How to Balayage Short Hair

A woman sporting short balayage hairstyle.

There are a lot of French words associated with décor, beauty, design and art. One of them that many are becoming quite familiar with in the local salon is “balayage.” In summary, balayage involves a style of hair-highlighting that many times looks natural, such as the way hair lightens in the summer at the tips, or it can look ultra-modern and techno similar to what one sees in nightclubs and discos in the big cities.

Why Balayage Tends to be Popular

The balayage style works extremely well for those who just want a cute haircut with bounce and lift versus just a flat boy’s look. The style allows lots of color variation from the darker natural roots to as light as a golden tip and highlight without the blunt frosting look.

And that’s the key; the hair looks natural as it transitions versus being a shock from one color to the next. Even better, with some length, the haircut style allows variety and something different versus just a typical women’s haircut.

How it Works

Technically speaking, balayage involves creating variety for what would otherwise just be a pixie cut or a bob or similar short haircut. Instead, the approach makes the short hairstyle unique and different from anything traditionally available, with an emphasis on contrast and gradient versus distinct angular looks. In short, it’s taking an artistic approach to short hair versus just settling for lopping off the locks and letting them grow out again.

Tips to Think About

One particular aspect anyone thinking about a balayage approach should consider is their salon stylist’s experience. A balayage takes some skill to implement, and no one should end up being somebody’s rookie practice case with this style if hair treatment.

Once an experienced stylist is located, then it’s worth some time to go through different examples and models to identify what would work best for your particular interest, hair and face frame. Like so many other things with hair, some options work better than others with different individuals.

Pixie With an Edge Style

A woman with a slick side-swept pixie hairstyle.

This is the shortage hairstyle to try, with a very close to the scalp length. However, the crown length is slightly longer allowing for coloring on the edge. The back is shaved and tapered upward to the back of the head, which the crown and sides are slightly longer.

Short Sides with a Long Mop on Top

A woman sporting a colorful hairstyle with short sides with a long mop on top.

The Mop Top allows for much longer hair off the crown with the sides and back still kept short. The length of hair can be loosely brushed to the side for a bit of a flap look. The length allows lots of color transition to be woven in. In some very liberal approach some women have as much as three different colors transitioned from the root to the ends.

The A-Line Short Bob or Plain Bob

A woman with a plain bob hairstyle looking at herself in the mirror.

If you wanted to be a double in the latest version of the movie Tron or go back to the mod 1960s, this is the style to have. The shade tends to be a solid color from the roots to the ends, but the shortness allows the hair to be fluffed to give it body all the way around. The bob can be parted on the side or the middle for different looks. It’s quirky but traditional at the same time.

The Boy Cut

A woman with a boy cut hairstyle as seen from behind.

Truly a standard men’s haircut style with just the edges lightened, this style has the hair generally cut short with a bit more length on the crown (about two inches), and combed from the front to the back with a bit of fluffing to give it body. It has a natural finish that allows blonde natural highlights to come through.

Lots of Waves

A woman with short blond hair that has lots of waves.

For a medium hair length look, this approach takes advantage of wavy hair and lets the roots start natural dark while the hair by the middle and end has transitioned to a light blonde. It is the classic summer pool bleached hair look. The volume in the hair allows the entire look to come across as bouncy, free and low-stress fun as a look.

The Balayage Fake ‘Hawk

A woman sporting an edgy balayage fake hawk hairstyle.

Think of a pompadour style on a singer like Morrissey from the Smiths, and then transition from the roots to the top with lighter and lighter shades of the same color. You end up with this hairstyle which will stand out and play with gender roles a bit via appearances. You could even pretend you time-warped back to the 1980s and a Madonna video with this one.

The Bowl Cut

A woman with a bowl cut hairstyle carrying a dog.

As a style, the bowl cut is literally shaped liked an upside-down bowl on the top of one’s head, except it’s her hair instead. The approach is distinct with very straight hair formatting, and the coloring transitions from the back of the crown to the front. Think of a Star Trek Vulcan who decided to get a bit wild and crazy with hair colors and longer bangs in the front.

The A-line Pixie

A close look at a woman with A-line pixie hairstyle.

The hair is short and very close to the scalp, but it graduates from short in the back to longer in the front. The coloring, like the bowl cut, starts in the back of the crown and moves forward to the front with a lighter and lighter colors. This is ideal for a low-maintenance cut that still looks very feminine and is frequently parted on the side.

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