Karen Hill
Updated on August 30, 2021
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A partial balayage is a freehand coloring technique, when you apply highlights only to specific areas instead of throughout the whole head — generally, the top layer, or just around the face. Let`s see the best examples of this trend!

The Benefit of Partial Balayage

There are many reasons why one would choose a partial over a full balayage. One being, there is not as much bleach involved, which means less potential damage to your gorgeous tresses. This makes it a smart option for people who have never colored their hair before but want to achieve that trendy look.

Another reason is that fewer highlights can be understated, because more of your natural hair shows through. You can play with bright and unusual shades without them overpowering your hairstyle.

1. Subtle and Wavy Partial Balayage Hair

Black Hair With Subtle Brown Highlights

Instagram / @richiemiao

When considering a full balayage vs partial, one thing to decide is what sort of impact you want your style to make. Are you trying to be bold or more understated? By not committing to a standard balayage, you really give yourself an opportunity for a very subtle, yet still notable, change to your hairstyle.

2. Brunette with Light Brown Highlights

Highlights are a beautiful way to add depth to dark hair. If you want a more natural look or don’t want to damage your hair with too much bleach, opting for the entry-level balayage gives you the best of both worlds. Just take your strands a shade or two lighter for a fresh look.

Ash Brown Partial Balayage

Instagram / @chrisweberhair

3. Brown Hair with Soft Hairpainting

When you consider partial or full highlights, you need to think of maintenance. With full highlights, you have to make sure your hair is moisturized and that everything looks natural when your hair grows out. In case it is only partial, there won’t be as much dye, and when your tresses grow out, the lighter strands will look like sun-kissed locks.

Subtle Balayage For Brunettes

Instagram / @a_kool

4. Long Brown Locks with Partial Highlights

A partial balayage doesn’t always have to be the top layer. Sometimes, as an exception, you can have them on the underlayer and they’ll be a pleasant surprise when they show through your curls or waves. Think of the highlights as hidden treasures.

Subtle Brown And Blonde Balayage

Instagram / @anthonyholguin

5. Caramel and Cinnamon Highlights

Spice up brown hair with cinnamon and caramel-colored accents. Strewn throughout dark locks, they will create a luscious mix of colors. With only the top layer of hair colored, it really accentuates the contrast between dark roots and the lighter shades — and it’s a sexy look. The medium length keeps the total image simple yet chic.

Brown Hair With Partial Caramel Highlights

Instagram / @dawntraceyhair

6. Blonde Balayage on Brown Locks

With a partial balayage, highlights are often just on the top layer of hair. The lighter streaks are beautifully blended when you wear your hair in beachy waves. As a bonus, those loose waves give your mane irresistible body and movement.

Subtle Blonde Balayage For Brown Hair

Instagram / @meaganelise87

7. Bob with Partial Balayage

Partial balayage highlights work well on a wide range of hair textures, including Asian hair, which is notoriously dark and straight. Just a few chocolatey highlights brightening the face and accenting your ends will give your everyday bob a stylish boost.

Subtle Balayage Lob For Brunettes

Instagram / @mizzchoi

8. Brown-to-Blonde Low Balayage

High-contrast highlights on dark hair really pop and make a statement. When it is only a semi balayage, you don’t have to worry about much damage caused to your strands. So, you can benefit from a trendy shade, while maintaining healthy hair. It’s a win-win.

Face-Framing Blonde Balayage

Instagram / @hairbynn

9. Choppy Cut with Mixed Highlights

A partial balayage is a stylish coif to turn to when you want to spruce up your straight hair. Mess around with platinum highlights and warm browns on medium-length hair for an unexpected hairdo. To make it even more dramatic and bold – without going overboard — consider a two-tiered choppy cut. The look is totally edgy and modern.

Asian Hairstyle With Partial Ash Highlights

Instagram / @hairxjojo

10. Long Black Hair with Brown Highlights

Partial balayage highlights on black hair are the way to go when you want to break-up the monotone look of a dark mane. The beauty of only doing partial highlights lies in their simplicity. A chestnut brown will complement black well, while not being too bold. It will add just the right amount of contrast.

Subtle Brown Highlights For Black Hair

Instagram / @ashdoescolor

11. Long Brown Hairstyle with Blonde Highlights

It doesn’t take much to make a long-haired brunette look stunning. But if you must, something as simple as messy barrel curls teamed with blonde and caramel highlights will do the trick. With the limited highlights, the model below goes to show that less is more.

Blonde Face-Framing Balayage

Instagram / @hairbynoora

12. Red-Haired Semi-Balayage

Make your red hair even more dynamic by adding just a few natural-looking blonde highlights. If you want to know how to do a partial balayage, you just need to apply dye to spare sections of hair and wrap it in foil. Make sure you only apply the dye to the top layer of hair for that subtle effect. Follow the directions on the box of the product to determine how long you should leave it in.

Subtle Balayage For Auburn Hair

Instagram / @hairbyjustineb

13. Platinum Blonde Balayage Highlights

The partial balayage is a nice way to lighten your dark blonde tresses without committing to a completely bleached look. Platinum highlights will brighten your face and bring some visual intrigue to wavy tresses. Add layers towards the bottom of the haircut to give a fuller look to your do.

Partial Blonde Balayage

Instagram / @kccarhart

14. Brown Cut with Face Framing Streaks

Placement is key when opting into partial highlights. You have to make sure they are placed in a way that is flattering to your face shape and hair color. With medium brown hues, it always looks nice when you have the lightest shades at the front. It draws the attention to not only your hair but also your face.

Bronde Balayage Hair

Instagram / @theglosserie

15. Curled Auburn Hair with Highlights

Time for a change? Partial highlights can warm up your mane. Balance out your auburn hair with a mix of slightly lighter and darker shades to create a multidimensional hairstyle. Use a 11/2” curling iron to create loose barrel curls and then brush them out for that extra oomph.

16. Purple on Black Front Highlights

Partial highlights are versatile and can work on any shade of hair, as seen in many other pictures, black hair, is no exception. Black has its benefits since it is naturally a consistent shade. That makes it a perfect canvas for bold colors straight from the rainbow. Purple is a unique yet stylish option.

Purple Balayage For Black Lob

Instagram / @hairbyedwin

17. Brown and Caramel Hairstyle

Caramel and chocolate are a sweet duo not only for dessert, but also for your hair. You don’t need a full-head of highlights to create a stylish effect. Just sprinkle them here and there to bring your brown locks to life.

18. Curly Bob with Subtle Balayage

Partial balayage highlights on short hair are so cute. Because there isn’t much length to work with, the little color that you do add really pops. Have your stylist give you some piecey highlights and layers for a wispy bob that is full of character.

Bob With Highlights On The Ends

Instagram / @alexkhoeunhair

19. Long Wavy Hairstyle with Partial Highlights

Make sure you frequently use a deep conditioning treatment on your locks because the highlights may dry their ends out. Although, if you keep your hair dark, deep highlights on even deeper tresses won’t be so much of an issue.

20. Loose Waves with Balayaged Top Layers

Use partial highlights to mimic the gradient effect of ombre. Simply bleach the ends on the top layer of your hair. It adds fun color and dimension without too much bleach. You will get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Finish your look with loose waves for a sexy texture.

Partial Caramel Balayage For Brown Hair

Instagram / @jennkhair

Partial balayage is as fun as it is fashionable, not to mention — totally versatile. This technique of applying highlights works well on any hair texture, and since it is dying less hair than a usual full balayage, don’t be afraid to give this color treatment a chance. It’s great for newbies to coloring and long-time veterans alike.

Black Hair With Subtle Brown Highlights Ash Brown Partial Balayage Subtle Balayage For Brunettes Subtle Brown And Blonde Balayage Brown Hair With Partial Caramel Highlights Subtle Blonde Balayage For Brown Hair Subtle Balayage Lob For Brunettes Face-Framing Blonde Balayage Asian Hairstyle With Partial Ash Highlights Subtle Brown Highlights For Black Hair Blonde Face-Framing Balayage Subtle Balayage For Auburn Hair Partial Blonde Balayage Bronde Balayage Hair Auburn Balayage Hair Purple Balayage For Black Lob Caramel Babylights For Brown Hair Bob With Highlights On The Ends Black Hair With Chocolate Brown Balayage Partial Caramel Balayage For Brown Hair
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