How to Balayage Curly Hair

Most countries host their own fashion weeks these days, but none are quite as famous as the spring/summer and autumn/winter events hosted in New York and Paris each year.

Paris has been regarded as the Fashion Capital of the World since the 16th century when the term for French fashion and style – namely, la mode – was firstborn under the reign of Louis XIV.

He was known not only as the Sun King (le Roi Soleil) and the monarch with the longest recorded reign in a sovereign country in European history, he was also known – and continues to be remembered – for his vanity and eccentricity where fashion and style were concerned.

Louis the Great was all about dressing for the occasion. Whether that meant rocking up at his great-grandson’s wedding colourfully dressed to outshine the soberly dressed Spanish attendants or setting a national trend with his big, curly and extravagant wigs.

As you can see, the French have always had a knack for trendsetting, in the clothes as well as hair fashion department and little has changed about that since the 16th century. We still look to the men and women of Paris and beyond for the latest looks, cuts and designs.

While Louis XIV’s wigs have long gone out of fashion, there’s a trend from the 1970s that has stuck around until today, and for good reason. The balayage colouring effect is one that simply does not go out of style.

What is the Balayage Colouring Effect?

If you’re a tactile kind of person who has always preferred drawing on paper rather than creating art on screen, feeling the paper pages of a book between your fingers rather than scrolling through an e-book, you’ll probably prefer the balayage style of hair colouring too.

The balayage technique creates beautiful highlights in your hair, ranging from subtle and perfectly blended to super daring styles such as the mermaid look that is definitely in this summer and sees a light colour such as turquoise under an in-your-face, vibrantly pink shade.

Instead of using highlighting caps and pulling the hair through strand for strand, only to coat them all at once, the balayage technique requires a tad more patience. For this effect, the colour is applied to each strand by hand or brush.

This look works on all hair types and styles – from short pixie looks to voluminously wavy and curly hair – and it comes with many advantages too. For one, it’s a low-maintenance look with all the appeal, and that brings us to the second major plus point of this colouring technique.

It’s economical! Initially, it’ll take around three sessions spaced at six weeks apart to achieve the desired effect. Once you’re rocking the look you were going for, you can go up to four months without hitting the salon again.

A woman with curly highlights

Why Curls Are the Best Balayage Candidates

As we’ve already mentioned before, balayage works on all hair lengths, cuts and types, but there’s something particularly charming about this colour effect in a head full of beachy waves or tight curls.

It just gives your curls that certain je ne sais quoi we all strive for when we hit the salon or brave a DIY session – the kind that turns heads and has all our girlfriends asking for our hair colouring secrets.

Balayage coloured curls pop with that wonderful ribbon effect – i.e. the colour emphasizes the curl pattern, and the curl structure highlights your chosen colour. A total win-win situation!

If you’ve always been one to favour the DIY approach – mainly because you like to multitask by doing your hair and catching up with your favourite Netflix show, friends on a girl’s night or a Zoom session – go right ahead and get your balayage on yourself!

The technique is simple and you’ll have a lot of fun learning the ropes by experimenting on your own hair. Just be sure to keep a couple of things in mind to ensure the healthiest and most beneficial approach to working on curly hair.

Prepping for an At-Home Balayage Session for Your Curls

Before you begin looking at the different types of colours available to you, it’s important to do your research on curl-friendly dyes, to ensure you are going with the healthiest option for your hair.

As you know, curls are fragile and sensitive and don’t usually bode well when treated with harsh chemicals. Look into dyes that were specifically designed with curls in mind – hence, gentler alternatives that do more than just colour but hydrate too.

Once you’ve found a brand you trust, it’s time to get to the fun part: picking your balayage colour. A good rule of thumb is to always go about three to four shades lighter than your natural hair colour for the very best, striking results.

Prior to getting started, detangle your hair properly or brush it out until you can easily run your fingers through your curls. It always helps to apply a leave-in conditioner or hair mask the night before this treatment, to make the prepping part easier.

Use a tail comb to divide your hair into multiple sections and keep them in place using a clip. Cover your clothes with a towel or wear and an old t-shirt to do this, so as to avoid staining anything in the process. Prepare your dye, put on those gloves and get started!

Apply the dye starting at around mid-length and pull the colour through towards the bottom in a twisting motion, always making sure you get right down into the ends too. Once you’ve finished one section, pin it up again to let the colour absorb properly, and start on the next.

When you’ve worked your way through all the separate sections, go over them again one by one to add any finishing touches if necessary. Leave the dye in for as long as instructed on the package, rinse and follow up with any provided or your own preferred conditioner.

The Best Styles for Curly Hair with the Balayage Colour Effect

So, now you see – that’s all there really is to the balayage effect. It’s not at all hard to do yourself though, if you prefer your monthly pampering session at the salon, go right ahead and treat yourself!

If you’re excited about your new hair colour and have gotten a taste for accomplished make-overs – subtle or big – then why not consider going in for the perfect cut or style to really complement your newly found balayage look? Live a little!

If you’re constantly wearing your curls back in a ponytail to beat the heat of summer, why not make the leap and chop them right off into a messy, curly bob instead? It’ll keep your neck cool, will make your curls more pronounced and they’ll grow back healthier than ever.

Not sure if the balayage effect is going to work on coily curls? Trust us when we say, it does! In fact, it’s one of the top styles to use this technique on as it really helps to add another level of brightness to both your curls and your face, and enhances your coils’ gorgeous texture.

There you go – whether you’re considering a shorter cut or keeping your mane nice and long, you can always count on balayage to look fabulous on curly hair!


Hi I'm Hati and my hair is naturally very curly, obviously! I have started this blog to share curly hair stories and what I use to manage my own hair. Hopefully you will find it useful! My other main passions are food, art and animlas. I have a little cat who I love very much.

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