What Is Balayage? Here’s All the Information and Inspiration You Need

Bala-what? Balayage is French and means "sweep" or "paint", and is a technique for making hand-painted highlights, where the color is applied with a brush. Although balayage has been practiced in France since the 1970s, it is only in recent years the technique has gained global traction. The result is a natural sun-kissed look that has taken the red carpets by storm.

Are you interested in a balayage? Here we list the most popular balayage hairstyles created by stylists using Hairdressr. Click any of the images to see who’s the creator behind the work and book an appointment with them.

Inspiration for Blonde Balayage


Inspiration for Dark Balayage



What Is the Difference Between Balayage and Highlights?

Both the technique and the result differ between balayage and traditional highlights. With balayage, highlights are hand-painted with a brush where the hairdresser can be creative and apply the hair color to selected spots. The result is a natural sun-kissed look with brightness and contrast that is unique and personal. Traditional highlights on the other hand are created with foil, usually from the roots down to the ends, which gives a more noticeable effect.

example balayage

Balayage. Image credit: @styleebysofiee.

exempel highlights

Example highlights. Image credit: @hairgallerysthlm.

What Is the Difference Between Ombre and Balayage?

Balayage is often confused with ombre but is not the same thing. Both are hair coloring techniques where the hair is hand-painted with a brush, but there are distinct differences. Balayage gives a sun-kissed natural look with varying nuances while ombre results in a gradual transition. A classic ombre usually goes from dark at the roots of the hair to light at the ends.

exempel balayage

Example balayage. Image credit: @styleebysofiee.

exempel ombre

Example ombre. Image credit: @harcompanietlkpg.

Can Balayage Grow Out?

The short answer is yes, your balayage will grow out. That said, balayage typically lasts longer than traditional highlights. The reason is that balayage has light-handed gradual placements, which prevents obvious grow-out, thus allowing for less frequent visits at the salon.

How Much Is Balayage?

The price for balayage is highly individual. It depends on your hair type and what results you want to achieve. If you e.g. have very thick hair, it will require a longer treatment, and therefore it will also be more expensive. The same applies if you want to go from dark to very light as it will require several separate treatments to achieve the desired result. On average, however, one can say that a balayage treatment takes about 3 hours and costs around $200. It may seem expensive, but remember that it’s a low maintenance hairstyle. For many people it’s enough to go 6 months between visits.

Who Will Look Good in Balayage?

The classic balayage look often seen on Instagram is brown hair with sun-kissed blonde ends. But balayage is really a technique that suits everyone, regardless of hair color and hair length. Balayage suits you best with wavy hair, but you can also achieve great results with straight hair. If you have very curly hair, balayage will look a little different than for other hair types, although you can achieve fantastic results too. We recommend looking at inspo to get a better idea of ​​what to expect with balayage for very curly hair.