How Balayage Is Different From Highlights

How Balayage Is Different From Highlights

Best Temporary Hair Colour That Washes Out Reading How Balayage Is Different From Highlights 6 minutes Next Easy Ways To Cover Your Grey Hair

We’re sure you’re familiar with the hair colouring trends currently taking rounds in the world of fashion. From brilliant global hair colours, money pieces to highlights, balayages and ombre hair colours, the trends are ever changing and fun.

Sometimes people get confused between hair colouring styles. Some even end up assuming that Balayage and Highlights are the same thing! This blog is going to point out the differences between the two. Even though both refer to hair colouring techniques, they are different from each other in many ways.

But before we tell you how they are different, let's first know what exactly the hair colour styles mean.

What is Balayage?


"Balayage is a hair colour technique where we freehand paint the highlights onto the hair. It has a more subtle, blended appearance than a classic highlight. I tend to use a combination of the two techniques on most of my clients. This allows me to achieve a natural look with a little extra lift and brightness." ~Kelsey Moore, Hairstylist.

Balayage (pronounced "baa - lee - ahge") is a French word, literally meaning, "to sweep" or "to paint." It is said to have originated in Paris in the 1970s. As the name suggests, it is a hair colouring technique used to create a more "natural-looking" highlight effect. It gives the hair a perfectly blended look, all the while keeping it subtle and under control. While it does give a softer look to the hair, it also maintains the root colour.

What are Highlights?


"Highlights are simply pieces of hair that are lighter than your natural colour. Highlights are fresh and youthful." ~George Garcia, Hairstylist.

The first Highlighting Technique seems to have originated in Ancient Greece around 4 BC! The modern highlighting techniques, however, were developed in the early 20th century. Traditional highlights refer to changing your hair colour to make it look more brightened. In other words, it is simply streaking your hair with a lighter colour to give it a more dazzling look. Highlights make the hair appear more vivid and intense as compared to Balayage.

Now that we know the meaning of these hair colouring techniques, let's come back to our question- How are they different? Many people mistake Balayage and highlights to be the same thing. However, as mentioned before, it is not. They can be differentiated based on several heads. Also, here were focussing on permanent hair colours mostly. Your experience with permanent hair colours, temporary hair colours, semi permanent hair colours and others would be very different.

1. How it is done

How it is done

Balayage is a visual hand-painted technique. Highlights, on the other hand, cite traditional hair colouring techniques using foils.

2. How it looks on the hair

How it looks on the hair

While Balayage gives a warm look to the hair, highlights provide a more fierce look, in contrast with Balayage.

3. The End Results

The End Results

While both are hair colouring techniques, Balayage gives a more delicate result and makes the hair appear more blended. Whereas highlights simply lift the brightness of the hair, making the highlights stand out.

4. Undertones


Balayage done on darker natural hair colours leaves red undertones. Highlights, however, eliminate the red undertones more efficiently, giving more control over the hair tone.

5. Maintenance and Touch-up

Maintenance and Touch-up

Highlights need to be constantly maintained and taken care of, for they may start to appear dull within a few weeks. Many hairstylists suggest going for a touch-up for highlights every 6-8 weeks.

Balayage, meanwhile, requires little to no maintenance. As for the touch-up, it is recommended to opt for a balayage every 3-4 months.

6. Best Recommended Tones for each

Best Recommended Tones for each

The most recommended tones for balayage are blonde hair colour, brunette, black, dark blue hair colour, caramel, ash blonde hair colour, brown blonde, copper, red hair colour, rose gold, pink, purple hair colour, burgundy hair colour, light brown hair colour, and chocolate brown hair colour.
The best tones for traditional highlights, on the other hand, are bronde (brown + blonde), lit caramel, blended bronde, peacock green, carrot-orange, icy grey, yellow and blue.

7. Types

Curly Hair

Highlights can be of different types, namely Full Highlights, Partial Highlights, Dimensional Highlights, Babylights, lowlights, Peekaboo Highlights, Curly Hair Highlights, and Base colour with Highlights.

8. Cost and Time

Cost and Time

Balayage takes from 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the length of the hair to be coloured. The average cost for balayage starts from Rs 8,000 for full hair coverage (pretty expensive, right?!)

Highlights take approximately 2-3 hours at max. Its cost, in comparison, starts from Rs. 3,000.

Since the mystery between highlights and balayage has been solved, we hope you're not confused anymore. But then there's another question... which one to choose for the best hair colour of your choice?! Don't worry, for we got your back! Read on to know more about which one is best suited for you.

Which one to choose- Balayage or Highlights?

Even though Balayage is expensive, it is a one-time expense. Plus, you have to go for a touch-up only like twice or thrice a year! So, If you wish to give your hair a more subtle, simple yet perfectly blended look, go for Balayage.

Highlights need a lot of time and money, as you have to go for a touch-up every 6 to 8 weeks. Hence, if your schedule allows it and if you want to deliver a stronger and brighter look to your hair, go for traditional highlights!

If you’re one of those people who are not fond of long term commitments with these hair colour styles, give temporary hair colours a shot. You can apply them whenever you feel like and wash off in one shampoo. Temporary hair colours are for instant outings. The convenience that comes with temporary hair colouring is impressive. So, make your hair colour choices brilliantly!




Disclaimer: All the content on is solely for information. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health care provider. The information, suggestion or remedies mentioned on this site are provided without warranty of any kind, whether express or implied.

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