Hello hair lovers! Welcome to the battle of the ages; balayage VS highlights! The fight to claim the title of Best Sun-Kissed Hair Look will begin shortly. Please take your seats, grab your snacks and beverages, and enjoy!
Here in this short little blog post, we’ll give you a briefing on the differences between highlights and balayages, the pros and cons of each service, and more! Pricing for these services may vary based on your geographical location, stylist experience and the cost of product; so be sure to contact your local salon for an accurate estimate! If you have questions about how much your hair color should cost, check out Anthony’s blog on that here!
And In this Corner…
What is Balayage?
You’ve probably seen that word “balayage” over and over again on the internet over the past few months, but what does it mean? Balayage describes a hair color technique the requires the colorist to use a sweeping motion when applying the color to a client’s hair! When translated from French, the word balayage literally means “to sweep”. The balayage technique has been around since the early 1970’s, but did not make its way into the American hair industry until the 1990’s.
The balayage technique made a name for itself by providing clients with gorgeous lightened ends that seamlessly blend in with their natural hair. Although this look might seem pretty easy to achieve, it takes a very well-trained stylist with a great eye to get it done well! When a stylist uses the balayage technique, they must be able to observe your hair’s natural texture and movement and then “randomly” place the color to make the color appear as close to natural as possible!
And in the other Corner…
What are Highlights?
Believe it or not, highlights have been around FOREVER. It’s believed that the first highlighting technique was developed by the people of Ancient Greece around 4 B.C! The first “bleach” was a mixture of gold flakes, olive oil, and pollen native to the area! (I wish I had enough money to cover my head in gold flakes.) After this mixture was applied to someone’s hair, they would sunbathe for hours. Needless to say, this method is pretty time-consuming and ineffective. Despite that, people used the gold flake method for centuries! The modern highlights we know and love today were developed in the early 20th century.
Foiling highlights were first introduced in the 1980’s to produce a much more natural look than the results of highlighting caps! (The cap is pictured below. Pretty weird looking, huh?) Using foils gives the hair stylists a lot more freedom to create unique looks for every client. Foiling gives the stylist the ability to choose placement of highlights carefully, whereas a highlighting cap is really restrictive.
Highlights are widely regarded as a fantastic way to give your hair dimension and movement! If you’re like me and your hair is naturally a solid color, highlights are a great way to change things up. If you’re naturally blonde and need a little change in your life, you can get what’s called low lights! Low lights are exactly what they sound like; they’re the same process as highlighting, but you’d use darker color instead of bleach. Low lights are a great way to slowly transition to darker hair, or just bring a little bit of change at a time.
What are the differences?
The main draw of getting a balayage is that it requires little to no maintenance. Even as your hair begins to grow out, your balayage won’t leave a line of demarcation like highlights will. Therefore, you can go as long as you’d like between appointments! You may want to schedule what we call a toner service for about 6 weeks after your balayage, but that’s easy and cheap!
If you’re not sure what a toner is, it’s basically a glaze of color that keeps your hair color from getting too brassy or ashy without using cream color! Because of this, toners are cheaper to provide, and you can keep those blonde locks looking good forever.
Balayages can be both expensive and very time-consuming, which can be a serious deal-breaker. Due to the time and amount of color it takes to achieve this look, you might be paying $180+ for your appointment. Appointments for balayages can take 4 to 6 hours depending on your starting point as well as hair thickness, length, and texture.
Highlights require LOTS of maintenance. After your first highlight appointment, your stylist will likely suggest that you come back every 6 weeks or so to get them redone. If you don’t get them done regularly, it’ll be really noticeable when you need a touch up! However, highlights are a lot less expensive than balayages. (One point for the highlight team!) A partial highlight is one of the most common highlight services, and it’s generally priced between the cost of a base touch up and the cost of a full color; which is usually less than $100.
What are the similarities?
Balayages and highlights are both lightening processes, and although they use different techniques for slightly different results, both can give you that sun-kissed look! Truth be told, the only true difference between these two services are the techniques they use; everything else is the same. That being said, before and after BOTH services, you should be taking extra good care of your hair!
Balayage/Highlight care tips:
Both balayages and highlights require the use of a lot of bleach. Now, I don’t know if ya’ll know this, but bleach damages your hair like nobody’s business. (Of course you know that, I just wanted to say “ya’ll” in a beauty blog.) Using bleach on your hair can cause it to become dry, brittle, and cause breakage if you’re using it too often. To avoid having hair that feels like straw, consider using a deep conditioner like Olaplex No. 3, and throw out those harsh shampoos.
After a highlight or a balayage, we highly recommend switching to a color safe, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to make your color last longer! We also recommend adding a leave-in conditioner, and try to space out your color appointments to give your hair time to recover. If you’re keeping your highlights or balayage blonde, using a purple shampoo can help you tone your hair at home and keep the brassiness away!
Which one should I choose?
Choosing between a balayage and highlights can be extremely difficult, especially when they’re so similar. In my opinion, making your choice really comes down to how often you’re willing to visit the salon for maintenance. If your budget and schedule would allow you to make it into the salon every 6-8 weeks, go for those highlights! If you’d rather go through one large, expensive process and then not have to deal with it again, maybe you’d prefer a balayage! Think about your lifestyle, and see which fits you best. You do you, girl!
Thank you for reading!
Thank so much for diving into this edition of the TouchUps Beauty Blog! We hope you found this info helpful, and we’ll catch you on the next Beauty Blog. PEACE.