November 14, 2021 by hairstyles
Looking to switch up your basic, tonal locks without a full on commitment? You may want to give subtle balayage a chance. This style of highlighting applies color to only certain parts of the hair, specifically places where light catches or where color would fade out naturally.
Why Try Subtle Balayage?
By going subtle, you’re keeping your hair’s original base color without too much drastic change. Plus, it’s freehanded nature let’s you control how much shading you want to incorporate. While you’re totally in charge with balayage, you’re still open to having a little fun!
#1: Dark Brown Hair with Cinnamon Balayage
As you can see, a brunette balayage adds texture to one-dimensional brown hair. Where light would normally fall, hair is kissed with slightly lighter cinnamon shades for a vibrant effect.
Instagram / @hairbykatlin
#2: Beachy Caramel Balayage
Tousled caramel-tipped locks are a great way to rock subtle balayage blonde without going bleach crazy. No matter how dark your hair is, taking it to blonde requires lightening. If your hair is already warm, incorporate some caramel highlights and even go blonde at the very tips for a beachy, natural vibe.
Instagram / @soraverly
#3: Brunette with Subtle Highlights
Employing the balayage technique with just a shade lighter than your own hair is not only subtle but soft, pretty, and easy to maintain. You won’t be heading to the salon too often with this easy breezy style.
Instagram / @petermenezes
#4: Subtle Ash Balayage
Ash tones are all the rage in hair coloring these days. Transform your brunette or even blonde hair with a cooler silver, more muted tone.
Instagram / @anthonyholguin
#5: Subtle Chocolate Balayage
Richness and depth is what balayage is all about. At first glance, its hard to tell that this hair is even highlighted. However, you can see delicate brushes on the edges of some strands, giving this woman stunning subtle balayage hair.
Instagram / @hairluvbytiffany
#6: Tonal Strawberry Blonde Balayage
While red hair is naturally warm, incorporating highlighting techniques turns simple red into dimensional balayage beauty. Here lighter, more blonde highlights are painted on, especially framing the face to brighten this strawberry blonde.
Instagram / @prettylittleombre
#7: Brunette with Blonde Tips
If you’ve wanted to go full blonde but aren’t willing to bear the commitment, take tonal ash brown hair a few shades lighter with blonde highlights . Focus on the ends of hair but don’t forget to streak through from the top of the head for a natural look.
Instagram / @brandynolanhair
#8: Red Balayage on Dark Hair
Dusting the tips of sleek black hair with a vibrant red or purple hue may sound a bit harsh, but in reality it’s nothing short of striking and chic. By free-handing this subtle balayage hair technique, the reddish purple hue is blended with your natural, dark hair.
Instagram / @styled_by_carolynn
#9: Dimensional Copper Balayage
Enjoy the richness of this highlighting technique by brightening up dark brown hair with light copper balayage. The focus here is not the tips of the hair but rather where the light would naturally catch.
Instagram / @hairbyangelaalberici
#10: Dark Roots with Honey Balayage
Shorter styles like a bob or a lob bring out the fun balayage was always meant to have. These styles read more playful and spunky and give off a lighter appearance than longer hair with colorful tips would. Bump up your natural hue by lightening the ends one or two shades, or you can take things a bit more drastic by taking nearly black roots dusted with light brown tips.
Instagram / @hairbynoora
#11: Light Brown Balayage
A great subtle brunette balayage involves an ombre technique. Focus the lighter tone on the ends of the hair and around the face for fresh look that is great for curly hair.
Instagram / @ulissessj
#12: Dark Gray With Violet Balayage
Gray and violet are both on-trend hair colors. In the right shade, they can blend together perfectly for a modern, edgy appearance.
Instagram / @angelkosio
#13: Brown with Auburn Balayage
Auburn highlights freshen up dark shades of brown beautifully. If you have reddish undertones to your natural color, play them up with warm auburn balayage.
Instagram / @nataliakop
#14: Tonal Ash Brown Balayage
Unlike other ash subtle brunette balayage styles, this color scheme stays within the same tone instead of transitioning into an ashy brown with blonde highlights. A totally ash brown balayage stays within the exact same tone and color range and only strays a shade or two away from the color at the roots, for a perfectly sun faded and subtly grown out look.
Instagram / @hairbyamberjoy
#15: Perfectly Peach Balayage
If you’re looking for a bright or jewel-toned color for your hair, consider a incorporating highlights to add dimension to an otherwise flat scheme. This playful color palette lets you incorporate a popular trend in a unique way.
Instagram / @maeipaint
#16: Soft Honey Highlights
A light brown with blonde and honey colored highlights gives you the best of both worlds: a pretty brunette base with the sunkissed glow of bleached out blonde hair! Don’t focus on any pattern when adding in subtle blonde highlights.
Instagram / @hairbynoora
#17: Rose Gold Balayage
Rose gold is a huge highlighting trend. Freshen it up with some blonde subtle balayage streaks. The contrast of lighter highlights against a darker, rosy base is rich and interesting.
Instagram / @hairbycrista
#18: Dark Brown to Ash Brown Balayage
Long bobs may be shorter, but you have more to work with in terms of spunk! Take on the ash tone trend and lighten up some darker brown with this tone at the tips.
Instagram / @susan.aw
#19: Subtle Deep Red Balayage
Play up a pretty lob with highlights in a deeper, reddish shade that are perfect for any season. Take basic black hair to a new level with this added dimension.
Instagram / @mizzchoi
#20: Playful Purple Highlights
Rich purple highlights make great contrast with jet black hair. Pulling off a style like is easy with beautiful Asian hair thanks to the blank canvas the dark, straight hair provides. This subtle balayage reads very well done with a hint of fun.
Instagram / @off7thsalon
The beauty of balayage is not only in the variety of tones and shades it can work with but also its versatility. Highlights can be placed anywhere your hair needs and with any technique you desire. Add a few streaks for that coveted subtle balayage that gives a natural, lightened effect that comes off as truly effortless.