Partial Balayage Ideas and Guide

Balayage is one of the most popular trends in the hair industry at the moment. It’s one of the least maintenance colors, looks super natural, and gives you radiating dimension. However, with its popularity and complex technique comes a higher price. One cheaper alternative to look into would be partial balayage.

A partial balayage gives you the same effect as a full balayage with a lower price tag. It is also a great way to introduce those to hair color who have never tried any hair color before. You may be getting less of a dramatic change than with a full balayage but it can still be very beautiful and stand out.

Partial Balayage Ideas

When doing a partial balayage, certain sections of the head are left uncolored. Even though this may sound unappealing, you can actually create a very unique dimensional look that is flattering for your specific hair type and style. The look you are going for will determine what sections of the head will have balayage.

Face Framing Balayage

Face Framing Balayage

For those of you who have never tried hair color before or simply want something subtle, this is a great starting point for you. Most people’s hair naturally gets a little lighter around their face when they spend quite a bit of time in the sun. This color accentuates that look.

As it sounds in the name of this balayage, face-framing balayage frames your face. Balayage is only applied in a section around your face from your part down to the ears. You can make this as prominent or as subtle as you would like. Another option is to simply do a “money piece” which is a smaller section on your part that has balayage.

This option is going to be the cheapest partial balayage you can get. I would even call it a mini balayage. You can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $150 depending on what you get exactly and where you get it done. If you get a heavy face-framing balayage, you may need it touched up slightly more often than other balayage.

Half-Head Balayage

If you really want the full-head balayage look but don’t want to spend $300 or more, a half-head balayage is the best choice for you. The same technique and sectioning are used for a half-head as a full-head balayage. A section underneath, usually from the ears down, is left uncolored.

This gives you a shadow underneath with balayaged hair laying over top. Which in reality is more natural than a full head balayage because the sun does not ever hit the underneath layers of your hair. With this technique, you can become really blonde or make it subtle with the look of all-over dimension.

Although a half head balayage is cheaper than a full head, it is going to be the most expensive partial balayage that you can choose. Expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $250 depending on how blonde you want it and where you go to have it done. Since this balayage is more even throughout your hair, you do not have to have it touched up very often or at all if you choose to grow it out.

Peek-a-Boo Balayage

Peek-a-boo balayage is more of an edgy style that will stand out. You can also do fun colors with this balayage such as vibrants or dark pieces. This is done by placing large sections of balayage on the underneath of your hair that “peak” out as your hair moves or when it is put up.

When getting this done, you can choose how much and how visible you want your peek-a-boo pieces to be. It can be as low as only in the back, below your ears, or as high as only a few inches down from your part. The higher you bring up your peek-a-boo pieces on your head, the more visible they will be.

Depending on how many peek-a-boo pieces you decide to add and what color your choose will greatly affect the price. Doing a small number of pieces that are not colored with vibrants will cost anywhere from $80 to $150. If you do a lot more pieces and/or vibrants over your balayage, you’re looking at paying around $150-$250. Since these are thicker sections of balayage, they require maintenance every 4-5 months.

Sun-Kissed Balayage

Sun-Kissed Balayage

Similar to face-framing balayage, sun-kissed balayage accentuates what the sun naturally does to your hair already. The sun affects the color of your hair around your face and the top layer of hair the most. These are the sections that are lightened when doing a sun-kissed balayage.

You will be having the same process done as face-framing balayage with this technique. Except some balayage may be sprinkled in throughout the back of your hair. The key with this is to focus on lightening around the face and blending that into the back with a few pieces of balayage. You do not want to lighten the back sections of your hair too much or else you will lose the natural look of it.

The price range for sun-kissed balayage is very similar to face-framing balayage. If you keep the color very subtle the price can start at around $80. On the other hand, if you do a heavy face-frame section, you may need to add more to the back to blend it in. This can bring the price up to $150 or more. You should only need to have this color touched up every 6 months or so.

Halo Balayage

Halo balayage is another technique that is very similar to face-framing balayage. The difference is that the underneath of your hair is also balayaged, leaving out a round section through the crown of your head. This gives you a “halo” effect.

Just like face-framing balayage, you start with a section around the front of your face starting at your part and coming down along the perimeter of your hair. Instead of stopping at the ears though, you continue the section along the back perimeter of your hair. You can make this section as big as you would like. The bigger the section, the more noticeable it will be.

You’re doing about the same amount of color with a halo balayage as a sun-kissed balayage. It’s simply in different sections of the head. You can expect to pay the same amount for this as a sun-kissed balayage. However, the advantage of this color over the others is the color is focused underneath your hair. For this reason, you do not need to hardly ever touch it up.

What to Ask For in The Salon


It is not recommended to try to balayage your own hair. It takes years for even the most experienced stylists to master balayage and if it is messed up, it is very difficult to fix. Think cheetah spots of bleach that have to be highlighted over multiple times. That being said, getting what you want in the salon should be very easy.

First things first, bring in a lot of photos of colors you do like and colors you do not like. It is not always easy to translate the color you are picturing in your mind to a stylist and descriptive words can mean different things for each person. Pictures speak a thousand words for the stylist creating your color. Tell your stylist what you like and what you don’t like from your pictures.

Also, make sure to let your stylist know the price range you are trying to stay in. Your stylist can then give you options that will get you as close to what you are wanting while keeping you from going over budget. Along with this, make sure that they are adding the price of toner into your color. Every balayage needs toner.

How to Maintain a Partial Balayage

Maintain a Partial Balayage

So many people love balayage because of the low maintenance. Balayage only needs to be touched up every 4 to 6 months and can be completly grown out without anyone noticing the grow out. The only maintenance you need to worry about at home is keeping your hair from becoming brassy.

Blondes naturally become brassy over time. This is due to multiple possibilities from your environment, to the products used on your hair, to the water that you wash your hair with. However, it is not the end of your hair color if it does become brassy and there are even ways to prevent it from ever getting there.

The best way to prevent your hair from becoming brassy is a toning shampoo, conditioner, or mask. These products are usually purple or blue-tinted which counteracts the orangey, yellow tones that come through in blonde hair. Do not go overboard with these products. Using them more than 1 to 2 times a week can cause over-toning making your hair a grey color or even purple-tinted.

Best Toning Shampoos, Conditioners, and Masks:

If your hair does become brassy, it is too late for a toning shampoo, conditioner, or mask. This is when you will need to re-tone your hair. Toner is a demi-permanent color that overlays your blonde giving it a whole new hue. Do not use permanent color to tone your balayage. It could damage your hair further and change the color of your darker base color.

Best Toners for Balayage:


Question: Is a partial balayage cheaper than a full balayage?

Answer: Yes. A partial balayage takes less time and uses less product than a full balayage. Therefore, you will save money getting a partial rather than a full balayage.

Question: How long does a partial balayage last?

Answer: A partial balayage lasts just as long as any other balayage. The word “partial” has nothing to do with how far the balayage is brought up the length of your hair. It has to do with the placement. In that case, you will get a good 3 to 6 months before needing a touchup.

Question: What is a partial balayage vs a full balayage?

Answer: A full balayage is when every section of your hair is colored. A partial is simply fewer sections of the hair being colored. That could be you only have it colored on top, underneath, or around the face.

Question: How long does it take to get a partial balayage?

Answer: It takes around 2 to 3 hours to get a partial balayage. This largely depends on how much of your hair you are getting balayage done on. The fewer sections you get balayage, the less time it will take and vice versa.

Question: Is a partial balayage hard to maintain?

Answer: The nice thing about partial balayage is that they are very easy to maintain. Some partial balayage can go as long as 6 months before needing a touch-up.  The most maintenance you are going to need to worry about is keeping it from becoming brassy with purple shampoo or a toner every once in a while.

The Best Partial Balayage

You’re probably looking for a partial balayage because you want the full balayage look at a smaller price. In this case, the best partial balayage to go for is a face-framing or sun-kissed balayage. You will save a lot of money and still achieve that bright, natural look. This is also a great starter color for those that have never colored their hair before since it mimics the way your hair naturally lightens in the sun.

In the end, the color you choose completely depends on what you love. The important thing to remember is that you save money in the long run with balayage because it requires so little maintenance compared to other colors. If you want to be super blonde, spend the extra for the half-head balayage. You won’t regret it in the long run.

Looking for more interesting readings? Check out:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top