Skip to main content

Millis/Medway - Local Town Pages

The b.LUXE beauty beat Balayage or Highlights? Here’s a Little Secret…

By Gina Woelfel

Client: “I’d like to lighten my hair today.”

Stylist: “Great! What do you have in mind?  Or better yet, did you bring an inspiration picture?”

Client: “No, I don’t have any pictures, I just want a blonde balayage.”

Stylist: “Ok, we can highlight your hair a number of ways. What kind of look are you going for?”

Client: “Oh no, I don’t want highlights, I just want a blonde balayage.”

Balayage or Highlights? Confused about what to ask your hairstylist for? You’re not alone. If you’re fretting on which service is best for you, stop worrying! Here’s something I bet you didn’t know:

Balayage is simply a highlighting technique to get you to the desired look you want. In recent years, though, the word Balayage has become synonymous with dark-rooted, blonde hair, and most clients that request it are actually just looking for that specific style. In reality, multiple techniques are used to attain that look. Balayage, Foilayage, Baby lights, Teasylights and Foil Highlights are all just different names for coloring techniques used to lighten (and sometimes darken) your hair.

These techniques aren’t just for blonding anymore. The brunette Balayage is huge this summer and the perfect way for all you darker haired beauties to boost your brown tresses. 

With that, let’s chat about our two most popular coloring services - Balayage and Foil Highlights. 

Balayage, pronounced BAH-LEE-AHGE, means “to sweep” in French, and is, by far, the most requested color service at The b.LUXE Studio. Highlights are hand-painted directly on the hair to create a natural gradient from dark to light. The lightened pieces appear more naturally placed and lived-in, which mimics what the sun does to our hair naturally. This free-form color application can be heavy or subtle, depending on how the stylist sections your hair. But, (and this is a big but) Balayage is not for everyone and can only lift (lighten) hair about 3-4 shades. So, if you’re a dark brunette looking for light, honey-blonde highlights, this technique is not for you. 

But, fear not, blonde-seekers! The Balayage “look” you so desire is still well within your reach.

If your hair does need a considerable amount of lift, your stylist will need to use foil highlights.

Now, I’m sure for some of you, the word “foils’’ is conjuring up painful memories of the overly-streaky highlights of the early aughts. But, take a deep breath. Today’s highlighting techniques and products are far superior to their predecessors and allow for precision placement and tone. 

Here’s a breakdown of both services: 


• Free-hand, non-foil highlighting technique that can lift hair 3-4 shades

• Creates a soft, natural gradation of lightness, usually deeper closer to the root and lighter towards the ends, giving that beachy-blonde, lived-in look.

• Takes between 2 to 5 hours, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. 

• Maintenance: Every 12-18 weeks with a gloss/toner refresh around the 6-8 week mark to revive your blonde tone. With the darker root and no obvious demarcation line of regrowth, Balayage is considered a more low-maintenance highlighting technique with more time between appointments.


• Foiling is the preferred method for that all-over, big, blonde look. 

• Color is usually placed evenly along the whole section of hair, from root to tip.

• Sheets of foil are used as a platform for color and lightener. They encapsulate and separate highlights to boost lift while processing.

• Your stylist may choose to use one color or multiple colors for a more multi-dimensional result.

• Foil highlights take between 2 to 3 hours and are very precise and can be placed close to the root or mid-shaft to achieve a Balayage effect when hair needs to be lifted more than 3-4 shades. (See, we told you not to worry!) 

• Maintenance: Every 6-10 weeks.

A few important things to remember…

You DON’T need to be well-versed in cosmetology to book a color appointment, but you do need to plan ahead. First, bring a few pictures to show your hairdresser the exact style and color you want. Why? Well, for example, your idea of what honey-blonde looks like may be wildly different than what your stylist thinks.  An “inspiration photo” lets your hairdresser know exactly what you want and how they’ll go about getting it.  

Be flexible. Describe the “look” you want and let your stylist use their expertise to suggest what method would work best for you. 

Lastly, (and we can’t stress this enough), before any new color service, book a consultation. At b.LUXE, we offer them virtually or in-person, and they’re always complementary.  These 10 minute appointments are game-changers and give your stylist the chance to analyze your hair, gauge the timing of your appointment, and determine what it will take to achieve and maintain the hairstyle you desire.

We look forward to seeing you (and your inspiration pictures) at the studio this summer! 


Sponsored articles are submitted by our advertisers. The advertiser is solely responsible for the content of this article.