Y’all know we’ve been on board with ombre hair and its many variations (sombre, anyone?) for a long time and are always scouting for a new take on the trend. If you’ve heard your stylist whip around the word “balayage,” that’s when we suggest you perk up — it’s *the* hair color trend to try.
Balayage is a French free-handed (read: foil-free) highlighting technique that will make you look perfectly sun-kissed, like a subtle, blended ombre (and really, who isn’t down for that?). Most colorists are adept at balayage, but eSalon (the personalized hair color that’s delivered to your door) is releasing an at-home kit in March 2017 (it’s available now for existing customers). LightLab (starting at $14) includes everything you need (including the brush!) to lighten your hair up to three shades.
Need a little inspiration before you hit the styling chair? Read on for 23 gorgeous examples of why balayage is the look for you.
1. Muted Tones: For those gals looking to ease their way into the balayage trend, try opting for a more subtle shade that will blend into your natural root color. It’s like the hue you were born with, but better. (via Song of Style)
2. Perfectly Blended: You know a balayage is done correctly if you can’t see lines where it starts and ends. A perfectly-blended application will leave your color looking like an upgraded version of your natural shade. No one will ever know you hit up the salon! (via Hello Rigby)
3. Monochromatic: Many people assume that balayage has to be brown fading into blonde, but you can choose to keep things simple with a monochromatic option. Opt for a gradual fade — like dark brown into chestnut — instead of a more dramatic look. (via Hair Play)
4. Warm Blonde: Keep your tresses looking California chic with a sunkissed, warm blonde on the ends. It’s the perfect look to rock as we transition from one season to another — especially when it’s warm outside! (via The Blonde Salad)
5. The Color Trio: Take note from this beauty and opt for the darkest shade at the root fading into a lighter shade followed by a bright pop at the ends. Talk about multidimensional and totally unexpected! (via Negin Mirsalehi)
6. High Up: Many hair dressers will ask where you want your balayage to start, which totally affects the overall look of your ‘do. Don’t be afraid to start it up high toward your roots for a more highlighted, lifted look. (via Tuula Vintage)
7. Cool and Warm Tones: Keep things interesting by combining both cool and warm colors in your balayage. The gradual mix of these tints makes your hair perfectly-suited for any season, outfit, or destination. (via We Wore What)
8. Golden Brown: Maybe you just returned from a Mediterranean vacation spent sunning yourself on a yacht. Or maybe you and your stylist just conspired to evoke that look, but don’t worry, we’ll never tell. (via Willow Lane)
10. Cool Blonde: If you’ve ever been jealous of the natural highlights children develop in the summer, you can rein in your inner green-eyed monster. With a blonde balayage-d ‘do, you can look that natural too. (via We Heart It)
11. Splashlights: If you’re looking for something edgier, balayage is also used to created a look called the splashlight, where color is only painted onto the middle of the strand. We’re just waiting for this one to take over the runway. (via Everything Emily)
12. Snowy Blonde: Want to go platinum, but afraid to take the plunge? Use balayage to paint it at varying heights on your strands. You get all the wow of such a bright blonde, but you keep the warmer, subtler tones near your face. (via Add Hairstyle)
13. Julia Engel: Not only does balayage created gorgeous, multi-layered color, it also lets you get away with stretching out salon visits just a little longer. Who’s to say if those are roots or just a part of the masterpiece? (via Gal Meets Glam)
14. Highlighted Gray: Kelly Osbourne has been telling us for ages that gray isn’t just for middle-aged women anymore, and we believe her. We’re betting more stylish ladies would rock this color if they knew they could do it with such a variety of tones. (via Miss Teacups)
15. Poppy Montgomery: Most of us don’t have the luxury of being natural redheads, but folding in some blonde balayage can at least make us feel like we are. (Photo via Toby Canham/Getty)
16. Luminous Lights: Whether you’re trying to protect your hair or your wallet from the havoc chemical dyes can wreak, just a few well-placed face-framing pieces can totally liven up your look. (via Elle France)
18. Pastel Pink: While we applaud all you ladies rocking various shades of neon hair, sometimes we want something a little subtler. This pastel pink on platinum blonde fits the bill quite nicely. (via Style Saint)
20. Jamie Chung: It’s no secret we’re big fans of Jamie Chung. We’ll take those loose waves and blonde accents any day. (Photo via Rich Polk/Getty)
23. Caramel Blonde: We love when people use balayage to create highlights of different heights. Case in point: This beauty has a much taller highlight framing her face, while her other highlights naturally fade lower toward the back. (via Hair Product and Technique)
25. Natural Hair: Embracing your hair’s natural texture doesn’t mean you have to embrace its natural color too. Just make sure the dye is applied with your hair dried and styled, so your stylist can get the placement right. (via The Style News Network)
26. Golden Blonde: We’ve shown you some awesome bold looks, but balayage can be used for a natural look too. If you’re not ready to say goodbye to your natural haircolor, just use balayage to perk it up a bit! (via Mr. Anh Co Tran)
Balayage got you dailing up your colorist like that? Follow us on Pinterest for hair inspiration.