert master colorist Lauren Paglionico. "To achieve silver, it’s best to highlight the hair using foils. Another way to achieve silver is with a double process application. This is when the bleach is applied directly to your scalp."
Meet the Expert
Below, find 30 silver balayage hairstyles that are as good as gold.
Silver Balayage Hair
CHOOSING A SHADE: To get the ashy-silver look, a dark-hair base is perfect, so you might have to dye your hair darker to start. For an icier final product, light hair is preferred here, which might involve bleaching beforehand.
MAINTENANCE LEVEL: Silver hair can fade fast, so monthly touch-ups (or, alternatively, every six weeks) are usually ideal. And it's always a good idea to use color-safe shampoo and conditioner.
SIMILAR SHADES: Titanium
PRICE: Depending on where you get this done, you can expect to pay around $150–$300 for balayage, and potentially more if bleaching or dyeing beforehand is necessary.
Natural brunette? Keep your traditional brown for your roots, while "smoking out" your cascading ends (in traditional balayage fashion) for a super-cool, silvery masterpiece.
Steel the Deal
If you're set on a hue that might be difficult to achieve—in this case, the client had been dyeing her locks black for years—hair extensions can be your very best friend. Here, the silvery-steel-colored wefts blend in perfectly.
Ice, Ice, Baby
Make a statement with striking allover silver—and a balayage that gets icier and lighter towards your ends. Silver tones work best on hair that is natural with no existing hair color, Paglionico notes.
You don't have to dive right into something daring. Keep things subtle, like with this mushroom brown blended with silver balayage.
Ready for an update that won't affect your hair care routine too drastically? Take your usual blonde to the next level with simple silvery highlights combined with multifaceted lowlights.
Cool All Over
Keep things cool all over. This style combines a warm base color with icy silver babylights throughout for a look that's balanced, bold, and unexpected.
A blonde hue combined with silver babylights makes for a multifaceted, not-quite-platinum color we just can't put our finger on. And we're obsessed.
Planning to make the chop? We have a soft spot for tousled, layered short styles to begin with—especially when there's silver involved. This look is all the inspiration we need to ask for a balayage bob next time we're at the salon.
This silver afro is what natural hair dreams are made of. If you look closely, a reverse ombré technique appears to be at work.
A mixed blend of natural-looking highlights and subtle silver ones creates a multifaceted, flattering color on just about anyone.
If you want to go all out—go big or go home, as they say—may we suggest a silvery ombré situation with different hints of blue on the mid-shaft? The striking color of the roots complements the icy vibes perfectly, too.
Ashy blonde combined with hints of icy silver creates a striking effect on these voluminous curls.
Dark to Light
Turn all the heads with a contrasting silver ombré—the dark-to-light effect is striking and gorgeous. (Especially with those tousled, touchable layers.)
Take a platinum—or otherwise blonde—'do up a notch with silver balayage ends, and dark, smudged roots for extra contrast and edge. According to Rivera, this process works best on a person with light blonde hair because they do not have to undergo an extensive pre-lightening process. "Every shade other than a light blonde must be pre-lightened," she says.
A barely noticeable balayage with faint silver strands is a subtle, effortless way to switch things up. Get ready for lots of, "Something's different about your hair, but I can't quite place it."
Silver looks best with neutral and cool undertones or fair and olive skin tones. "The contrast of silver with your skin will make your eyes pop no matter what color they are!" says Paglionico.
Meet a silver balayage that you can't even tell is silver. This ashy brown only has hints of silver ends—which makes for a wearable, practical, final result that still feels fresh.
This soft 'do was done in just one sitting—on hair that had never been dyed before—and the combination of silver-blonde balayage and face-framing layers is giving us major hair envy.
Short & Sweet
Keep things short and sweet with a soft long bob with chic, silver-hued layers.
The only thing more striking than this color is the ultra-blunt ends. (How satisfying is this?) Proof that a super-blunt cut will make a cool shade shine even more.
Subtle Silver Curls
Lighten an ashy blonde mix up with just a subtle hint of silver for a soft final look with tons of depth.
Extra Smoky Bob
Rather than jarring, this deep yet soft, smoky shade is totally practical—and it's the perfect example of an ashy silver balayage coming to life in a wearable way.
Give a dark, natural brunette some extra depth with a subtle hint of silver balayage on the ends.
With almost three colors at work here (dark brown, ashy brown, and silvery ends), this wavy, effortless silver-balayage situation is definitely compelling us to make the cut.
Of course, silver isn't the only metallic shade you can wear on your hair. "You can combine silver with any pastel color. It also looks stunning with champagne or pearl blonde tones," says Paglionico.
This melted look combines shades of quartz and amethyst, too, for an eye-catching, gemstone-inspired final product.
Feeling a little intimidated? It's okay to ease into it. Rather than painting every strand silver, go for the strategically placed highlight route instead, and get an equally edgy look (with less commitment), like this gorgeous curly style.
Natural brunettes, this trend was made for you. A silver balayage blended perfectly into your natural hues will make for a low-maintenance look you'll be happy to occasionally touch up (or just let grow out).
Make your new metallic hue pop with face-framing highlights that cascade into a silvery-brunette hue on your shafts and ends. The contrast between the natural roots and the front highlights just makes 'em stand out even more.
Smudged roots, blonde shafts, and silvery ends? Sign us up any day of the week. The perfect beach waves are just the cherry on top (which you can replicate with our best tips here).
The perfect way to take a dyed blonde 'do up a notch? Say "hello" to subtle hints of silver. Rivera cautions clients to seek out a colorist with the required knowledge of chemicals, as well as the appropriate technique required to achieve a gorgeous balayage.
"Your stylist can ensure that any pre-lightening that is required is achieved correctly utilizing the appropriate formulas and processing times that will minimize damage to the hair," she says. "A professional also will have the skill set to formulate the perfect shade of silver that you are seeking. This is especially important if you want to create special tones like gray."