What’s the Difference Between Babylights and Balayage

Last update:
Babylights vs Babylights

Babylights vs. Balayage: Babylights are foil highlights that work on fine hair sections for a soft natural blend. On the other hand, Balayage is a freehand technique that creates lightest highlights at the ends of your hair strands.

As a hairstylist, I receive pictures of either babylights or balayage from my clients, aiming to replicate the look in the picture.

And funny enough, a majority confuse one for the other, as they cannot tell the difference. Also, checking online, you’ll notice diverse opinions on the same. Sadly, some are misleading.

In this post, I’m going to break down:

  • What babylights look like and how they’re done?
  • What balayage looks like and how it’s done?
  • How to choose between babylights and balayage?

I want you to have nothing but the truth about babylights and balayage hair.

What Are Babylights?

Babylights are a modest foil technique of spicing up the hair color to a more powerful dimension. That’s from the hair close to the scalp to the hair ends.

By incorporating babylights, you eliminate the monotonous appearance of the same hair color.

This modern coloring technique springs to mind upon a quick mention of highlights.

They’re suitable for anyone who looks to transition their hair color to a stylish appeal but not to an extreme extent. It goes well with fine hair.

And as the name suggests, babylights recreate the natural hair color of babies. At the same time, they bring out the finest color appearance, more specifically, the brightest blondes.

Babylights Hair Color.jpg

What Do Babylights Look Like?

Babylights result in a fine color fusion. The hair colorist evokes a classic, fresh-looking, sun-kissed appearance.

It’s more of super-fine color streaks blending into your real hair color. It looks natural.

Even when there’s hair growing out, it’s hard to find a color disparity between the highlights and your real hair.

You’ll also discover about babylights that the roots and ends of the hair tend to be more bright-colored. The bleach gets applied to the entire sectioned hair, though. That’s something sort of baby-like blonde color.

Babylights hair technique

How Are Babylights Done?

Your hair colorist takes small hair volume into the foil wrap as they’re small highlights. And foils are one of the hair tools like in traditional highlights. [1]

Right at the starting point, the color professional takes the pointed tip of a rat tail comb. Then, weaves your hair into fine pieces and leaves out very little hair between the foils.

Most colorists prefer working from the back hairline towards the front.

The fine hair pieces get laid on a piece of foil and painted heavily with bleach. The colorist then folds the foil in thirds and seals on the sides to ensure tightness. That’s to prevent the foils from slipping out while working on the remaining hair.

This process repeats itself until the whole hair mass is finally bleached. That takes anything from 30 minutes to 1 ¼ hour for a full head.

What Is Balayage?

Similarly, balayage is the rage these days, donned by most fashionable celebrities. Actually, balayage in the real sense is a french term that means “sweep” and alludes to a sweeping motion. [2]

Balayage is a color technique involving big sweeps randomly over the hair strands. This form of highlighting generates the brightest color at the ends of the hair strands. The ends achieve the greatest highlighting effect.

And since it’s a technique that bleaches large hair sections, it best fits women with thick hair. The blend will come out finer and more natural while elevating to a brighter style.

Balayage Hair Color

What Does Balayage Look Like?

Going deeper into the details, balayage has the hair at the roots, otherwise known as the crown, retaining its natural color.

As you move further down the hair strands, the lighter the bleach color gets. And the natural hair color fades until it’s no longer visible.

That amalgamation of shades on the hair spans out immense glamour.

Also, the appearance looks enriched by the sun’s rays. It whips up an informal feel, especially if aiming to look easy-going and nothing official.

Balayage hair technique

How Is Balayage Done?

First, the hair colorist parts the hair into sections with a tail comb. It could be sections in the form of four quadrants.

These sections are sub-sectioned diagonally into big chunks starting from the back right. The diagonal cutting movement ensures perfect blending.

The colorist then brushes in the bleach with light, quick strokes without pushing down the hair. The hair at the crowns stays untouched.

And maximum saturation of the bleaching agent is at the ends. The outcome is a gradually brightening shade on the hair and pops of highlights on the hair sections.

How to Choose between Babylights and Balayage

Picking between these two color techniques requires you to consider several things. That’s to take the right option suitable for your hair.


Babylights tend to give result of a fabulous subtle blended finish. It brings out vibrance and brighter hair. That’s something similar to the glowing appearance of your hair when hit by the sun.

The new shades meld with your natural hair color exquisitely. The look is more casual. In fact, it appears more naturalistic with a unique bright baby blonde. [3]

Balayage accentuates glamorous chunky shades in the hair. These shades start from a point close to mid-length, getting brighter as you move down the hair strands.

The ends turn out the brightest, while your hair at the roots is the least bright and unbleached. This appearance is attractive and spectacular.


Surprisingly, balayage is more expensive than babylights. That’s a plus on babylights, being that they have some similarities with regular highlights.

The cost of a balayage hairdo ranges anywhere from $70 to $200. This varies with the expertise of the color professional and the extent of color coverage.

It will be cheaper If the balayage application is light and done on some head sections. But it will be more costly if it’s done full head.

Balayage is costly because few colorists specialize in balayage applications. That’s contrary to the fact that they’re less time-consuming and easier to do.

If you choose to go with babylights, the pricing of color application lies between $70 and $150. This price variation depends on the precision and the amount of time taken.

Hair Texture

Considering this factor is the most critical ordeal. Whichever you choose between the two should harmoniously blend with your hair texture. Remember, the ultimate goal is to look beautiful and elegant.

Babylights are fittable for all hair textures, whether fine or thick hair.

But it works better on fine hair. That’s because the precision lies with small hair sections, which is less hair damaging. Thin hair is small in volume, thereby more susceptible to hair damage.

As for balayage, it’s more suited for thick hair. If applied to thinned hair, the color contrasts will be too conspicuous.

But, it defines curls more in curled hair. Hence it’s ideal for curly or wavy hair for extra allure and elegance.

Hair Color

The advantage of babylights is that they’re applicable to any hair color. It doesn’t matter whether you have dark-colored or bright ombre hair color.

These baby-like highlights offer a seamless blend. You can choose to opt for bright to the brightest bleaches.

Conversely, balayage works best on dark natural hair color. With balayage, the colorist looks to ensure the ends are the lightest and most distinct.

In that case, blonde hair is unworkable with balayage. Since the roots are already light, it would be challenging to tone the mid-shaft to the ends to a lighter shade.


Ladies intolerant to frequent salon appointments should smile upon hearing this. Both babylights and balayage are low-maintenance color techniques.

But balayage may stay longer, up to 6 months before your next salon visit. This would depend on what height from the ends your colorist reached while balayage. Babylights need refreshment every 8-14 weeks.

The hair growing out continues to blend in with the color dimension. There’s no visible distinction between the highlighted hair and your natural hair.

As a matter of fact, you can tell the difference after the hair has grown out to a massive length. That will definitely be after a long time.

In Conclusion

Choosing between balayage and babylights for your hair should be easy now. With the thoroughly-explained difference, you’ll be able to select the most suitable color technique.

Above all, always ensure you work out something that aligns with your hair taste and desires. And if you’re still undecided, consult with a trusted hair colorist for the best recommendations.

Related articles:

30 Celebrities Who Wear Hairpieces

Braid Out vs Twist Out: Which One Is Better

What Is Remy Hair? Everything You Need to Know

Author: Charity Nasike


Charity Nasike is a passionate wig wearer and basically has diverse knowledge related to wigs' care and maintenance. When she's not writing, she's either in the kitchen trying out new recipes or on social media advising fellow ladies tricks to apply on their wigs.

Save 80% on your next human hair order!

We have partnered with Unice.com to offer the best deal on high-quality virgin human hair to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.

Quality Human Hairs

Leave a Comment