Balayage hair colour inspiration

Is balayage still “in”?

Technically balayage isn’t a look but a technique. It’s a colour application technique where colour is applied away from the roots and painted on to sections of hair. Normally this is more around the face and used to highlight face framing layers and give a more natural colour look.

Last year we saw balayage used more evenly to create an ombre line gradation of colour, a sort of dip-dye look and also fun colour block hair. The ombre look is still around but the trend is heading back to more natural looking balayage highlights.

I was chatting hair with a beautiful friend of mine over dinner last week and she asked me if she should try balayage. She used to get foil highlights and has gone back to her natural colour, which is a beautiful dark blonde. Her hair is about shoulder blade length and her hairdresser had suggested balayage last time she was at the salon but she wasn’t sure.

Her hair is beautiful as is, as her natural colour is gorgeous but I get the feeling she’s bored with her long hair. She’s looking for a bit of a change but one that’s easy to look after. Balayage colour is the perfect technique if you want to change up your hair a little, but not commit to a regular salon maintenance routine. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you may only need to get a touch up every few months or more. Subtle balayage grows out beautifully and can give you that light and softness around your face that feels like you’ve brightened up all your hair.

Balayage hairspiration

Here’s some balayage hair colour inspiration images to inspire your new colour. Head over to my Pinterest board Hair Colour Inspiration for more hairspiration.

Hairstyle tip

Balayage colour is enhanced by having layers in your hair. It looks more natural with some texture in your hair or soft waves as it disguises where the highlights begin.

How to care for your balayage hair

Here’s my roundup of the best hair oils for balayage hair.

Are you a fan of balayage colour?

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  1. says

    On some people – blondes, especially – it simply looks like they need to get their roots done. Just my two cents! Note: I’m a blonde, who needs to get her roots done. 😉
    nicole recently posted..On a rainy dayMy Profile

    • Hair Romance says

      haha I think if you’ve got that definite line it can definitely look like regrowth. The trick is in getting a skilled colourist to apply it like natural sun-kissed highlights. PS. I also need to get my roots done!

  2. says

    You are the best! Thank you! I have the same hair as you describe for your friend, and I have let my colour grow out a bit. Just this morning I was considering making the call and asking my hairdresser to try it. Thanks! I’m gonna do it!!
    Alicia recently posted..A Couple of Dam(n) NerdsMy Profile

  3. says

    Idid this a few months ago, and I LOVE it! It’s perfect for my dark blonde/light brown, naturally curly hair. The best part is that I did it months ago, and it still looks good! Low maintance is always good. 😉
    Bekah recently posted..Who is God?My Profile

  4. Barb says

    I didn’t realize my hairdresser was doing balayage until I read about it a month ago. I’m one of those people who says “eh, do what you think will look good..”(I’d trust her with my hair, dog, housekeys…) The highlights look like they’re dancing almost. It gives me hair serious movement along with the awesome layers she puts in. It is very low maintenance, cause the regrowth looks more ombre than actual regrowth.
    I’m pretty obsessed with my hair and playing around and I LOVE your website. It’s awesome for laypeople like me who want to try something new without learning a new craft. (Leave the color to the pros, I say!) Thanks!!
    However, I’m pretty sad that I finally got the courage to try ombre and it’s going out. Oh well wait five years, it’ll come back.

    • Hair Romance says

      Thanks so much Barb! I report on trends but just so you can hear of new ideas to try. Don’t change just because it’s a trend. If you love your hair (and your hairdresser sounds great!) keep doing what you’re doing x

  5. SensibleSpice says

    Yik! I just want to get a big, oversized, old fashioned pair of scissors and hack it off! IMHO it only works when the contrast in colours is not too great. Jessica Biel = bad.

  6. says

    Here’s my 2cents worth,…mixing a combination of Balayage and Ombre’ is beautiful.
    Ombre’ ranges from heavy to light (meaning many levels of difference OR just a few shades lighter than the natural) and focuses mainly on the ends. So doing a little
    Balayage technique from cheekbones up to frame the face adds softness around the
    eyes. A place that most women feel they need some softness. Personally I love that
    each person can get their own individual look.
    Love your post today. And I love haircolor–Can you tell??? hahaha
    Getting my locks done tomorrow – maybe I’ll post some pics

  7. Maissaa says

    I like it. But I do prefer it on brunettes. It give brown hair this soft yet slightly edgy look while still appearing sophisticated enough. On blondes though it looks more like they forgot to look in the mirror it does not look intentional enough,,, if you know what I mean.

  8. says

    I love the look of subtle balayage – I hate my highlights lighter on top which is how a lot of people always want to do them on me! My issue is that I need the texture terribly at my roots – if I leave them natural I look like I just got rained on – flat and limp – so I can’t figure out how balayage would work for me……
    Clare @ The Blossom Shed recently posted..Cult Classics – Becca Beach TintsMy Profile

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Clare, you should try styling powders. I’m posting about them next week but most brands have one now, and they are the BEST for adding volume really quickly to the roots.

  9. Joy says

    I love this look! jessica biel’s style especially. but naturally i have straight as a board, does nothing hair, so i guess it’s sadly not for me.

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Joy, balayage works in straight hair too but you need an experienced colourist to do it well. If you love it ask you salon about it x

  10. Sarah says

    Hi there,
    I was wondering if you are indeed a hairdresser or someone that is just interested in hair?
    Thanks for the posts! : – )

  11. LongLocks says

    Hi. Would Balayage work on dark red/auburn hair(natural)?
    And can you get it done in a hair salon with wash-out/semi-permanent colour?

    • Hair Romance says

      Balayage works in all hair colours and looks great in auburn hair. I can’t tell, as I’m not a colourist and haven’t seen your hair, but often red/auburn hair is resistant to colour. Semi permanent colour will only lift it 1-2 shades and it’s not very damaging so you can try it and see if you like it. If you want a more ombré look you will probably need to use permanent colour.

  12. says

    I am acolors but a natural blone, going grayer by the yre. MY gray doesnt’t take color very well. Tnow have to go to a two step process..Do roots then get highlights. But the root color is always a darker (than my natyral blonde) nimber 8 was uses at lasr salon, then too goldy high lights! MY roots star showng in 3weeks.

    HELP… ANY IDEAS OR ADVICE? I want to try Balayage but is it doable with grays roots/


    • Hair Romance says

      Balayage only colours the lower part of your hair so it’s only for you if you want to grow your grey hair. Unfortunately if you want 100% grey coverage you do need to colour every 3-4 weeks. There are lots of alternatives you can talk to your hairdresser about, and I think greys can look beautiful as they work as a natural highlight in your hair. Get highlights instead of an all over colour, and get a gloss (or toner) to help blend the greys better. It will be a two step process but it can achieve the look you want.

  13. curlywurly says

    Eeep! I’ve been terribly sick of late and let my hair go a little bit. I’ve got mousy brown (ash dark blonde/light brown hair), it’s got some blonder balayage. Unfortunately its got a bit brassy/redish (I’m naturally more ash and prefer more ashy tones) Whats the best way to save my hair? :(

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi, you could try a purple shampoo to tone it. You can buy a purple coloured shampoo which counteracts the yellow blonde tones of your hair and makes it more ash toned. They are available from salons. Use an oil or treatment on the ends of your hair as the blonde tends to dry out your hair. Hope this helps x

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Amy, you could add some highlights to the front and end of your hair, but with naturally ash blonde hair you could leave it as is and still be the envy of girls everywhere xx

  14. Bri says

    Hi. I have naturally blonde hair that is quite light and i have never done anything to it, im really interested in this balayage technique that everyone is talking about but will it work/look good on my hair colour?

    • Hair Romance says

      Hi Bri, your hair sounds gorgeous and I don’t think you should do anything to it! This type of colour technique works best from dark hair to light, so if you wanted to add in some highlights to your hair this is a low maintenance way to do it. The light to dark doesn’t usually end up looking as effective, it has a 90s feel. Gwyneth Paltrow sports this reverse balayage from time to time so you can look at her hair for inspiration. Hope this helps!

  15. Alexis MacIntosh says


    I need some advice. My hair is naturally a medium ashy brown. I have a few greys, and have been getting my roots touched up with solid colour for a year or so. At my last visit, my stylist accidentally pulled the wrong file and did my roots a dark reddish/brown (which I hate). I love the look of balayage highlights, but I have the dilemma of the red at my base, and a my re growth. I would love to get back to medium ashy brown with balayage highlights. Is there any way of achieving this?

    • Hair Romance says

      I would chat to your hairdresser about toning out your roots and re-colouring your hair. Then balayage highlights would be easy to add in x

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