Clients often assume that the balayage technique can only be applied to long hair. Here we explain how we can apply a balayage on short hair too, and the different possibilities when it comes to color and finish, even on the shortest hairstyles.

Can you do balayage on short hair?

The balayage technique which, if the client isn’t familiar with, involves lightening sections of the hair by sectioning and painting by hand, can be applied to all lengths of hair. Even the shortest styles can be beautified with some sunkissed highlights! If you’ve ever done a balayage technique on short hair, however, you’ll know that it really requires expertise. Unless you’re a professional, creating a balayage on short hair at home is not recommended.

Technique: shoulder-length short hair balayage

On dry hair, look at how the hair lies around the face in order to determine your highlight positioning. When it comes to doing a balayage on short hair that falls on the shoulders, the goal is usually to focus on the money pieces (sections around the face): specifically the eye and chin levels.

Achieve this by starting your application in the mid-section where you want the most light, then feather upwards. Don’t push the color through — you want each section to still contain some negative space (created by non-lightened strands) as this brings dimension. Saturate the ends, not forgetting the underneath, and make sure there are no demarcation lines between the treated and untreated hair.

Balayage on short hair: blond and light brown bases

Color inspiration for balayage on short hair with a light base! What about taking your client in a cool, pearly direction by using a Dia Light Milkshake gloss in Frosty Pearl after lightening? A multi-point application technique is the most effective way to invisibly lift the overall color.

Or, for those more traditional sought-after balayage honey highlights, the Sunkissed Lightening Oil from Blond Studio provides natural-looking highlights (20-volume) or subtle sunkissed highlights (30-volume) on light brown and blond hair types. You could also suggest an ombre finish instead of highlights from the top to make their grow-out even less visible.

Balayage on short hair: brunette and black bases

What about balayage color on short hair when the base is dark? It’s a question of change! Does your client want to change her color entirely (the result will still look completely natural), in which case you can use Blond Studio 9 for maximum lift and a 1-point application technique for a golden French balayage. Or, for discreet, shimmery warm highlights on dark hair, lift by just one or two levels, and tone with Dia Richesse (1 tube colourant + 75mls 6 volume DIACTIVATEUR, 1:1½ ratio).