I have been getting a lot of questions about the difference between a highlight and a balayage so I wanted to take a few minutes to describe each service and give you a visual reference of the difference between the two techniques.
What are HIGHLIGHTS?
A common misconception is that highlights are BLONDE streaks running through brown hair. That couldn't be further from the truth. Highlights are small sections of hair that are lighter than your base or natural color. They do not have to be blonde, just lighter than your over all color. So a brunette could do caramel or light brown highlights, instead of blonde.
The pictures above give you an idea of what a highlight can look like.
In terms of technique, this service is done with the help of aluminum foils. Sections of hair (intensity, size, placement and tone are all planned beforehand) are saturated in color from scalp to ends and covered in foil to trap in heat to lighten the hair. Most of the time, a glaze or tone is needed after the highlights are placed to achieve the desired tone/color.
The average time between highlights because they are placed right next to the scalp is 6-8 weeks.
What is a BALAYAGE?
Balayage is a French word that means, "to sweep". In this technique the color is swept or painted onto sections of your hair in a freehand manner. Usually the color is applied mid-strand to the ends, giving a very natural and diffused look to the highlights. More of a sun-kissed look.
As you can see from the pictures above, there are many different variations of a balayage, some being more intense and others more subtle. The common aspect is the seamless and diffused blend from the base color (the color at the scalp) to the lighter highlights that run through the ends.
This look adds a ton of depth and dimension to your hair and gives you a more graceful grow out than a traditional highlight. Average time between visits with a balayage can be anywhere from 8-12 weeks.
Regular conditioning treatments should be a part of your hair care routine with either of these color services as any time you lighten your hair, you will need to replenish the natural nutrients and repair the bonds within your hair to maintain healthy locks!
I hope this helps loves!