What’s Better Balayage or Highlights?

In the hair world, there is a lot of debate and confusion about highlights and balayage. If you were to ask most people off the street whether they prefer highlights or balayage, you would receive a lot of doubtful looks and probably hear a lot of umming. Don’t worry, it can be confusing and a lot of people will ask, what’s better, balayage or highlights? Tabula Rasa knows how to achieve the perfect look for both, but let’s discuss below. 

At Tabula Rasa Salon in Charleston, SC, our expert stylists can make your dream look a reality. So, if you’re ready for your new look, or need any kind of hair help, book an appointment with us today!

Lighter Hair or Sun-Kissed?

For most of the 2000s, highlights were the go-to hairstyle. Highlights are the traditional way of lightening one’s hair without doing all-over bleach. They can be as subtle or as chunky as the client wants them to be. Highlights are a great way to lighten your hair all over. 

It is a common misconception that “balayage” refers to one specific hair look. This is not the case. Balayage actually refers to the technique of adding lightener to hair. In fact, balayage comes in many different shades, colors, and intensities. Which means if you’re looking for something subtle, darker or sunkissed, this look could be for you. 

What Method Will My Hairstylist use?

The main difference between the highlighting process and the balayage process is the method of application. 

Hairstylists use foils to process highlights throughout entire strands of hair. The foil traps heat in the hair strand to activate the lightener. As a result, highlights span the whole length of the hair in separated sections. If you’ve ever seen someone in the salon with individual foils all over their head, then that’s exactly how they will achieve that brightened look.

Balayage is done free-handed without foils. Hairstylists will essentially paint on lightener in specific spots to combine the client’s darker roots with lighter ends. This technique is very individualized for each client. So if you have something unique you want to do with your color, balayage could be the way to go. 

Which Looks Better?

This is a subjective question. Every client has their own vision or opinion on how their hair should look. In general, highlights provide an overall lightened appearance to the hair. Balayage simulates an ombre effect from the roots to the tips of the hair strands. 

Highlights are more prevalent in the hair world. They can be lightened to almost any intensity and weaved as heavily or as lightly throughout the hair as the client wants. 

Conversely, balayage produces a warmer, gradient result through the ends of the hair. It weaves lightener more freely throughout the framing pieces of hair down to the ends. 

So, What Do I Ask For?

If you’re going for a light, bright do, highlights are likely what you want. For those looking for that natural, sunkissed effect, balayage will do the trick. If you’re not sure, bring a picture of what you want along and ask which technique was likely used. If you don’t have a picture ask your stylist to show you examples of both, and make the decision for yourself. Either way, we know you will look stunning!

Visit Tabula Rasa Salon Today

If you’re ready to get your dream look, or need some urgent hair advice, book an appointment at Tabula Rasa Salon today. We’re excited to welcome you in!