Balayage VS Highlights What's The Difference?

Partial balayage before and after

Balayage Technique

The term “balayage” comes from the French word “balayage,” which means “to sweep.” Highlights are hand-painted or “swept” on the surface of random sections of hair in this hair color technique. Paint on the dye or lightener from the midshaft to the ends, becoming denser as it moves down the section of hair. The effect is a natural sun-kissed glow that is not as strictly patterned as normal highlights because the color is swept onto the surface of the hair.

Balayage is not a look in and of itself, contrary to popular belief. It’s a technique in which highlights are added without the use of foil, as in traditional highlights. It’s frequently compared to the ombre style’s natural effect. Balayage vs Ombre

Balayage can be used as a full balayage throughout your hair to give you a lighter look all over without having to deal with the inevitable root growth that comes with other lightening methods. It’s also possible to do a partial or mini balayage, such as just around your face or the top of your head. Full Balayage vs Partial Balayage

Balayage highlights are a few shades lighter than your base color, giving your hair a natural depth and dimension. Balayage is easy to maintain with the right products and techniques because it blends in so well with your natural color.

Highlights before and after

Highlighting Technique

Traditional highlighting: This is the more traditional method of lightening and adding depth to your hair. Highlights are created by saturating precise strands of hair from root to tip with aluminum foil for a more intense lightening effect. Hair strands are precisely sectioned out using this technique, which involves weaving a pick through small subsections and wrapping the separated strands in aluminum foil.

What is the result? A stronger contrast between the lightened strands and your base color that frames your face and gives your mane dimension. Highlights have a more structured pattern and will require more frequent touch-ups to avoid the root grow-out look.

Babylights: Babylights are essentially mini-highlights. They are weaved super thin and smaller gaps are left between foils to create a more natural blend with the base color. They do not necessarily create dramatic dimension but more of a subtle sun-kissed look. Babylights in Houston

Lowlights: Lowlights are similar to highlights, but they add dimension to the hair by weaving a darker color through selected strands. Lowlights are typically used when a client has had highlights for a long time and the hair color has lost depth. A lift or lightening process will never result in lowlights.

Balayage or Highlights?

One of the main questions we get at our salon is what color service would be best for me? The difference between these two hair-lightening effects is subtle, and it all comes down to technique. To make things easier, we gathered some information to help you figure out which service would be best for you based on your desired end results. We’ll go over the differences between balayage and highlights so you can decide which color technique to use to achieve your desired look.

What's the Difference Between Balayage and Highlights?

When it comes to balayage vs. highlights, it all boils down to personal preference. Balayage adds a natural, sunlit dimension to your hair, giving it that “I just got back from the beach” vibe that makes girls all over the world swoon. If you want a more structured, tonal look, traditional foil highlights are the way to go. Both options, on the other hand, will help you add dimension to your hair. This diagram explains the differences between balayage and highlights so you can determine which is best for your hair.


Balayage Technique:

  • Painted on without foil around the hair strands
  • Lightening gets gradually denser as you move down so that the tips of the hair are the lightest

Balayage Results:

  • Blends seamlessly into your natural hair color
    Creates the effect of a sun-kissed glow
  • New color is usually just a few shades lighter than your natural hair

Balayage Maintenance:

  • Lasts longer than regular highlights because of the seamless transition
  • Can go many months without needing a touch-up. How long does balayage last?


Highlights Technique:

  • Aluminum foil wrapped around hair and dye is painted on more precisely
  • Hair is evenly saturated from root to tip

Highlights Results:

  • Pronounced contrast between lighter highlights and darker natural hair
  • More structured pattern of lightened hair

Highlights Maintenance:

  • Generally lasts only a couple of months before root color starts to show
  • Greater contrast in color means a little bit ore maintenance.

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