Balayage vs Highlights: What’s the Difference?

Posted: March 18, 2021 By:

Are you debating whether you should get a balayage or highlights at your next hair appointment? To help you decide, it’s helpful to fully understand the difference between these two treatments. They offer two completely different looks that are equally gorgeous.

Speak with one of our hair care specialists to go over which treatment will give you the results you desire!

What is a Balayage?

A balayage is a highlighting technique that involves hand-painting individual strands of hair. Unlike traditional highlights, a balayage doesn’t require foils and isn’t applied to the roots of your hair. Instead, the highlights begin a few inches below your roots and extend down to the ends of your locks. This means your roots will remain dark.

A balayage adds amazing dimension to the body of your hair. The hand-painting technique allows your stylist to more liberally lighten your strands so that they really pop and blend nicely. This treatment provides a very natural, sun-kissed look.

What are Traditional Highlights?

Traditional highlights involve lightening your hair through a foil technique. Starting at the root, your stylist will pick out a thin strand of hair, paint it with a bleach mixture, and wrap it in aluminum foil. The foil protects the bleach mixture from touching nearby hair for more precision and exact lines. The stylist will repeat this method around the crown of your head to lighten each piece of hair from root to tip. Foil highlights lighten the overall look of your hair from top to bottom with delicate, bright strands.

Which Should I Choose?

The treatment you should choose ultimately depends on the goals you have for your hair:

Foil Highlights Considerations

Keep the following points in mind when considering highlights:

If you want to totally lighten your hair and/or don’t like dark roots, highlights are the right choice.

Highlights require more maintenance. As your hair grows out, the highlights will move down from your roots, revealing your natural, darker hair color. If you want to ensure your roots remain light, you’ll need to come back in for a touch-up about every two months.

Highlights look best on lighter hair colors, such as light brown on blonde. Foil highlights often contrast too starkly on dark hair colors, which creates a streaky look.

Balayage Considerations

Keep the following points in mind when considering a balayage:

If you want to lighten the body of your hair and enjoy the look of dark roots, a balayage is more suitable.

Balayages require less maintenance since the look requires your roots to remain dark.

Balayages can be applied to any hair color. Those with dark hair can enjoy either light brown or blonde hand-painted highlights that blend nicely due to the hand-painting technique.

Make an Appointment at Tabula Rasa Salon

Understanding the difference between a balayage and highlights is important for getting the exact look you desire. If you’re ready to get one of these treatments, make an appointment with us at Tabula Rasa Salon in Charleston, SC. Our professional team has years of practice when it comes to coloring hair, so you can trust that you’ll love the results!