Partial vs. Full Balayage: Which Is Right For You?

The trend that never goes out of style is balayage. No matter how many of your clients request it, it always seems fresh and new since it looks different for everyone. Also, you may now apply delicate, faint ribbons of light-reflective color utilizing partial balayage to further enhance your freehand highlights. In this blog, we will clear all doubts on partial vs full balayage.

What Is Partial Balayage? 

Partial vs Full Balayage


The same steps and color schemes are used for partial and full balayage. However, your colorist simply highlights the top layer of hair and/or face-framing parts of your hair, not the majority of it. Similar to partial highlights, which employ foils and are less natural looking since they draw a line of demarcation, this procedure is also referred to as a micro balayage.

What Is Full Balayage?

Partial vs Full Balayage


Full balayage is a hair coloring technique that involves hand-painting highlights or lowlights onto the entire head of hair, from roots to ends. It is a freehand technique where the colorist applies the hair color in sweeping motions to create a natural, blended, and sun-kissed effect. The term “balayage” is derived from the French word “bilayer,” which means to sweep or paint.

What is the Difference Between Partial vs Full Balayage?

Partial vs Full Balayage


In contrast to partial balayage, which just highlights an area of your hair rather than your entire scalp, full balayage requires you to color your hair from root to tip. The top layer of your hair is usually where the partial balayage is applied, concentrating on the ends.

Hair Design

Partial balayage is recommended for subtle style adjustments, while full balayage is recommended for more dramatic hair changes. For a consultation, see your hairstylist.

Service Area

Partial balayage involves much more sectional fading or lightening than full balayage, which completely bleaches your hair while leaving 5 to 7 centimeters of the root exposed.


A full balayage will always cost more than a partial one because the first one could require more salon appointments. A full balayage usually costs between $75 and $450, while partial balayage costs between $110 and $222.


Full balayage takes a little longer than a partial technique because it highlights your entire mane, as was already said. If you choose full balayage, plan on spending three to four hours in the hair salon, whereas partial balayage just takes an hour to complete. What is the duration of balayage?

Also Read: 20+ Stunning Partial Balayage Ideas That Are Trending in 2023

Partial Balayage vs Full Balayage Inspiration

Partial vs Full Balayage


Partial Balayage and Full Balayage are two different techniques for applying highlights or lowlights to the hair using the balayage method. Here’s some inspiration for both:

Partial Balayage:

Partial vs Full Balayage


  1. Soft and Subtle: A partial balayage that adds delicate, face-framing highlights to the front sections of the hair, creating a natural and sun-kissed look.
  2. Sunkissed Brunette: For brunettes, a partial balayage that adds caramel or honey-toned highlights to the mid-lengths and ends, adding warmth and dimension to the hair.
  3. Beachy Waves: A partial balayage that focuses on creating a natural, beachy look by adding lighter highlights to the ends of the hair, giving a sun-kissed effect.

Full Balayage:

Partial vs Full Balayage


  1. Blonde Bombshell: A full balayage that uses multiple shades of blonde to create a multidimensional and bright blonde look, perfect for those who want a bold and glamorous style.
  2. Rich Brunette: A full balayage that adds depth and dimension to dark hair by incorporating highlights and lowlights in different tones of brown, creating a rich and luxurious look.
  3. Smokey Balayage: A full balayage that uses cool-toned colors, such as ash or silver, to create a smokey and edgy look, suitable for those who want a unique and modern style.

How Long Does It Take Partial Balayage?

Partial vs Full Balayage


How long a partial balayage takes depends on how much hair you have to work with. You can be sure that it takes less time than a full balayage. Though, because you don’t have to carefully section and sweep through the lower layers.

This makes it a great service to recommend to clients who don’t have much time, are just starting to color their hair, or want a service that doesn’t require much upkeep.

How Do You Apply Partial Balayage?

Partial balayage is a hair coloring technique where highlights are hand-painted onto specific sections of hair. Typically the top layer or the front sections, create a natural, sun-kissed effect. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply partial balayage:

Gather the necessary tools and materials: You will need a hair lightener (such as bleach), a developer, a mixing bowl, a hairbrush or comb, foil (optional), gloves, and a towel or cape to protect clothing.

Prepare the hair: 

Make sure the hair is clean and dry before starting. Comb through any tangles and separate the hair into sections using clips or hair ties, leaving out the sections you want to balayage.

Mix the hair lightener: 

Follow the instructions on the hair lightener to mix it with the developer in a plastic mixing bowl. Use the recommended ratios for the specific product you are using.

Apply the hair lightener: 

Put on gloves to protect your hands. Starting at the bottom of the sections you want to balayage, use a hairbrush or your fingers to apply the hair lightener to the mid-lengths and ends of the hair. Apply the lightener in a sweeping motion, blending it in with the surrounding hair for a natural look. You can choose to use foil to wrap the sections for more precise application and to prevent bleeding onto other hair sections.

Process the hair: 

Follow the recommended processing time on the hair lightener product instructions. Keep an eye on the hair to avoid over-processing, as balayage is meant to create a softer, more natural look.

Rinse and tone (optional): 

Once the hair has reached the desired level of lightness, rinse the hair thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove the hair lightener. If desired, you can apply a toner to neutralize any unwanted brassy tones. To achieve the desired color result. Follow the toner manufacturer’s instructions for application and processing time.

Style as desired: 

After rinsing and toning (if applicable), shampoo and condition the hair. Style the hair as desired using your preferred styling tools and products.

Maintain the balayage: 

Balayage is a low-maintenance hair color technique, but it’s important to use color-safe shampoos and conditioners and avoid excessive heat styling to maintain the color and integrity of the hair.

It’s recommended to seek the assistance of a professional hairstylist if you’re new to balayage or have limited experience with hair coloring techniques to achieve the best results.


What is a partial vs full balayage?

Partial balayage vs full balayage are both hair coloring techniques. They involve hand-painting highlights onto the hair to create a natural, sun-kissed effect. However, the main difference is the amount of hair that is colored.

How long does a partial balayage take?

The duration of a partial balayage treatment depends on various factors. Including the desired result, the hair’s starting color and condition, the stylist’s expertise, and the products used. On average, a partial balayage can take around 1-2 hours, but it can vary. It’s best to consult with a professional hairstylist for a more accurate estimate based on your specific hair and desired outcome.

How long does partial balayage last?

Partial balayage, like other hair color techniques, is not permanent and will gradually fade over time. However, the exact duration of how long it lasts can vary depending on factors such as hair care routine, hair type, and color used. On average, partial balayage can last for 8-12 weeks before needing a touch-up. Using color-safe shampoos and conditioners, avoiding excessive heat styling, and protecting the hair from UV exposure can help extend the longevity of a partial balayage.

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