Babylights vs Highlights – Which Style is Right For You?

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Babylights? Highlights? Foil? Balayage? With so many different ways to color your hair, it can be hard to keep up. What’s the difference between babylights and higlights?

These two popular color treatments are both on-trend and can transform your look.

Highlights come in numerous colors, styles, and patterns, while babylights offer bright, natural-looking tones that blend seamlessly together.

Whether you’re looking for something subtle or bold, deciding which style is right for you can feel overwhelming – but don’t worry!

We’re here to help you decide which one (or both!) is the best for you and your hair.

Let’s go!

Babylights vs highlights – what’s the difference?

The main difference between babylights and highlights is in their texture and intensity.

Babylights are ultra-fine and soft, whereas highlights are more striking and can create a more noticeable contrast.

Babylights add dimension and gentleness, and they’re often ideal for people who want a subtle color change. Highlights can brighten up a hairstyle and give it a more daring look.

Both techniques require some upkeep, but babylights can go longer between touch-ups than highlights since they blend more seamlessly into natural hair.

Babylights vs highlights

babylights vs highlights instagram post normal weaved highlights vs fine highlights for a more subtle look

What are babylights?

what are babylights instagram post platinum blonde hair

Babylights are tiny, ultra-fine highlights that provide a super subtle and natural-looking, sun-kissed effect that’s youthful and fresh.

We love them because they can blend in so perfectly with natural hues that some people don’t even realize you’ve had anything done!

This is a great option for those who want to go very blonde or who prefer low-maintenance hairstyles, as they don’t require as much touch-up attention as other, bolder highlights.

How are they applied?

Babylights are traditionally applied by taking tiny strands of hair and painting them with a lightener before wrapping the hair in foils to process.

The process is time-consuming, but it produces a seamless, blended look.

They take longer to do compared to other hair coloring techniques like balayage or ombre. But they’re worth it!

How long do babylights last?

The good news is that babylights tend to last longer than regular highlights and they grow out better too.

The typical lifespan of babylights is around six to eight weeks, but with proper care, they can last up to 12 weeks. It all comes down to how well you take care of them. 

That means staying away from hot styling tools, washing your hair less frequently, and investing in a quality color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

Who should get them?

Babylights are best for people who want a subtle change that brightens their hair. If you want to look your blondest, these are for you.

They are also ideal for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on upkeep.

What are highlights?

balayage highlights instagram post caramel balayage and golden blonde hair

Now, let’s explore highlights. Most people are familiar with traditional highlights, which are typically thicker and brighter than babylights.

Highlighted hair often has a more dramatic contrast, with lighter and darker shades creating more obvious stripes or sections.

Highlights come in a range of colors, such as blonde, caramel, or even pastels. If you want a bold change or a more noticeable style, highlights could be an excellent choice.

How are they applied?

How they are applied depends on the type of highlights you get.

Traditional foil highlights involve taking sections of hair and applying lightener or bleaching agent to them before wrapping them in foil.

This process brings a stark contrast between the lightened hair and the darker roots.

Balayage highlights are a more freehand approach, where lighter portions of hair are painted on in a natural-looking fade.

There’s also half-head highlights, T-section highlights and partial highlights to consider!

How long do highlights last?

Highlights don’t last as long as babylights. They are more noticeable as they grow out and the color often dulls over time or become brassy.

So how long they last depends on quickly your hair grows and how well you take care of them.

With some extra TLC and a few good hair care products, you might be able to stretch their lifespan even further. 

Who should get them?

Highlights are perfect for people who want a more significant change in their hair color or style.

They are also a great option for those with layered hair that wants to bring more depth and definition to their hairstyle.

Highlights are bold and can make a significant change in your look immediately. If you want to go from darker color hair like brunette or dark brown, start with highlights to brighten your look.

But remember they do require more maintenance and can be damaging to hair over time.

Babylights vs highlights – which style is right for me?

Both babylights and highlights can be the perfect addition to your hair color, but which one is the right style for you?

Let’s dive into what you need to consider before making that appointment with your hairstylist.

Your Hair Type and Texture:

The first factor when choosing between babylights and highlights is your hair type and texture.

If you have fine and delicate hair, babylights may be a better pick for you.

Babylights involve finer, more delicate lightened strands of hair that create a subtle and natural look.

For thick and coarse hair, highlights work well.

Highlights add dimension and depth to hair, creating a bolder and more visible appearance.

If you’re still unsure which option is best for your hair type and texture, consult with your hairstylist and ask for their professional opinion.

Desired Look:

The overall look you’re going for is another thing to think about.

For those looking for a subtle and natural change, babylights are the way to go. They provide a soft and natural look that creates dimension without being too noticeable.

If you’re into bolder and more noticeable changes, highlights may be the better pick. Highlights come in different tones and shades that can be customized to fit your preference.


The next question you need to ask yourself is about your lifestyle.

Are you a busy bee with work and social obligations, or do you prefer a low-maintenance routine?

If you’re someone who prefers low maintenance, we recommend choosing babylights. The subtle and natural look of babylights works well with a grown-out look.

If you’re someone who loves change and enjoys visiting the salon often, highlights might be the better option.

Frequent salon visits help to maintain the vibrancy of your highlights and give you more opportunities to experiment with new colors.


Lastly, what’s your budget?

Highlights tend to cost less than babylights because they require less product, time, and effort.

However, depending on the stylist, location, and complexity of your hair, the cost of highlights could still be high.

Make sure you factor in potential upkeep and maintenance, as this could be key in your decision between the two.

Babylights vs Highlights Comparison Chart

Bablylights vs highlights key differences chart| Feature | Babylights | Highlights |

| Hair Type & Texture | Best for fine and delicate hair. | Best for thick and coarse hair. |

| Desired Look | Creates a subtle and natural look.  | Creates bolder, more visible contrast in color.  |

| Lifestyle        | Low maintenance routine, grows out without harsh regrowth lines. │ More frequent salon visits needed to maintain vibrancy of highlights.   ||     

  Budget | Lower cost since less product/time/effort is required. | Higher cost with more frequent salon visits.

Babylights vs Highlights FAQs

Are Babylights more expensive than highlights?

We all want to look like a million bucks without breaking the bank. So, are babylights more expensive than highlights?

The answer is…it depends.

While babylights involve a more meticulous and time-consuming process, highlights can require more product and a longer application time.

Ultimately, the cost will vary based on your hair type, desired look, and the salon you visit.

But regardless of which route you choose, one thing’s for sure: you’ll feel like a million bucks when you walk out of that salon chair. And that’s priceless!

Can I combine both babylights and highlights?

Absolutely! In fact, combining babylights and highlights can give you a unique look that helps to create added depth and dimension.

This is a great option for those looking for something in between the subtlety of babylights and the boldness of highlights.

Blend lowlights in too in a mix of color shades and hues that suit your skin tone for a truly stunning end result.

Are Babylights considered highlights?

Well, babylights are a form of highlighting, but they are a very specific technique. They’re a more subtle and nuanced version of the traditional highlights look. 

They are thin, delicate highlights that add just the right amount of dimension and luminosity to your hair without being too loud or dramatic.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance hair color option that will enhance your natural beauty, then babylights may be the perfect choice for you.

Are Babylights full or partial highlights?

Babylights are actually a type of full head highlights. Think of them as the subtle, delicate cousin to highlights and lowlights. 

They are applied throughout the entire head and involve very fine sections that give off a more natural, blended look.

Partial highlights are more concentrated in certain areas and do not cover the entire head. They’re good for adding depth and contrast without making a drastic change. 

They’re perfect for those who want to brighten their blonde or are looking for more of a contrast in their look without going full head highlights.

Do babylights look natural?

If you want to be as blonde as can be, babylights are for you. They are super natural looking and will give your hair a subtle glow without looking like you’ve spent too much time in the salon chair.

They also grow out more gracefully than regular highlights, meaning no harsh lines when it comes to maintenance.

The best part is that babylights can be customized to fit your natural color, giving you a sun-kissed look that won’t seem overly done or unnatural.

With babylights, you’ll get all of the blonde vibes without that obvious highlight contrast. So if you’re looking for something low key yet flattering, this is the perfect route for you!  

How to care for highlighted hair.

No matter what kind of highlights you have, proper hair care is important for maintaining their vibrancy and health.

When it comes to caring for your highlighted hair, here are some tips you should keep in mind:

With these tips, you’ll be able to keep your highlights looking their best for weeks to come!

Parting words

Choosing between babylights and highlights can be tricky. But knowing your hair type and texture, lifestyle, and budget will help bring you closer to making the choice that’s right for you.

Whether you decide to go with highlights or babylights, make sure to trust the process and enjoy your new look!

Happy highlighting!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!