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  • Writer's pictureKim Giles

How To Decide Between a Balayage or Highlight

Updated: Jan 2, 2023


How To Decide Between a Balayage or Highlight
How To Decide Between a Balayage or Highlight

Ever since balayage hit La Jolla, I've been asked how it differs as compared to a highlight. Deciding whether you need a hair highlight or a balayage can be a bit tricky, but don't worry - I'm here to help you figure it out.


First of all, let's define what each of these treatments is. A hair highlight involves lightening small sections of hair to create a multi-dimensional, natural-looking color. This can be done with either foil or a cap, and the end result is a more structured, defined look.


On the other hand, a balayage involves painting lightener directly onto the hair, allowing for a more natural, graduated effect. This technique creates a sun-kissed, natural-looking color that is more subtle and less defined than traditional highlights.


So, how do you know which treatment is right for you? Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Your desired look: If you want a more defined, structured look with a lot of contrast, a traditional highlight may be the way to go. However, if you want a more natural, graduated effect, a balayage might be better suited to your needs.

  • Your natural hair color: If you have very dark hair, a traditional highlight may be more effective at creating the contrast you want. However, if you have lighter hair, a balayage can create a subtle, natural-looking effect.

  • Your hair type: If you have fine or thin hair, a balayage can add depth and dimension without weighing your hair down. However, if you have thick or coarse hair, a traditional highlight can help add structure and definition.

  • Your maintenance level: If you're willing to commit to regular touch-ups to maintain your color, a traditional highlight can give you a more long-lasting result. However, if you prefer a low-maintenance option, a balayage can help you achieve a more natural, lived-in look that doesn't require as much upkeep.

Ultimately, the best way to determine which treatment is right for you is to consult with a professional hairstylist. They can assess your hair type, color, and desired look, and help you choose the right treatment to achieve your desired result.


In general, both highlights and balayage treatments can be a great way to add dimension, depth, and interest to your hair. The key is to choose the right technique for your hair type, color, and desired look, and to work with a professional who can help you achieve the best possible result.


Common questions I hear from my clients:


How much does a balayage cost? The cost varies, but it typically starts at $200. Please book an appointment or send me a message to understand more for your particular hair style.


How long does a balayage appointment inside a salon take? About 2 1/2 to 3 hours. How do you pronounce "balayage"? We say it like bah-lay-age (but say the age part like the 'age' in garage).

How long does a balayage last? In my experience, a balayage will last about 2 to 4 months. This depends on your lifestyle and environmental exposure.

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