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Balayage vs Highlights: Which Is Right for You?

Balayage vs Highlights: Which Is Right for You?

Balayage vs Highlights: Which Is Right for You? A survey showed that the average woman is expected to change her hair 150 times over her lifetime. Many of these hair changes are highlights or colors. You may wonder about balayage vs. highlights if you want to change your hair. These are two ways to color hair that many women may be on the fence about.


How you alter your hair has a significant impact on how you feel. Many women have treatments done on their hair to make them feel younger and more attractive. Keep reading to determine whether balayage vs. highlights would be better for you.

How you alter your hair has a significant impact on how you feel. Many women have treatments done on their hair to make them feel younger and more attractive. Keep reading to determine whether balayage vs. highlights would be better for you.


What Are Highlights?

We first need to discuss what highlights are and how they affect your hair. These two ways to color hair will be a huge deciding factor. Highlights are more popular than balayage and more well-known. This does not mean that highlights are better, but more accessible.


Highlighting is the process that lightens and adds depth to your hair. For example, aluminum foil is a material used to highlight separate strips of your hair from the root to the tip. This creates a beautiful effect that gives your hair natural highlights and depth. This imitates the impact that specific hair colors get from sunlight.


You can use highlights for all colors of hair to create that depth. In addition, it keeps your hair from looking flat and dull by giving it the illusion of brightness. The highlighting process is also quite simple, so this is a popular option amongst most women. Any salon or hairstyling shop will offer to highlight.

Types of Highlights

Now that you know the highlights, you should know the different options. Regarding what highlights, there isn’t just one type to choose from. Part of why hair highlights are so popular is that there are so many varieties you can choose from.


These different highlights create different effects and are ideal for different kinds of hair. If you want highlights done, you should familiarize yourself with these. This way, you can pick the highlights that compliment your hair the most.

Mini Highlights

The most minimal style of highlights is mini highlights. Or you may hear them called baby lights as well. These highlights are very minimal and create a subtle effect. In addition, small highlights will surround your face so your hair brightens. This will not cover all of your hair as traditional highlights do. However, this treatment is faster, and mini highlights are easier to maintain for most women.


Choosing this option is also less of an investment into highlights. If you are unsure if you would like highlights, this can be a great option to give you a taste of what they are like.

Full Highlights

Another common type of highlights is full highlights. This is when your stylist will add highlights over your entire head of hair. This is the more traditional approach, and the effect brightens and lightens.


Full highlights will make your hair look drastically lighter, especially for specific hair colors. However, it is important to remember that full highlights are more time intensive and will require more maintenance.

Partial Highlights

One highlight option is in the middle of mini and full or partial highlights. This is when most of your hair is highlighted to create a better effect. Partial highlights do not create as drastic an appearance as full highlights do. This will give you a sun-kissed look like you have been enjoying the sun all week. Specific strands of hair are highlighted to give this appearance without lightening all of your hair. It is a faster process and is more realistic for most women.


Something that you may not have heard of before is lowlights. Lowlights are created by using the same kind of process you use for highlights, but the effect is different. Lowlights are used to darken sections of your hair instead of lightening them. This adds depth and dimension but will not give you that sun-kissed look. This can be an excellent option for those who do not want their hair to look lighter. Depending on your preference, it can add dimension to lighter or darker hair types.

Cap Highlights

Another form of highlights is cap highlights, where a plastic cap is part of your treatment. Small holes cover the cap, and hair strands are lightened through them. If done right, highlights should give a very subtle look to your hair. Tiny strands of highlighted hair blend in perfectly, providing a natural highlighted look.


One reason why you may want to choose this option is that it protects your scalp as well. The cap will protect your scalp from any irritation if you have sensitivities.

What Is Balayage?

Now that you know all that there is to know about highlights, let’s talk about balayage. If you want to know what balayage is, this hair treatment is similar to highlights. Balayage is a French word used to describe a specific form of highlighting. This type of treatment is when the highlights are hand-painted onto your hair.


Your stylist will randomly pick sections of hair to brush the solution over. The highlight usually begins in the mid-shaft and becomes lighter towards the tips. What many people get confused about is that balayage is not a treatment. Instead, Balayage is a technique used to create highlights without foil.


Balayage is preferred if you want a more natural highlight look. It also saves your hair from the damage it could sustain from heat insulation from the foil. Some people even use balayage over their entire heads to create a lightening effect without bleaching their hair. Doing this saves you from treating your roots as they grow out. One of the best things about balayage is that it is straightforward to maintain. The color is kept just a few shades lighter than your hair, so it maintains a natural look.

Types of Balayage

If you want to get a balayage treatment done on your hair, you must know which option to choose. Like traditional highlights, there are different types of balayage for different effects. When choosing between balayage versus highlights, you want to be well-educated. This is a significant time and money investment, and you want to choose the right option.

Full Balayage

One type of balayage you can try is full balayage. This is when your stylist will paint your entire head of hair for a dramatic lightening effect. Doing this will lighten all of your hair a few shades and give it a brighter look. It does not change the color of your roots, so you do not have to upkeep your root color. This creates more of a color change effect than a highlighting effect.

Partial Balayage

A partial balayage treatment will give you a more traditional highlighted look. This is when your stylist will paint specific sections of your hair. Strategic sections of hair will be painted so that they can be lightened. When this is done, you will get those traditional highlights that give you a sun-kissed appearance. Having this treatment done gives your hair more depth and shine. It does not change your overall hair color; it only adds dimension and freshness.

Reverse Balayage

Like having lowlights done, reverse balayage is when you get dark highlights. Your sections of hair will be painted with a solution to make them darker rather than lighter.


This can add a lot of depth and dimension to your natural hair color. Many women choose this option when they are moving into different seasons of the year. It can also be a great way to see if you want to go a shade darker with your hair color.

Who Should Get Highlights?

The differences between balayage and highlights are very subtle. Because of this, it can be difficult to know which option is best for you. For the most part, highlights will create a stronger effect on your hair. This is because they are bolder, brighter, and will have a noticeable highlighted look.


This can be a great option if you already have light hair that you want to brighten. However, highlighting light hair can be difficult, so you may need that intense effect. Although, it is essential to remember that traditional highlighting can be damaging. The process of highlighting your hair can be harsh and can strip your hair.


You must be prepared to take good care of highlights afterward and replenish them. Those with very damaged hair will need to pay even more attention to the care of their highlights.


If you still want to get highlights, you should save this treatment for the summer months. Most women prefer to get highlights during summer to give them a sun-kissed look that they may not get naturally. If you use highlights sparingly, your hair should be fine and should remain undamaged.

Who Should Get Balayage?

One of the benefits of balayage is that it creates a more subtle appearance than traditional highlights. However, it will not give you an effect that is as obvious. Many people prefer balayage if they want a more natural look for their hair color. The balayage process helps blend the highlights with your natural hair seamlessly.


This creates a beautiful effect that can be as bright or subtle as you prefer. It is also less damaging to your hair, as no foil is involved. Those with dry or slightly damaged hair can still enjoy highlights with balayage. This makes it the best option if you want to have highlights year-round and need to get them frequently.

How to Care for Balayage or Highlights

When you are deciding between balayage vs. highlights, you need to consider how to care for them. How you care for your hair afterward is very important for these effects. Highlight and balayage can both last very long if cared for properly. If you do not take good care of them, all of that hard work can quickly be lost.


Caring for either option is going to be mostly the same process. The main thing to remember is that you need to wash your hair less frequently, which helps preserve the highlights. Washing your hair often also strips your hair, which is something that the highlighting process has already done. You will also want to protect your hair from anything that could damage it.


You should reduce the amount of heat you use on your hair and protect it from the elements. Choosing color-safe formulas when caring for your hair is also important in preserving highlights. This is a great time to try new hair products and experiment with heatless hairstyles.

Choosing Between Balayage Vs. Highlights

You may wonder about balayage vs. highlights if you want to change your hair. These are two popular ways to color hair that you may be interested in. Do you want to get a treatment done on your hair to lighten it? Contact us today at Salon Efrain for highlights and balayage hair treatments.