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23 Balayage Looks to Give You Major Hair Envy

BY: Colleen Loggins Loster | Sep 27, 2017

Ten years ago, if you had walked into your hair salon and asked for balayage, your stylist probably would have stared blankly at you. Even if they had heard about the hair-color technique in beauty school (it was developed in the 1970s, after all), they likely wouldn't have offered it to a client.

It's an unfathomable scenario nowadays, when you can walk into practically any salon in America and walk out with soft, subtle balayage highlights. Two of our partner salons are doing particularly great balayage hair for clients in Minneapolis and Chicago. We asked them to walk us through some of the looks they created using the free-hand-painting technique. Get ready for some major hair envy.

The following quotes are from the featured colorist. 

Honey Blonde Balayage

Color by Anline, cut by Jessica at Jon Charles Salon in Minneapolis

Why do you like it? I love how the honey color of the balayage accentuates her natural color with just a few pops of light!

What is the upkeep like? 9–12 weeks

High-Lift, Sun-Kissed Balayage

 

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Designed by Andrea at Jon Charles Salon

Why do you like it? You can go darker for fall or brighten it up with more balayage for the summer.

Upkeep? The upkeep for high-lift balayage is 6–8 weeks.

Bombshell Blonde with Iridescent Lowlights

 

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Designed by Rachel at Jon Charles Salon

Why do you like it? It is very natural looking with the ashy balayage while the lowlights help make the blonde appear brighter with contrast.

Upkeep? 8–10 weeks. Unlike foils to the scalp, balayage has a soft and subtle line of regrowth when it starts growing out. With this look, I also like to add a lowlight that is close to their natural hair color so it helps blend the regrowth as it grows out.

Lived-in Balayage

Color by Andrea, style by Maggie at Jon Charles Salon

Notes: We did a full balayage while focusing on her ends to give her a grown-out look.

Why do you like it? It's fun and beachy! It looks amazing blown-out smooth as well as curled. It's such a versatile look that you could let grow out or add more blonde to it!

Upkeep? The upkeep for this look is what you make it! If you love the lived-in look, 10–12 weeks. If you prefer more blonde, 6–8 weeks.

Dimensional Red

 

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Designed by Anline at Jon Charles Salon

Notes: Redheads are honestly one of the best and trickiest colors to work with. This is more of a dimensional red because you see brighter pieces of red and some red violets, as well, to add a bit of contrast.

Why do you like it? I love redheads because it takes a special kind of person to pull it off, and when they do, it's amazing. Typically, I would recommend this color [for] cooler skin tones and/or eyes because it accentuates those features.

Upkeep? Depending on the natural hair color of the client and the level of red, 4–6 weeks

Caramel Transitioning to Blonde

Color by Anline, cut by Amanda at Jon Charles Salon

Why do you like it? This is the perfect color for a first-session brunette client who intends on going lighter. It helps them understand that it might take a couple of sessions before achieving the ultimate goal, but still gives them a preview of the natural effect of balayage.

Upkeep? 6–8 [weeks], depending on the condition of the hair

Dimensional Brunette Balayage

 

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Color by Anline, cut by Taylor at Jon Charles Salon

Notes: The balayage is mostly concentrated around the sides and crown of the head, leaving the underneath layer natural to add contrast.

Why do you like it? It gives you the best of both worlds. You can keep the dark, rich roots [for] contrast. The balayage, when brought up high enough, will create a brighter effect all around without necessarily being [considered] "blonde."

Upkeep? Depending on whether the roots are natural or colored, anywhere between 4–6 weeks

Transitional Balayage Ombre

Designed by Anline at Jon Charles Salon

Why do you like it? I like this look because it gives you the heavier concentration of color on the ends, like an ombre would, but with a more subtle transition that can be achieved through the balayage technique.

Upkeep? 9–12 weeks

Foiled Blonde with Balayaged Ends

 

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Designed by Anline at Jon Charles Salon

Notes: We wanted the brightness that only foils can achieve, and adding the balayage through the ends that are left out creates an overall brighter blonde look.

Why do you like it? I love this look for natural blondes that are looking for the "California blonde." The babylights are perfect for the brightness, and the balayage seals the deal.

Upkeep? 6-8 weeks

Classic Sun-Kissed Balayage

 

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Color by Anline, cut by Steven at Jon Charles Salon

Notes: It looks natural yet gives you the right amount of color to show people you've done something to your hair.

Why do you like it? This is the perfect color for someone who wants to color their hair for the first time. It's low maintenance, looks natural, and can be easily transitioned into going lighter or switching to traditional foils.

Upkeep? 6–9 weeks

Foilayage

 

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Color by Anline, cut by Madi at Jon Charles Salon

Notes: It's all about the face framing, or money pieces as we colorists like to call it sometimes. [This was] created using a balayage technique inside foils (foilayage) to achieve a lighter look than achieved through traditional balayage.

Why do you like it? It's great for the clients that want a pop of color but aren't necessarily looking for a full color.

Upkeep? Although it's less pieces of balayage, the upkeep is a little more demanding, 4–6 weeks.

Rooted Balayage

 

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Designed by Rachel at Jon Charles Salon

Notes: We colored-matched her roots to her natural hair color and pulled it through to break up some of her old balayage and give a more rooted look.

Why do you like it? Because it is easy to maintain and is a more natural look.

Upkeep? 8–12 weeks to retouch up the base. The only other upkeep is to freshen up the balayage whenever she wants it brighter or brought back up [closer to the roots].

Chocolate Mousse

 

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Color by Maggie, cut by Jazmine at Jon Charles Salon

Notes: She had previously lightened ends, so I did a root drop and toned her ends.

Why do you like it? Because it's subtle, natural, yet significant. The pops of light give her dimension when curled, but they are subtle enough to look chic when her hair is smooth.

Upkeep? Root touchup every six weeks, balayage as needed

Bronde Balayage

 

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Designed by Anline at Jon Charles Salon

Why do you like it? This bronde color is great for the fall as it features warmer tones. Brunette clients will love this because they can easily go back and forth between going lighter or darker.

Upkeep? 6–8 weeks with toners in between to preserve the tone

Sombre

 

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Designed by Sarah at Bristle + Grace in Chicago

Notes: This is a softer version of an ombre, where the hair is generally darker at the root melting into a lighter mid-shaft bottom.

Why do you like it? This look is awesome for a client who wants a lower maintenance, modern hair color!

Upkeep? I recommend toners every 6–12 weeks.

Warm Caramel Balayage

Designed by Sarah at Bristle + Grace

Why do you like it? Gives the client a blended/natural look while still having a ton of dimension.

Upkeep? A toner about every 6–12 weeks

Traditional Light Brunette Balayage

Designed by Sarah at Bristle + Grace

Why do you like it? I love this look because you can still have a highlighted look without having the lines from the traditional foils after six weeks.

Upkeep? About every 12 weeks to refresh and bring the balayage up closer to the root.

Root Shadow Balayage

Designed by Rebecca at Bristle + Grace

Why do you like it? I love how soft and natural the color is.

Upkeep? Only bringing up the balayage when she feels like it.

Subtle Caramel Balayage

 

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Designed by Sarah at Bristle + Grace

Why do you like it? I like this look because it gives the client enough dimension to enhance their brunette color while still having a natural look.

Upkeep? The upkeep is amazing! Toners are suggested every 6–12 weeks.

Dark with Pops of Bright Blonde

Designed by Kim at Bristle + Grace

Notes: I call this look "having your cake and eating it too." The dark natural hair at her roots makes this a low-maintenance look, while there's plenty of fun pops of bright blonde throughout.

Why do you like it? I like it because it blends so beautifully and seamlessly.

Upkeep? Extremely low maintenance, it grows out beautifully. Toner [to keep the blonde looking its best] is typically touched up every 4–6 weeks, but the balayage may not need to be retouched for 4–6 months.

Root-Dropped Golden Goddess

Designed by Kim at Bristle + Grace

Why do you like it? I like it because she came in with old grown-out foils, wanting something that would be more low maintenance in the long run. I was able to add color with the balayage to transition her from foils into balayage. It shows it is possible to get the balayage look without having to wait months for foils to grow out.

Upkeep? This look, even though a semipermanent color was used, is still relatively very low maintenance. I always recommend toner every 4–6 weeks to keep the blonde from getting yellow over time. This specific look, I'd recommend a touchup in 8–12 weeks for the balayage.

Strawberry Copper Balayage

 

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Designed by Rebecca at Bristle + Grace

Why do you like it? I love how warm and rich the colors are.

Upkeep? Only toners every 6–8 weeks

Blonde Root Balayage

Designed by Rebecca at Bristle + Grace

Why do you like it? What I like about it is the bright pieces from the new highlight. [They] really pop and make the rest of the hair have a softness to it.

Upkeep? With a root balayage like this one, there is a little bit more upkeep than if you didn't touch up the roots.

 

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