How To DIY Balayage Highlights/Ombre At Home

I’m a glutton for hair trends. I always need to try the latest style. So when I heard about the balayage style, I knew I had to give it a shot.

Keep reading to learn everything there is about this trend, including DIY balayage techniques and tips on how to maintain it. Let’s learn how to do balayage hair color!

What Is Balayage?

Balayage is a word we’ve borrowed from the French language. It means to sweep or paint. The results of a balayage hairstyle resemble a natural look that might remind you of a sun-kissed hue.

Think of it as a very natural color application. When done correctly, no one will have any idea that the color you’re rocking isn’t the one you were born with.

What's the Difference Between a Balayage and an Ombre?

To understand the difference between the two styles, you first must understand what an ombre is.

Ombre is another borrowed French word that means shadow, which perfectly describes the style if you’re familiar with it. An ombre style features a darker shade on the top of the head, which is often natural, that suddenly transitions into a lighter shade at the bottom.

It can be described as ‘color blocking’ when done right.

Balayage is similar, but instead of blocking the color, color is swept through portions of the hair.

In an ombre style, there will only be dark shades on top and only light shades on the bottom. In balayage, you’ll find that the different shades are more blended than separated.

This gives the look a more natural feel and resembles those summer highlights everyone craves

Product List and Tools for Balayage at Home?

While you can always visit a salon for your balayage fix, it’s not too hard to complete the process at home if you have a little experience with hair dye. Here’s what you’ll need for a DIY balayage treatment:

  • Hair dye (I recommend only going up to 3 shades lighter; this will give you the most natural effect)
  • Gloves
  • Vaseline
  • Hair Clips
  • Brushes (to section hair and to brush dye on hair if you don’t want to use your fingers)

Step-By-Step Technique to Do Balayage at Home

Now that you have your tools and products ready, follow these steps for an easy DIY balayage technique.

1. Start with an allergy patch test. Even if you’ve used the exact same hair dye before, take the time to make sure you won’t be damaging your hair or experiencing negative reactions from the product.

2. Once you know you'll react positively to the products you’re using, it’s time to begin your balayage at-home treatment. Start by sectioning your hair.

Divide it into four even sections. Then divide each section into two or more sections, depending on the thickness of your hair. Twist these sections and secure them with clips.

3. Next, apply a barrier of Vaseline to your hairline so you don’t end up with dyed skin.

4. Prepare your dye as directed. Working with small sections of twisted hair, apply the dye to the lengths of your hair.

Avoid getting the color on your roots or scalp. Blend the color into your hair using downward strokes. You can use your fingers to achieve a more natural look. Just make sure you wear gloves.

5. Keep applying color until all desired areas are fully saturated. Remember, you don’t want to cover every exposed strand. Instead, focus on spreading the color only to the areas of your hair that would normally receive sun exposure.

Having your hair twisted should prevent the color from reaching every strand. If you completely cover your hair, you’ll end up with an unattractive and strangely-colored mess.

6. Dispose of any unused color. Wait the recommended amount of time before rinsing and conditioning your hair. Dry and style as desired.

How Long Will Creating the Balayage Take?

The length of your DIY balayage treatment will depend on your skill level. Because you’ll be working with sections of your hair rather than applying the color to every strand, your balayage at-home treatment could take up to an hour.

The more efficient you are, the faster your treatment will go.

You should do a strand test before applying the color. This will let you know your time frame. This is especially true for balayage on black hair, as black hair is often harder to alter.

The longer you leave the color in, the lighter the results. This means that if it takes you too long to apply the color, you can end up with one side of your head being much lighter than the other.

It takes a little practice, but you’ll have your balayage technique down in no time, and the results will be stunning!

Can You Do a DIY Balayage Without Bleaching the Hair?

Yes. Coloring your hair doesn’t always involve bleach. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend using bleach to achieve a balayage style in the majority of cases.

Try not to worry yourself about hair damage when it comes to learning how to balayage. Today’s hair coloring products are very gentle and can leave your hair looking and feeling better than it did before adding the color.

So while there are instances where bleaching the hair is unavoidable in balayage, the majority of situations don’t require you to approach them with this technique.

Are There Different Types of Balayage Techniques for Different Types of Hair?

Yes. You’ll need to tweak your balayage technique for different types of hair. Here are a few examples, depending on the type of balayage you’re looking for.

Caramel Balayage

This type of balayage is subtle but can give you a warm hue that you’ll love. If you have dark hair and an olive skin tone, caramel is a much better option than blonde.

This is also an option for balayage on black hair, but proceed with caution. Don’t go too light.

Red Balayage

If you have red hair, balayage can really make your skin tone and hair pop. You can also get away with adding fewer highlights.

If you’re not sure if balayage is for you, start by trying a few of the highlights just around your face. The change is subtle, but still gorgeous.

If you’re a strawberry blonde, try a honey blonde shade. If your hair is more vibrant, copper highlights could be perfect.

Blonde Balayage

If you want to make sure your DIY balayage for blondes looks great, stick with highlights that match your skin tone. Not everyone can pull off the blonde balayage, so make sure that your skin pigmentation can handle a blonde shade.

If you have medium brown hair, try going with platinum balayage highlights. If your hair is more of a caramel shade, try golden blonde highlights.

Thick Hair

If your hair is very thick, it can be hard to accomplish the balayage look by yourself. But it’s not impossible.

Just make sure you work with very small sections and apply enough colorant to cover enough strands. You don’t want to skimp and end up with such a subtle balayage that no one notices.

Thin Hair

When working with thin hair, it’s best to keep the sections larger. Otherwise, you might accidentally color the entire section and end up with a sloppy ombre look instead.

Brush the color in lightly. You can always add more dye as needed, but you can’t take it away once it’s been added.

How to Do Balayage with Virgin Hair

If your hair has never been colored, it’s really easy to learn how to balayage! Just follow the above guide.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to go a few shades lighter than the recommendation if your hair is very dark.

It’s also very important to do a swatch test if you’ve never dyed your hair before. You don’t want to damage your hair doing a balayage technique, as the dye will be throughout the entire length of your hair.

If you’ve never colored your hair before, balayage could be the perfect introduction to coloring.

How to Do Balayage with Colored Hair

So remember when we talked about bleach and balayage? Here’s how to balayage when your hair is already altered.

If your hair is already dyed, it’s impossible to complete a balayage at home using the previous technique. That’s because color won’t lift color, no matter how long you leave it in.

Instead, you’ll end up damaging your hair, and you’ll be disappointed in your lack of results and wasted time.

So if you already have colored hair, here’s how to do balayage without damaging it.

1. Gather your supplies, including a bleaching kit, gloves, hair clips, and brushes.

2. Start with an allergy test. Even if you’ve used a bleaching kit on your hair before, take the time to make sure you won’t be damaging your hair or experiencing negative reactions from the product.

3. Once you know you'll react positively to the products you’re using, it’s time to begin your balayage at home treatment. Start by sectioning your hair.

Divide it into four even sections. Then divide each section into two or more sections, depending on the thickness of your hair. Twist these sections and secure them with clips.

4. Prepare your bleach as directed. Working with small sections of twisted hair, apply the bleach to the lengths of your hair. Avoid getting the bleach on your roots or scalp.

Brush the bleach in a downward motion. You can use your fingers to achieve a more natural look. Just make sure you wear gloves.

5. Keep applying the bleaching cream until all desired areas are fully saturated. Remember, you don’t want to cover every exposed strand.

Instead, focus on spreading the bleach only to the areas of your hair that would normally receive sun exposure. Having your hair twisted should prevent the bleach from reaching every strand.

6. Wait the recommended amount of time before rinsing and conditioning your hair. This is where it gets tricky though.

If you don’t wait long enough, you’ll end up with an orange tone and then you’ll need to know how to get rid of brassy hair. But if you wait too long, your hair could be overly bleached and unnatural looking.

This is why you might want to enlist the help of a friend or two to help you monitor the shade of your hair, so you’re happy with your results.

Can I Dye My Hair and Add Highlights in the Same Day?

Technically, yes. But when it comes to balayage, this might not work out so well for you.

If you want to dye your hair and add highlights in the same day, it’s recommended to use foil. Foil doesn’t work when it comes to balayage because it doesn’t provide you with the natural sun-kissed look that you’re after.

If you’re dying your hair and adding highlights, any color specialist will tell you that you have to use foils. There’s just no way around it.

Otherwise, the color won’t take right and you’ll end up with brassy or damaged hair. If this happens, pick up a toner for brassy hair to correct it.

If you want to have a balayage style but want to dye your hair first, you’re either going to have to dye it and then wait several days before bleaching it to get the balayage look, or you’re going to have to simply add the balayage highlights to your natural hair.

I suggest trying this. After all, the balayage could be the change your hair needs to look its best, instead of a complete overhaul.

There you have it—DIY Balayage for every hair color and type. If you haven’t tried this trend yet, I would definitely put it on your schedule.

You’ll love it when you first try it, but your admiration for this new style will grow every time you look in the mirror.

Don’t miss out on this fun and sexy trend. Create your balayage at home kit and get started!

Hi, I’m Jessie. One of my biggest passions in life is beauty and cosmetics. I have also wanted to create a website where I could help readers with the way they look. Here you will find reviews on the best beauty products on the market. Plus I give advice and tips on how to look GORGEOUS x

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