Brown hair balayage | The ultimate guide for 2021.

brown hair balayage

Brown hair balayage is a stunning, natural looking style that’s one of the hottest hair trends this year. The low-maintenance look is perfect for a whole range of gorgeous brown and brunette colours – from light brown, caramel, chocolate, ash brown and chestnut.

If you’re thinking of brown balayage, here’s everything you need to know about how it’s done, find some brown hair balayage inspiration and work out if it’s the most fabulous hair style for you!

brown hair balayage funny tweet

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What is brown balayage hair?

Balayage hair isn’t really a style, it’s more of a technique. “Balayage” is a French word meaning “to sweep” and that’s exactly how the colour is applied to your hair – hand-painted in small triangular sweeps moving from the top of your head downwards.

Balayage is often confused with ombre because they both use a two-tone blend of complimentary hair colours, typically shades of brunette and blonde.

But ombre is a lighter band around the ends of your hair, whereas the balayage technique leaves darker sections of hair at the ends to create a more natural, multi-dimensional look.

What is the difference between balayage and ombre hair?

What brown hair colours are best for balayage? 

Balayage works great with any complimentary colours, but nothing beats brown hair balayage. There are so many brunette hair shades you can use to get that stunning, timeless, natural hair look.

Dark brown hair balayage colours like warm chocolate brown and cool dark ash brown hair blend beautifully with lighter brown shades like warm caramel brown and light ashy brown.

If your hair naturally draws warm or red tones, try mixing dark brown hair balayage with dark copper for a metallic look. These are great warm brown balayage autumn colours for the darker months that give richness, depth and shine.

Light brown hair balayage is the natural perfect partner for mixing with blondes, warm honey blonde and cool ash blonde can add fresh, sun-kissed highlights to any light brown hair base.

Even icy platinum blonde can make a fabulous brown hair balayage partner if you’ve got the right colouring for it.

Try blurred or shadow roots to knit the lighter brown shades at the top of your head and make your style last even longer. The blend of blonde and brown hair gives a natural on-point vibe for summer months.

In Light Brown Hair Shades you need in your life right now, you’ll find all the colours that work fantastically with brown hair balayage.

Check out the latest looks for ideas and inspiration.

balayage hair color ideas pinterest

Will brown hair balayage suit me?

The hair colours used for brunette balayage are extremely versatile. So whether you have cooler or warmer tones, or a light or dark base colour, there should be a shade or tone that works for you.

Do I have warm or cool undertones?

Use our checklist below to find out your undertones.

If you have cool undertones:

  • Your skin tone is pink or pale.
  • You blush easily!
  • Jewel and pastel colours are so your thing.
  • The colour yellow washes you out and does not look good on you.
  • You have blue not green veins in your wrist.
  • Pearls and silver jewellery look awesome on you.

If you have warm undertones:

  • You have red or golden tones in your natural hair.
  • Your skin tone is golden, tan or olive.
  • You might have freckles.
  • You have green not blue veins in your wrist.
  • You suit bright or rich shades better.
  • Gold jewellery looks awesome on you.
cool or warm undertones infographic

Which hair colours suit me?

You can also find out which hair colour suits you by taking our quiz! Just answer a few quick questions to find out what other hair colours most suit you! Click on the image below.


which hair colour suits me

You can also try on some virtual hair colours with the Best hair colour changing apps you need to use in 2021!

Can I balayage my hair at home?

Balayaging your own hair is not easy. There’s a reason professionals are trained to it! It’s not just the technique that’s tricky, it’s knowing what colours you can use on your hair to get the best effect. 

We always recommend talking to a colourist about your own hair as the success of at-home products depend on many factors that are personal to your and your hair.

But if you’re feeling confident, or if you already have a balayage style and want to refresh it, doing it yourself is absolutely do-able, once you know how!

We recommend buying a balayage kit that’s specifically for this technique, and following the instructions to the letter! You can check out most recommended ones in Best balayage kits for hair dyeing at home.

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Which is the best at home balayage kit?

There are a few at home balayage kits that you can buy with instructions on how to get the look. Essentially, these are all lightening kits with special balayage instructions.

This means, you can also use any ombre or blonde highlighting kit to achieve the balayage effect as it’s all in THE TECHNIQUE.

“The biggest difference between salon and at-home colour is that in a salon, we’ll mix two or more different shades to create a totally customised hue.”

~Elena Rossi, Professional Colourist.

But what happens if you just have what’s in the box? In terms of shade, the rule from our expert colourists is always to go for a colour only one shade lighter than your natural hair to avoid any orange disasters.

Without further ado, here are our top recommends for achieving that gorgeous on-trend balayage look at home!

Don’t forget to do a strand test before you start!

Best at home balayage kits at a glance.

KitLooks likeBest forRatingBuy now
Garnier Nutrisse Hair Highlights Kit Multi-Lightsq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0045X82LM&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest at home balayage kits garnier nutrisseLighter shades. You’ll have to ignore the instructions which are for highlighting your hair.four star icon Edited
L'Oréal Preference Balayageq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00PL7Q1VE&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest at home balayage kits l'oreal preferenceBronde colour. More golden hues.five star icon Edited 1
L'Oréal Colorista Effect Ombre Hairq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00PL7Q1VE&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest at home balayage hair kitEasy use and great results.This is our pick of the bunch.five star icon Edited 1
Jerome Russell Bblonde Maximum Highlighting Kit.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00DCPFX1Q&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest at home balayage kits BblondeCool tones. No hint of brassiness.three star icon Edited 1
Schwarzkopf Live Intense Lightenerq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00D870FMK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest at home balayage kits schwartzkopfWarmer tones. If you’re after warmer colours, this is for youfour star icon Edited
Schwarzkopf Professional BlondMe Premium Brightener.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B06X6K4X19&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest at home balayage kits schwartzkopfGoing a few shades lighter than your base. This is powerful stuff.four star icon Edited

TOP PICK!

L’Oréal Preference Balayage

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00PL7Q1VE&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbronde balayage hair kit

BEST FOR: Bronde balayage colour.

We LOVE the little ‘bronding brush’ in this one, it made it so easy to control how much solution is going on your hair. The colour is lovely with one application which was enough to lift our previously dyed brunette colour a shade without making it orange.

However, this did come out a little more golden than we would’ve liked. But after a few washes with purple toner, we’re happy with how it looks. If you’re looking for a warmer shade and your hair has naturally golden tones, this is for you.

What do I need to get the balayage look for my hair?

  • A good paddle hair brush.
  • An at-home balayage kit
  • A hair dye kit with brushes and bowl.
  • An old towel to protect your clothes and surfaces.
  • Barrier cream to apply to your ears and hairline to stop the dye getting on your skin.
  • A pin tail comb and sectioning hair clips to hold back sections of your hair to apply the lotion more precisely.
  • And your balayage hair dye kit of choice! You can read more about each of these in our Best balayage kits reviews.

How to do balayage hair at home.

The balayage technique is an super easy 6-step process!

STEP 1: Section your hair.

Divide your hair into sections using the ‘hot-cross bun’ technique. This means parting your hair down the middle and then width-ways to section your hair into quarters. 

STEP 2: Paint the tips of your hair.

Let’s balayage! The easy way to do this and produce a natural looking effect is to paint very tips of your hair brush and run the brush downwards through the mid to end lengths of your hair.

STEP 3: Stagger the strokes.

Make sure you stagger where you start brushing downwards to avoid the dip dye/ombre effect. If you want lighter ends, you can freestyle with the paintbrush to apply it where it’s needed. If you feel there’s too much product anywhere, just wipe it off.

STEP 4: Leave it to develop.

Once all of your sections have been brushed with the dye, leave your hair to develop as instructed on the hair dye box. This should be around 30 mins. Keep an eye on it to avoid going too light. You want the effect to be natural.  

STEP 5: Rinse and condition.

Wash it out and condition your hair with a really good nourishing conditioner

STEP 6: Dry and style!

Dry your hair with a hair dryer and fall in love with your new do. If you find the colour too bright or brassy, you can use a purple shampoo or toner to dull it down. 

Watch and learn: How the professionals do it.

If you want to know how to balayage your hair at home and get it absolutely right, it’s useful to watch the pros in action to see how a pro balayages their own hair, step by step.


How do I care for my balayage brown hair?

Once you’ve got the perfect on-trend balayage look, you’ll need to maintain it to stop it fading away. But luckily, it is a brunette style that can keep well with the right care.

Our top tips for making hair colour last longer include protecting your hair against sunshine, heat damage and sea and pool water with the right products.

Also try washing your hair less frequently, ideally once a week if you can.

You can lengthen the time in between washes by touching up your roots with with a good root cover up and freshening up your hair without washing it with a good dry shampoo that’s suitable for coloured hair.

The good news about brown hair balayage is that it still looks good while it’s growing out. Darker root styles and root blurs are all the rage and blend well with all kinds of brunette shades and hues

To keep your brunette tones cool and stop them turning orange, you need a good blue shampoo to stop your colour becoming too warm or brassy. We love the Joico Blue Shampoo & Conditioner.

Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo & Conditioner.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B017V5GPOQ&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBash brown hair at home

Whatever colour you dye your hair, strengthen your hair with the little miracle bottle that is Olaplex No 3 Hair Perfector. This will fortify and restore your hair bonds and help lock in the colour. If it’s good enough for Kim K, it’s good enough for us.

And don’t forget you can check out all the best coloured hair care tips How to look after coloured hair and keep it luscious for longer for top tips.