In the past, when highlights were the only option, we would sometimes use a hat and a crochet needle to apply them. Hairstylists’ and customers’ vocabularies have expanded to include terms like “ombre,” “somber,” and “balayage” for newly popular hair color techniques.

Because of this, customers frequently visit the salon requesting a wide variety of services. However, I wonder how many of them can tell the difference between a Highlight and a Balayage. Since the vast majority of people do not know the difference, I will explain it here so that you can confidently inform your stylist. Halifax’s Anthony James hair salon they do a mean job of highlighting. When visiting a hair salon, some customers may request that their hair be streaked. 

Streaks are large swaths of blonde dye applied to black hair, whereas highlights are applied to smaller parts of hair and are lighter than your natural color (or we can add color in between the highlights in some circumstances). Highlights are a sign of femininity, and most women who wear them are blonde.

It’s not like that at all. Highlights are simple colors that are one or more shades lighter than the rest of your hair. In conclusion, the method of highlighting is more important than the color chosen for it. The process of getting highlights entails having your hair foil-tied in various places around your head and then having your entire mane colored. The foils insulate the room, which is essential for getting the highlights just so.

What is balayage?

You’ve found the ideal site if you want to dye your hair but can’t decide between balayage and highlights. The balayage vs. highlights question will be addressed in detail. By sweeping a color through sections of hair, balayage creates a natural, ombré effect. In contrast, highlight techniques necessitate the use of aluminum foil to hold the hair part in place.

Contrasted with balayage, it creates a striking appearance. If you want to learn more about them, keep reading. It’s also possible to highlight hair using the balayage method. To be sure, balayage is similar to conventional foil highlights, but there are some key distinctions.

In the following sections, we’ll delve even further into those distinctions. The French term “balayer,” which means “to sweep,” is where we get our word “balayage.” Balayage is a freehand painting method used to get a perfectly blended, subtle, and warm sun-kissed color on the hair. There is a departure from the standard method of applying highlights when applying this hue.

What are highlights? 

Highlights are the best method to bring out the best in your natural hair color, whether you want a subtle, sun-kissed look or a dramatic, eye-catching change. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to this coloring method to help you determine which approach will work best for you.

Consider this a crash course in “Highlights,” covering everything from the available options to what to ask your colorist for to how to preserve your results at home. It’s time to start the lesson. Redken artist George Garcia defines highlights as “parts of the hair that are lighter than your normal color.” A brown base allows for a wide range of lighter brown highlights or even blonde highlights.

Lighter blonde tones are used to create blonde highlights. There are also various methods of highlighting, which are worth mentioning. George notes that foils have traditionally been used to separate sections of hair in different shapes and patterns to create a contrast that is either very dramatic or very delicate. Balayage is a more recent technique in which highlights are painted by hand onto smaller, more random sections of hair, creating a more natural appearance.

Should you get balayage or foil highlights?

Two methods of adding highlights to your hair, foil highlights, and balayage, are currently in vogue (also known as hair painting). Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, which are determined by the desired end result. Fortunately, many hairstylists and colorists are trained in both methods, so they can advise you on which will work best to realize your vision.

Still, looking for guidance in making your choice? We’ve compiled expert advice to help you decide between foil highlights and balayage. Originally, Phenix Salon Suites was created by Gina Rivera. She also developed the By Gina hair care line and the Colours by Gina cosmetics brand. Celebrity clients, including Victoria Beckham, Miranda Kerr, and Caroline Vreeland, rely on Reece Walker, a stylist, colorist, and extension specialist who works on both coasts.

What are the differences between balayage and highlights? 

The French word “to paint” is the inspiration for the revolutionary hair coloring procedure known as balayage. Before the invention of balayage hair color, women would spend hours in the salon chair with their heads weighed down by aluminum foils while they slowly drifted off to sleep.

But after the method caught on among stylists and A-listers, it became one of the most sought-after coloring processes of all time. Why? Simply said, it gives your hair a sun-kissed appearance that’s completely natural.

Coloring is done with a brush using a freehand technique, with the hairstylist relying solely on intuition to choose where to place the color and how to blend it with other shades. The technique has been around since the 1970s when it was developed by French colorists, but it still has a lot of potential for trendy young women today.

1. How does balayage vary from highlights

Balayage may resemble highlights, but it’s actually quite different. Balayage is more freeform and does not require any sectioning of hair, unlike traditional highlights, which are made by wrapping small pieces of hair in foil or meche.

This is the primary reason why, on you, highlights end up looking like bold stripes rather than the subtler, more natural-looking balayage effect. With balayage, your stylist has greater leeway to play around with the application of color, which results in a beautifully framed face.

2. How many distinct balayage techniques are there

Although balayage has been around for a long time, there has been a lot of development in the classic shades and styles, such as ash blonde and caramel. The 3-D balayage technique, for instance, can provide depth to a color fill if you do not like the flat look. Two colors, one slightly darker than the other, are used to create the impression of a continuous gradient.

By creating deeper shadows in your hair, this method makes your mane appear fuller and thicker than it would with natural growth. The balayage hair coloring technique has also seen a steady stream of new fashions. The smokey gold balayage, in which ash and espresso tones are concentrated on the face-framing tendrils in the front and the ends of your hair, is a popular style right now.

One of the more lavish balayage styles we’ve seen in a while, thanks to the glossy finish and perfect color blending. It’s important to find a skilled hairstylist who can advise you on the best balayage technique for your hair because the technique is always evolving and new variations, such as reverse balayage, are available.

3. When it comes to balayage, what is the proper technique to use

Just how should balayage be executed? When checking the quality of a balayage, there are a few indicators to look for. The following are some warning signs to keep in mind: Hairpieces used for balayage should be close together, with a lighter base color at the roots and a darker, more pronounced finish at the ends.

Color used for balayage should be applied only to the surface of the hair in strategic areas. There shouldn’t be any orange or brassy undertones in color, and it should have a mellow, lifted appearance. For this, you’ll need to use consumables of suitable quality and execute at just the appropriate moment. Uneven balayage results from the lifting/bleaching process, as the color transitions should be continuous.

Don’t worry if your balayage fails; it can usually be restored with some color correction. A specialist may evaluate the damage and recommend the best course of action, which may include anything from a root melt to a toning shampoo that will either lighten or darken the color.

4. How are balayage and Ombre distinct

The terms balayage and ombré are often used interchangeably because they both refer to a method of adding highlights to the hair. Technically speaking, balayage is applied all over your hair in regions where your hair might catch the light, but ombré is a technique that creates the appearance of a delicate gradation of color from dark to light (root to tip). The’sombré’s appearance, a softer charcoal black or platinum blonde variation of either technique, is sometimes achieved by combining the two.

5. For what reasons should one choose balayage

It’s edgier and more stylish than traditional foil highlights, and it looks great today. Babylights and pearly balayage are just two examples of the many techniques that may be used to give you a one-of-a-kind look by combining different tones and “hand painting” techniques.

Balayage does an outstanding job of working with your hair’s natural growth pattern. That’s right; the dying method actually encourages your hair’s natural tonal variations to shine through without the need for regular salon touch-ups. It may be adjusted to fit your hairstyle, features, and even complexion. Hairstylists who are skilled in the art of balayage have honed their eyes to the point that they can expertly deposit color at strategically chosen points on the hair.

7 tips to prevent hair damage and maintain hair color after balayage or highlights

Getting your hair colored at the salon is convenient, but what about taking care of your newly dyed locks after you get home? You just need a few simple pointers to keep your dyed hair looking great without breaking the bank.

By exposing your hair to chemicals, you increase its susceptibility to dryness, damage, and breakage when you dye it. You need to take special care of your hair after dying it a different color, or it will quickly lose its luster. To help you maintain healthy, undamaged locks, this article provides a few straightforward pointers. You need to read on to find out why.

1. Hair coloring requires a three-day wait before the first wash

If you want your hair color to last, don’t wash it for at least 72 hours after coloring. Hair cuticles are left unprotected and open after hair dyeing due to the use of chemicals. Dyeing your hair causes chemical changes to your hair. This type of hair is more delicate and easily broken.

2. The use of a color-safe shampoo

The use of a color-safe shampoo is essential if you want to preserve the vibrancy of your hair color. Use a shampoo designed for color-treated hair when you wash your hair. In addition to preserving your hair’s natural pH, it will also keep it from being stripped.

You may prevent your hair color from fast fading by using a shampoo designed for colored hair. They also contain components that help restore and repair your hair, such as moisture and nutrients. You should stay away from sulfate and alcohol-containing shampoos. Your hair’s color and hydration will be robbed.

3. Try to reduce how often you wash your dyed hair

If you color your hair frequently, the color will fade when the dye is washed away. In addition to removing the protective oils from your hair, washing it too often can cause it to become dry, dull, and lifeless. Washing your hair too frequently can cause this. This will also help the hair color last longer.

4. The use of dry shampoo

If you must go several days without washing your hair, use a dry shampoo that is appropriate for colored hair to remove oil, dirt, and product buildup. This will clean your hair thoroughly without causing your hair color to fade from over-washing.

5. Do not forget to maintain your color treated hair

If you’ve had your hair dyed, you must use conditioner after every shampoo. Make sure the conditioner won’t fade your hair’s color. These conditioners coat the hair strands in a layer of defense against environmental damage. Hair gains shine, volume, and luster as the cuticles are sealed, and moisture is locked in. Therefore, it results in silky, healthy, and shiny hair.

6. Avoid breathing in too much humidity

Wet air causes hair color to fade, so try to avoid extended showers or humid environments. Wear a cap over your head as you bathe to prevent water from getting into your hair. Use an anti-humidity serum to prevent damage to your hair, especially during the wetter months.

7. Keep out of the heat

If you have color-treated hair, it’s best to avoid taking hot showers and instead use cool or lukewarm water. Even blow dryers, straightening irons, and curling irons fall within this category. When the cuticle is opened by Heat, the hair’s exterior protective layer is compromised, and dye can readily seep out. When you need to use Heat on your hair, protect it with a thermal protectant spray or serum.

What are the similarities between balayage vs highlights? 

This is the million dollar question: balayage or highlights? If you’re a full-highlights kind of gal who won’t budge, your stylist has probably tried to convert you to balayage.

If, however, you have questions regarding this painting method and aren’t sure if it’s right for you, read on! We sought out expert advice from those who specialize in balayage to find out how it compares to foiled highlights.

1. Color Theory: Balayage vs. 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. The grow-out is less evident with balayage; you can go months without touching it up,” says Jessica Gonzalez, a colorist at Sally Hershberger in Los Angeles.

Sometimes I find the typical foils to be too pattern-like and want something more freestyle. Nikki Lee, a stylist at 901 Salon, uses foils and a balayage technique even though balayage can be processed without them. The foil speeds up the process and lifts the hair more lightly than balayage. Therefore I like to use it when I do balayage “foliage.” 

Chrissy Rasmussen, owner and stylist at Habit Salon in Arizona tells us that her go-to method for creating foliage is a combination of balayage and foiled highlights. I have seen that many of my clients are interested in and seeking out ashy, platinum, sun-kissed hair, and I am confident that I can help them attain this look by incorporating these two techniques into their current haircuts. When using a foil, I apply little sections of hair by hand. Using a foil, in my opinion, is the most reliable way to get clients’ hair through the brassy phase.

2. The completed product

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 especially helpful if you want a uniformly blonde appearance. The outcome of using conventional highlights is a brighter appearance. Ultimately, balayage creates a look where the hair is lighter at the ends and darker at the roots, and I’m obsessed with it. Because balayage often doesn’t get as blonde as foils, Jessica advises, “If you’re more into an overall blonder look or all-over highlights, I will opt for the foils.”

3. Strategies for deciding on the most appropriate action

Nikki advises us, “If you’re a natural beauty or a girl with a bit of edge, I would recommend balayage, having your ends flash brighter. If you’re the type of girl who prefers the tried-and-true, I say, “Go for foils and go for the blonde look all over.” Chrissy recommends remembering your hair type.

“The technique is more client-specific. Personally, I think balayage looks best on freshly washed hair. Approximately 40–50 clients a day come to Habit Salon with the hope that we will remove the brassiness that has resulted from excessive processing. I think the foliage method is superior for pulling off the “it” style.

4. Preventing harmful consequences

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.” According to Nikki, “when you perform balayage, you continue to lighten the already-lightened hair.

Therefore it is more likely to become damaged than when you do regular highlights, which just brighten the new growth.” Ryan continues, “That’s why it’s extremely necessary to consult a professional colorist, someone that can guide you securely to beautiful hair color that doesn’t leave your hair damaged. Both methods can raise the hair with minimal damage.”

5. Maintenance

According to Nikki, “when a client gets balayage done, they may go anywhere from 3-4 months before they need to come back,” but for regular highlights, clients typically return every 6-8 weeks. According to Jessica, “with balayage, you can go anywhere from two months to six months without touching up.

If you’re patient enough, you can create a subtle ombré effect, but if you’re not, the transition to your new hairstyle could be jarring. Ryan recommends establishing a regular appointment time for your coloring service.

If you color your hair once every three months, it will last longer and look better than ever. The schedule’s duration is, of course, flexible according to the degree to which a “natural look” is desired. He warns us that the upkeep on our hair will be higher if we choose an “unnatural” style.

Watch Highlights, Balayage, Ombre or Sombre – Which is right for you | Video

People also ask questions and answers related to the balayage hair vs highlights

In comparison to highlights, what distinguishes Balayage?

What’s the deal with balayage and highlights? Highlights typically involve the use of foils, while balayage is more of an artistic hand-painted process. The end result of a balayage technique is always more delicate than that of conventional highlights.

What about the time commitment? Does Balayage take longer than highlights?

Nikki states, “Clients tend to return back between 6-8 weeks for typical highlights; however when balayage is done, a client can go anywhere from 3-4 months.” According to Jessica, “with balayage, you can go anywhere from two months to six months without touching up.

Exactly what is the distinction between Balayage and Balayage hair?

It comes down to slight variations in approach. Lightener is swept down the hair’s mid-lengths and ends in a balayage process, creating a natural-looking blend that is instantly recognizable. The foilage is performed in a similar manner by brushing portions of hair and then wrapping them in foil to dry.

How long does it take to conduct a Balayage?

In what time frame can I expect to complete a Balayage? The typical time to finish a partial Balayage is between 45 and 90 minutes. On average, it takes between 1.5 and 3 hours to complete a full Balayage. Given that each Balayage is unique and must be applied by hand, average processing times might vary widely.

To what extent does Balayage lessen the damage caused by highlights?

Compared to traditional highlights, Balayage has a more natural look and takes less time to apply. It may be replaced frequently with no effort and does not cause more damage to the hair. As opposed to highlights, growing out a balayage will result in a perfectly natural appearance. Your hair will suffer some damage from either treatment.


You can achieve highlights in your hair using either the conventional foil method or the more modern balayage technique (also known as hair painting). Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks that are determined by the desired end result.

Fortunately, many hairstylists and colorists are knowledgeable in both methods and can advise you on which will best serve your needs. Need more guidance in choosing between the two? Learn the pros and cons of foil highlights and balayage from our in-depth guide.

Phenix Salon Suites was founded by Gina Rivera. She also developed the By Gina hair care line and the Colours by Gina cosmetics line. Celebrity clients like Victoria Beckham, Miranda Kerr, and Caroline Vreeland rely on Reece Walker, a stylist, colorist, and extension expert who works on both coasts.

The French word balayage means “to sweep,” and it refers to a hair coloring procedure in which a lightening solution is applied by hand onto the surface of sections of hair at random. Walker claims that balayage is not a style but rather a freehand method used on the hair. To get a more subtle effect, Rivera explains, “balayage colors are typically tints that are slightly lighter than your base color.” “The objective is to make things look lighter while still having depth and dimension.”

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