Top 5 balayage hairstyles and how to get the look

Balayage is a free-hand colour technique that creates a graduated colour effect. Highlights are handpainted in to the midlengths to ends of the hair, so that the colour lightens gradually towards the ends of the hair.

Balayage varies from a gentle ‘sun-kissed’ look or a more dramatic dip dye look. As it is a free-hand colour application, there are infinite results and it all depends on what you ask for and the skill of your  stylist.

Here are my top five celebrity balayage hairspiration

Gisele Bundchen
Olivia Palermo
Drew Barrymore
Jessica Biel
Rose Byrne

So you love balayage – how do you get the look?

  1. Mention you want balayage when booking your appointment so the salon can allow enough time. Applying the colour by hand can take longer.
  2. Take a photo – hairdressers are visual people and it’s impossible to describe colour accurately in words
  3. Apply a treatment to the ends of your hair weekly. The lighter colour will be drier than your roots and will need a little more care.

Why balayage?

Balayage has been around for a long while now and the trend is hanging on as it’s a unique way of colouring that gives individual results.

It’s low maintenance hair – regrowth is barely noticeable so you don’t need to run to the hairdresser every six weeks.

It’s a fun way to experiment with colour. It can also be a subtle way to change your hair colour from dark to light gradually.

Balayage looks gorgeous in curled hairstyles and upstyles as it really emphasises the colour.

Have you had balayage in your hair? Would you try it?

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  1. Monique {Oh Darling Bride} says

    I love this look! I would love to try it and now that I know what it's called and how to explain it to my hairstylist, I'm going to ask her about it when I book my next appointment. Thanks for the super advice :)

  2. Me, my best and I says

    All such fine examples – could be a way to go from light to dark too maybe…am considering darkening maybe!!

  3. Melody says

    I've never had it on purpose, but the way my red hair dye fades, it ends up having that sort of appearance. I love the look and I get lots of compliments on it.

  4. Hind says

    Hi- I love your blog! I've been following it for a couple of months now and have gotten some great ideas from it:) I have been a hairstylist for the last 15 years and specialized in color in NYC, and thought I'd let you know that while all the pictures you showed were indeed Balayage, they were also examples of ombre color- a specific technique where the ends are painted lighter. This typically involves backcombing the hair and just lightening the ends for a diffused look.
    Gisele's color is the only example of classic balayage. I just wouldn't want your readers to not get what they really wanted:) Best of luck to you and again, I LOVE what you're doing!

  5. Pink Diva: Makeup Artist and Beauty Guru xx says

    Hi Christina,
    I have not had balayage myself but I know a few girls who have balayage and it looks gorgeous. I do love the look – so long as it is a really soft and subtle look because the heavy look just looks cheap. I am not even a Jess Biel fa yet I love how beautiful her balayage is! Great tips my dear.
    Tammerly @ Pink Diva Beauty

  6. Kiera-lee says

    I have been wanting to get this done. I have naturally medium to dark brown hair died blonde, what would be the easiest way to achieve any one of these looks? Would I be best dyeing my hair back to my natural color then going frome there?

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Kiera-lee, you would be able to achieve this easily by colouring the top part of your hair a colour close to your natural colour, that way as your blonde grows out it will blend easily. Consult with your hairdresser to get their recommendation as I don’t recommend DIY colour, especially over hair that has already been coloured.

  7. says

    I had this done to my hair about two weeks ago, I didnt like it at first because I thought it looked bad in my hair due to it being straight.. I have found ways to wear it though so I actually like it, I curlmy hair or tie it back in different styles.. My hair was already a caramal colour so I just dyed my ends blond, If you are going to get this I would sugest leaving your roots natural, getting a slightly lighter colour on your mid part and then the ends the lighest colour.. It will look more natural this way, If you just go staight from dark to light it seems very blocked and un natural.

    • Hair Romance says

      Thanks Elenor. It takes a little while to get used to a new colour, curling really suits balayage.

  8. Lulu Rose says

    hi there… i have this in my hair at the mo… it is truly beautiful… it doesnt take long to get the ends back into tip top condition as once they are done, u don’t have to dye them again. would definatley recommend curls, a soft wave or an up do to really pull off this look tho. particulary perfect for the girl who can’t decide wether to be blonde OR brunette, like myself!!

    • Hair Romance says

      Thanks Lulu Rose – that’s such a good description! Perfect if you can’t decide to be blonde or brunette x

  9. Jane says

    i have naturally curly hair, long and a medium brown colour, and i don’t know what to do with it! it always look so old fashioned i’d love to do something fun to it (not too crazy though!) for a more modern look, i’d like to keep the length though..any ideas? :) balayage looks amazing but my only concern is would it damage the curls??

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Jane, your hair doesn’t sound old-fashioned at all. You could experiment with colour or maybe a new haircut? Or just try some different hairstyles. Make a consultation with your hairstylist but don’t feel you need to decide straight away. There’s nothing old fashioned about curls x

  10. Rose says

    Hi, I love the way this hair looks on these women and I would like to give it a try. I have very wavy hair but the waves are not well defined, what do you recomend to shape them better. Also I am more of light olive complexion and have natural dark almost black hair and dark eyes, so when talking to the hairstylist about this look, is there a color tone that would fit me best? I am not sure if this is even a question when using this technique, what color blend would fit me the best?

    • Hair Romance says

      A good haircut will help bring out your waves, and a mousse or curl cream wil encourage them further. Talk to your colourist, but it’s best to start with a few highlights 1-3 shades lighter than your hair colour, and place more around your face to give a more natural, sun-kissed colour.

  11. Olivia says

    I Love the look & have had balayage for over 8 months now and im never going back to one colour. I must admit it took about 3 tries to go platnuim blonde at the ends and dark black on the roots, but was so worth it. & yes it looks brillant tied up in a bun or curled but i wear mine down and dead straight which also looks mint. If i had to choose another colour i would go bright red ends and dark black roots that looks hot..


    • OLIVIA says

      I think you would suit dark roots and light ends.. im similar complection and have dark eyebrows and eyes but i havent had any negative comments about my hair so go for it girl.
      Just say you want light caramel to platnuim blonde ends and dark roots. pictures help the hairdresses so take one in

  12. Katie says

    Hi, i absolutely love the balayage look! but im not sure what colours would suit me. i have platnuim blonde hair, (naturally dark blonde/light brown) i have dark brown eyes and quite a strong face shape. im think maybe a caramel blonde for the roots and keep my ends quite light. its taken me so long to get to the clean blonde colour, i dont want to change it unless im positive it’ll look good, please help! =)

    thankyou xx

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Katie, the maintenance will be a lot easier with balayage than platinum hair but your hair will be a lot darker. If your natural colour is light brown the caramel should really suit you. If you’re still not sure, why not try a wig to see how you like the colour. Hope this helps xx

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Sandra, you can do a semi permanent colour over to darken your hair and perhaps leave your natural light blonde hair as the highlights. Have a consultation with your colourist to see what they can do. Christina

  13. mary morstan says

    I’m 65, and I’ve had balayage in/on my hair for the last 2 years. Everyday my husband tells me my hair is gorgeous (honest…or well-trained??). Every week I’ve had someone, usually a stranger, tell me my hair is beautiful, but even old friends will suddenly blurt out that I have beautiful hair. I had the procedure done to cover my gray since my gray roots start appearing 9 days after a retouch. I’m naturally a very dark brunette with very fair skin, and the light hair tones seem to pull the viewer’s eye away from the gray that begins to regrow. I get my roots done every 3.5 to 4 weeks, and have the balayage freshened every 3-4 months, with a full procedure twice a year. I’ve always conditioned my hair, and for past 10 years have added leave-in conditioner.

    • Hair Romance says

      Your hair does sound gorgeous Mary! And your husband seems very charming too. Great advice for using leave in conditioner x

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