For Ess, “babylights” and “balayage” are both examples of highlights. “They’re just two distinct ways to bring attention to something. The foils used in babylights are not used in the balayage technique, which is painted on and either air dried or processed under plastic.” In agreement with this point of view, Chicago-based colorist Lorena M. Valdes of Maxine Salon emphasizes the fact that babylights produce significantly thinner highlights than balayage.

Moreover, “with babylights, you wouldn’t be able to obtain the ribbons and pops of color,” she explains, highlighting a significant distinction. Adding babylights to the hair as a means of creating contrast is uncommon. Instead, they bring out the color of the background as a whole.

Mark DeBolt, the co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon in New York City, explains how a natural brunette with dark brown hair can achieve a medium brown by having babylights inserted throughout. The weave and placement of the highlights make the entire color appear lighter.

What is balayage?

Balayage Vs Babylights: What's the Difference: Guide to Know

I am sure you have heard of some of the many fashionable hair coloring terms. However, there are so many different phrases that it may be incredibly perplexing to know what each one implies and tough to arrange a hair appointment not knowing what to ask for.

Let’s take a look at some instances of popular hair coloring treatments, including balayage, babylights, color melting, root shadowing, foil highlights, and more, to discover what the differences are. Expert in Balayage and blonde highlights The French developed the balayage process of painting hair in the 1970s. It is a freehand highlighting that focuses the lightest color on the ends of your hair.

Your natural color will be at the roots, and highlights will be gently blended in, moving downward. To achieve the look of having spent time in the summer sun, balayage is the way to go. Because the highlights are thicker and less symmetrical than usual, the style comes off as more laid-back.

What is babylights? 

The French origins of the balayage technique may be traced back to the 1970s, and it is a freehand painting method of adding highlights. The French word balayage describes the broad, sweeping strokes a hair colorist uses to create the balayage effect. In balayage, the ends of your hair, rather than the roots, absorb the most light.

You’ll see a lighter hue that builds in intensity as you make your way down the strands. Your natural hair color is hidden, and just the tips of the strands are highlighted. Tiny spotlights are called babylights. Their name comes from the fact that they are similar to the natural highlights seen in the hair of youngsters, where the hair is lighter at the roots and the ends.

Contrary to balayage, babylights are not painted freehand. Instead, foils are used, just like with standard highlights. Babylights, on the other hand, use small, closely-spaced bits of hair. This method makes it simple to blend in babylights with your original hair color.

What is the difference between balayage and babylights? 

Many visitors to The Chapel are curious about the latest hair trends, particularly baby lights and balayage. Although both methods have their uses in hair coloring and styling, we adopt a more tailored approach by combining methods to achieve the precise results you desire. Every person has the right to receive the best care possible, and that includes having their color matched perfectly to them.

In this article, however, we will shed light on two particular methods utilized by our stylists. With this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared for the journey our brilliant creatives will lead you on. Balayage, which literally means “to sweep” in French, is a freehand method of applying hair color. The stylist will consider the hair’s natural fall and utilize a range of techniques to apply feathery, subtle color that gradually fades into a lighter shade at the tips. 

To “paint” hair with color, our stylists use a wide variety of brushes, palettes, and sponges. Do not imagine that this is a simple at-home coloring service; the stylist will spend significant time and effort making sure the highlights are placed in the best possible way to complement your hair and face.

Here at The Chapel, our professional colorists will use balayage-inspired techniques to give your hair a subtle, multidimensional color. Balayage is just one aspect of a process that they will customize for you based on your beginning color, hair thickness, and desired mood.

What are the pros and cons of balayage?

Highlights vs. balayage: which is better and why? Your stylist has probably attempted to get you to make the switch from full highlights to balayage if you’re a true blue full highlight girl. In any case, if you have questions regarding this painting method and aren’t sure if it’s right for you, we’ve got the answers.

We sought advice from balayage experts to find out how this technique compares to the more conventional foiled highlights. In contrast to balayage, which gradually lightens the hair from root to tip, foil lightens the hair uniformly throughout, as explained by Ryan Pearl, a colorist at New York’s Cutler Salon.

1. Consequences of all this work

Ryan explains, “A ‘foil high’ will give you a uniform and patterned style, while a balayage treatment will give you a more improvised and natural one.” Nikki says, “I have more control when I paint in the foil, and I can also decide exactly how light or dark I want the blonde to be.”

This is particularly helpful if you want a uniformly blonde appearance. The effect of conventional highlights is to make the hair and skin appear lighter. As a consequence of the balayage process, my hair is lighter at the ends and darker at the root, which I adore.

When asked for her opinion, Jessica said, “If you’re more into an overall blonder appearance or all-over highlights, I will opt for the foils because balayage often won’t go as blonde as foils.”

2. Finding the best course of action

Nikki advises, “If you’re an effortless beauty or slightly edgy girl, I would prefer balayage, having your ends pop brighter. If you are the conventional type of girl, I would recommend foils to give you a uniformly bright appearance. Chrissy suggests thinking about your specific hair type.

The technique is more adaptable to each individual’s hair type. I think balayage looks best on virgin hair. Forty to fifty clients a day come to Habit Salon asking us to remove brass from their hair. If you ask me, the foliage method is the most effective way to get the “it” appearance.

3. The ryan pearl cutler salon

According to Ryan, “the colorist must be aware of the processing time required to maintain the healthy state of the hair and the intended end result during each step, whether it be foiled highlights or balayage.”

As Nikki puts it, “When you do traditional highlights, you are normally only lightening the new growth, but when you balayage, you continue to lighten the already-lightened hair, so it is more prone to become damaged.”

Hair can be lifted using either method with minimal harm; Ryan adds, “That’s why it’s crucially necessary to consult a professional colorist, someone that can guide you safely to beautiful hair color that doesn’t leave your hair damaged.”

What are the pros and cons of babylights?

Balayage Vs Babylights: What's the Difference: Guide to Know

When coloring your hair, your stylist may use one of the numerous methods. Highlights can be used to bring out the natural color of your hair, lowlights can be used to add depth, and balayage can be used to produce a stunning, multi-toned look. Babylights are the unsung hero of any natural-looking color job, but we want to give them some recognition right now.

Babylights, or subtle highlights spread evenly in the hair, will dramatically improve the shine of your dye job. They are striking yet understated and can easily be mistaken for a high-quality natural hair dye. These minuscule highlights have a pattern similar to a child’s that is brightest at the top and the tips.

1. Maintaining your babylights

The good news is that babylights require nothing in the way of upkeep. When compared to a standard or chunky highlight, “they can grow out a bit more flawlessly,” as explained by Ess. You can go longer between touch-ups with babylights because there is no harsh demarcation line or apparent regrowth.

“Many of my clients come to me twice a year, while others come every six to eight weeks. The choice is entirely up to you, “what she has to say. The longevity of the dye job is entirely contingent upon the babylights and the rest of the hair.

Valdes warns that increased contrast will necessitate more frequent upkeep because of its visual appeal. Hazan advises using color-safe shampoo and conditioner in between salon visits to preserve the vibrancy of babylights. The use of a hair gloss is also quite effective in preventing the color from fading.

2. Who should use baby lights

According to Valdes, “those who don’t like the size of typical highlights” can benefit from babylights because the color is more easily seen on straight hair than on wavy or curly hair. Rita Hazan, proprietor of the Rita Hazan Salon in New York City and a colorist, chimes in as well, “Babylights are most effective when applied to fine hair since they are a subtle method that [delivers] a significant effect.

Hair that is thicker and coarser needs a more intense highlight to be noticeable.” Further, babylights typically do less damage than other coloring methods. Why? “For the simple reason, that processing time decreases as the thickness of the portion inside the foil increases.

In other words, the bleach isn’t on your hair for as long as it would be if it were thicker, “notes Ess. And that’s not all the good news for those with fine hair: They give the appearance of thickness and depth when applied to the crown and hairline while leaving the sides and back of the hair a slightly darker shade.

3. Where do babylights diverge from traditional highlights, lowlights, and balayage

Highlights come in many forms, and Ess says that “babylights” and “balayage” are two of the most popular. “Both are forms of emphasis, but they are distinct. Balayage is painted on and then processed in open air or beneath the plastic, whereas babylights use foils.” The highlights produced by babylights are noticeably thinner than those produced by balayage, as pointed out by Lorena M. Valdes, a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.

A second major distinction, she says, is that “with babylights, you wouldn’t be able to obtain the ribbons and pops of color.” Contrast is rarely achieved by placing babylights in the hair. Instead, they serve to highlight the underlying hue. Mark DeBolt, the co-founder of the Mark Ryan Salon in New York City, explains how a natural brunette with dark brown hair may achieve a medium brown by having babylights inserted throughout.

The subtle weaving and tight placement of the highlights provide the impression of a lighter hue across the board. On the other side, lowlights are the antithesis of high points. They don’t use bleach to lighten the hair but rather dye it darker to give it more dimension.

Babylights vs Balayage; how to choose which one is better for you?

Balayage Vs Babylights: What's the Difference: Guide to Know

Hair color techniques such as balayage, highlights, babylights, and lowlights can be overwhelming. Samantha: Traditional highlights are when portions of hair are weaved and lightened from the root through to the ends, leaving some natural hair in between. To avoid a streaky appearance when highlighting the hair, particular sectioning techniques are used.

Folding the weaved hair into foils is a common practice for separating it from the rest of the head. Matt: For the classic highlighting technique, only a small portion of hair is taken and carefully braided to create strands of varying lengths and colors. In order to lighten their hair, most people lay them over a foil and apply a lightning product. Because the hair being highlighted is woven into the foil and/or wrapping process, it will seem lighter than the unprocessed hair.

Matt: Balayage is a method (NOT A LOOK) where color is applied onto a specific strand(s) or lock of hair without foils. This method, which creates a warmer color result, is ideal for dark blonde base colors. In extremely sunny conditions, Balayage will maintain its simulated natural lift for the client’s hair.

Samantha: Balayage is a freehand painting method that yields a remarkably blended, multi-toned, and sun-kissed finished result. Application is totally unique, beginning with extremely small pieces at the crown and progressing to thicker ones at the mid-lengths and ends.

How can babylights and balayage transform your look?

A person’s haircut is one of the first things they will notice about you. So much can be learned about a person based on their hairstyle and general appearance. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that we are always experimenting with various hairstyles and products to achieve our ideal look in terms of length, color, and maintenance. Hair lightening is a popular choice for maintaining a modern look.

There are numerous hair-lightening styles and methods available, making it difficult to choose which is ideal for our hair. If you want to update your look but are unsure of how to go about bleaching your hair, your search is over. The four most common methods of hair lightening—balayage, ombré, highlights, and babylights—will be discussed below. We’ll go through the specifics of each method, from how it’s executed to the questions you should be sure to ask your stylist before requesting it. 

Therefore, let’s not waste any more time and get started right away! For a number of years now, balayage has been one of the most talked-about hair trends among stylists. While the term “balayage” is often used interchangeably with “hair color,” it really refers to a coloring and lightening method used by professional hairstylists to create the appearance of subtle color transitions and shading.

Watch Watch This Before Getting Highlights | Video

People also ask questions and answers related to the balayage vs babylights

Which is more superior, Babylights or Balayage?

Even though both balayage and babylights result in subtle yet attractive changes, the latter will turn your hair a lighter shade of blonde. To be clear, Babylights are applied using foils much like conventional highlights. However, the patches of hair to be colored are much smaller, and the intervals between them are much closer.

When comparing Balayage to Babylights, what are the main distinctions?

Highlights come in many forms, and Ess says that “babylights” and “balayage” are two of the most popular. “Both are forms of emphasis, but they are distinct. Babylights are done using foils, but balayage is painted on and then air or plastic dried.”

Which, balayage or highlights, is gentler on the hair?

Balayage is more destructive than traditional highlights since it requires a stronger developer and more layers of lightener to get the same effect.

Highlights or Balayage: Which Is Easier to Maintain?

If you don’t want to go to the salon for a touch-up every six to eight weeks, balayage could be the perfect solution for you. The method is subtler than regular coloring, so you can skip the salon less frequently (maybe even once every three or four months) without sacrificing a stunning natural look.

Does Balayage gradually lighten the hair?

The effect of a balayage, which includes lightening certain portions of your hair, is permanent; however, the color may fade slightly after a few months if not cared for properly (see further down for how to get long-lasting bright color).


Although balayage and highlights share many similarities, there is one key distinction between the two. To get the sweeping, natural look achieved by balayage, color or bleach is painted onto strands one by one. Foils are used to gradually brighten discrete portions of hair from the roots to the ends, a process known as highlighting.

The popularity of balayage has made it a highly demanded procedure at many beauty parlors. It’s possible that a balayage technique will offer you a quite different style from what you’re used to if you’ve only ever had foil highlights.

And if you want the classic highlighted style, you can be let down if you want balayage highlights instead. Because of this, it’s important to understand the distinctions between balayage and highlights, how they’re applied, the final looks they produce, the associated costs, and the types of hairstyles most suited to each. You have found the right place if you have been wondering what the difference is between balayage and highlights.

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