Balayage vs Highlights: The Ultimate guide to it!

Balayage vs highlights are two popular techniques for hair color that many stylists use to create a sun-kissed look. Balayage is a French term for painting, and it is a technique that involves sweeping hair color on the surface of the hair, creating a natural-looking, sun-kissed finish.

Highlights, on the other hand, involve sectioning off hair and painting the color on the strands, creating a more uniform look. In today’s blog post, we’ll give a thorough guideline on the basic details and differences between Balayage vs highlights.

What is balayage?

Balayage is a freehand hair color technique that has become popular recently. It is a more natural and subtle effect compared to traditional hair coloring methods such as foil highlighting. The color is painted onto the hair in a sweeping motion rather than applied in sections with foil.

Types of balayage

There are many different balayage highlighting techniques, each suited to different hair types, lengths, and desired results. The most common types of balayage are Full balayage, Partial balayage, Foilyage, classic balayage, ombre balayage, reverse balayage and babylights.

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Full balayage

Full balayage is a hair coloring technique that involves hand-painting highlights onto the hair. The highlights are placed strategically to create depth and dimension.

Partial balayage

Partial balayage is a hair coloring technique used to achieve a natural-looking, sun-kissed effect. It can be used to add dimension to a hairstyle and can be used to cover gray hairs.

Reverse balayage

Reverse balayage is a low-maintenance way to add color and dimension to your hair without the commitment of an all-over color service.


Foilyage is a hair highlighting technique that combines traditional foils with balayage. Foilyage requires minimal upkeep and allows for the hair to look fresh while growing out.

What are the highlights?

Highlights are sections of hair that have been lightened or colored differently from the rest of the hair. They are a great way to add dimension and interest to your hairstyle.

Types of highlights?

There are various highlights such as Balayage, Full highlights, Partial highlights, Mini Highlights, Foils highlights, Cap Highlights,  Lowlights, Babylights, Ombre, Sombre, Color melting, Smudging, and Block coloring.

Full highlights

Full highlights involve lightening the hair to a lighter shade than the natural shade. The color used for highlights can be anything from blonde to red to even shades of blue and purple.

Partial highlights

Partial highlights are a hair coloring technique where only a few strands of hair are lightened. This technique is used to add depth and dimension to the hair while still maintaining a natural look.

Mini Highlights

Mini Highlights are a form of hair coloring that involve just a few strands of hair being lightened. They are generally applied to the top layers of hair and frame the face, adding dimension and color.

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Foil Highlights

Foil highlights are a highlighting technique used in hair coloring and styling. The foil helps to keep the dye or lightener in place and also helps to heat the product, which can help to speed up the processing time.

Cap Highlights

Cap highlights are a hair-highlighting technique that involves placing colored highlights inside a cap. It is great for those who want to add subtle, natural-looking highlights to their hair without needing foils or other highlighting tools.


Lowlights are a hair coloring technique used to create a softer, more subtle look than traditional highlights.

Difference Between balayage and Highlighting hair

The main difference between Balayage vs highlights is how the color is applied. Balayage is a technique in which the color is painted in a sweeping motion, usually starting at the root and getting lighter toward the tips.

Highlighting is a technique in which the color is placed in very specific sections, usually in foil, to create a more distinct look.

Pros And Cons Of Balayage


  • Low Maintenance
  • Natural Looking
  • Versatile
  • Cost Effective
  • Long-Lasting


  • Requires frequent touch-ups
  • Challenging to achieve at home
  • Can be damaging
  • Expensive
  • Not ideal for all hair types

Pros And Cons Of Highlights 


  • Adds Dimension and Depth to Hair.
  • Enhances Natural Hair Color.
  • It gives Hair More Volume.
  • Can be Used to Cover Greys.
  • Easy to Maintain.


  • Can be time-consuming
  • Can be expensive
  • It can damage hair if done incorrectly.
  • Highlights can fade quickly.
  • It can be challenging to apply it evenly.


Does balayage look like highlights?

Yes, balayage is a form of highlighting that creates a sun-kissed look with subtle, blended highlights.

Why is balayage more expensive than highlights?

Balayage is typically more expensive than highlights because it is more time-consuming and precise. 

Which is healthier highlights or balayage?

Generally speaking, balayage is the healthier option for hair.

What is easier to maintain highlights or balayage?

Highlights are usually easier to maintain than balayage because they require less frequent touch-ups. Balayage typically requires more maintenance and frequent salon visits.

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