Highlights vs Babylights vs Lowlights: What’s the Difference?

Highlights vs Babylights vs Lowlights: What’s the Difference?

Have you ever found yourself staring at the mirror, contemplating a change in your hair colour, but overwhelmed by the multitude of options available? Picture this: You’re on Instagram, surrounded by an array of perfect hair, wondering whether highlights, babylights, lowlights, or balayage would be the perfect match for your style.

At Rush, we understand the confusion that comes with the world of hair colouring. As experts in the art of hair colour, we’re here to guide you through the maze of options, helping you discover the variations that make Highlights, Babylights, Lowlights, and Balayage unique. Our team at Rush brings a wealth of expertise in hair colouring techniques, ensuring that your journey to a vibrant, personalised look is both seamless and stunning.

Key Takeaways

Quickly grasp each hair colouring technique with these key points.

Unlock the secrets to stunning hair transformations:

  • Highlights:
    • Ideal for noticeable contrast and dimension.
    • Versatile for various hair types and styles.
  • Babylights:
    • Delicate and natural, perfect for a subtle, sunlit glow.
    • Low maintenance with a gradual colour transition.
  • Balayage:
    • Artistic and seamless, offering a natural, sun-kissed effect.
    • Versatile for all seasons and adaptable to various colour palettes.
  • Lowlights:
    • Create depth and richness with strands darker than your natural tone.
    • Versatile for different seasons, providing sophistication and texture.

Quickly navigate the world of hair colouring and choose the technique that suits your style and preferences. Experience the magic of personalised transformations at Rush.co.uk!

What are Highlights?

Highlights are strategically lightened strands that enhance your hair by adding depth and dimension. This transformative technique creates contrast and mimics the natural sun-kissed glow. Evolving from a trend into a timeless classic, highlights remain a go-to choice for those seeking versatility and radiance.

According to our stylist Kirsty Judge from our Artistic Team at Rush, “Highlights have stood the test of time, evolving from a fashionable choice to a go-to option for individuals seeking a sun-kissed glow.” Their popularity is owed to their adaptability to various hair types and styles, making them a versatile and dynamic choice for anyone aiming to illuminate their locks with a touch of radiance.

Read: What is Your Hair Type?

Who are Highlights for?

Wondering if highlights are the right choice for you? Highlights are versatile and suit a wide range of individuals seeking to enhance their hair’s natural beauty. Here’s a breakdown of who can benefit the most:

  • Darker Hair Tones: Highlights work wonders on individuals with darker hair tones, creating a striking contrast that adds vibrancy and radiance to your overall appearance.
  • Varied Hair Textures: Whether you have straight, wavy, or curly hair, highlights can be customised to compliment and accentuate the unique texture of your locks.
  • Various Style Preferences: Highlights can be tailored to suit both subtle and bold style preferences, making them suitable for those looking for a delicate enhancement or a more dramatic transformation.

Stylist’s Tip: Our experts at Rush suggest that individuals with darker hair tones can benefit the most from highlights. The contrast created by highlights adds a touch of radiance, enhancing the natural beauty of your hair. Additionally, for those with straight hair, highlights can create a beautiful play of light, while individuals with wavy or curly hair can enjoy added dimension and texture. The key lies in the personalised application to achieve the desired effect, ensuring that highlights seamlessly integrate with your unique style and hair characteristics.

What are Babylights?

Babylights are a delicate and finely woven hair colouring technique designed to mimic the subtle, natural highlights seen in a child’s hair. The process involves strategically placing very fine, thin highlights throughout the hair, creating a soft and seamlessly blended effect.

Unlike traditional highlights, babylights are much finer and subtler. While highlights aim to add contrast and dimension to the hair, babylights focus on imitating the sun-kissed glow that is naturally present in children’s hair. The result is a more natural, sunlit appearance, as if your hair has naturally lightened over time.

Babylights are perfect for those seeking a low-maintenance, effortlessly beautiful look. The subtle nature of babylights allows for seamless regrowth, reducing the need for frequent touch-ups. This makes them an ideal choice for individuals who prefer a more gradual colour transition without the stark contrast often associated with traditional highlights.

In summary, while traditional highlights create noticeable contrast and dimension, babylights offer a softer, more natural effect, making them an excellent choice for those looking to achieve a sun-kissed glow reminiscent of childhood.

Who are Babylights for?

Babylights are a versatile hair colouring technique that caters to a range of preferences and styles. Here’s a breakdown of who can benefit the most from the subtle beauty of babylights:

  • Low-Maintenance Enthusiasts: If you prefer a low-maintenance hair colour that seamlessly grows out, babylights are an excellent choice. Their fine and gradual nature allows for a natural-looking regrowth, minimising the need for frequent touch-ups.
  • Those Seeking a Natural Look: Babylights are particularly effective for individuals who desire a natural appearance. The technique imitates the soft, sunlit highlights often seen in children’s hair, creating a gentle and effortless effect.
  • Anyone with Finer Hair: Babylights work exceptionally well for individuals with finer hair textures. The delicate placement of these highlights adds dimension without overpowering the natural texture of the hair.
  • Styles Requiring Subtlety: If you’re aiming for a subtle, sun-kissed effect without the pronounced contrast associated with traditional highlights, babylights are the perfect choice. They lend themselves well to creating a beautifully blended and understated look.

What is Balayage?

Balayage is a French-derived hair colouring technique that involves a freehand application of colour, creating a natural, sun-kissed effect. Instead of traditional highlighting methods, colour is painted onto sections of the hair for a seamless, blended look.

Balayage is known for its versatility, suitability for various hair lengths and textures, and its ability to offer a softer regrowth line, reducing the need for frequent touch-ups. Recent trends in balayage include an expanded colour palette, ranging from classic blondes to unconventional pastels and bold hues.

Emerging techniques such as “foilayage” and “root smudging” have gained popularity, adding intensified effects and seamless blends. With its timeless appeal, balayage remains a chic, low-maintenance choice, providing endless possibilities for creative expression in the world of hair colouring.

Who is Balayage for?

Balayage is a versatile and universally flattering hair colouring technique that appeals to a broad spectrum of clients. Here’s a breakdown of who can benefit the most from the beauty of balayage:

  • All Hair Lengths and Textures: Balayage is adaptable to various hair lengths and textures, making it suitable for both short and long hairstyles, as well as straight, wavy, or curly hair.
  • Low-Maintenance Seekers: If you’re someone who values a low-maintenance hair colour that grows out seamlessly, balayage is an excellent choice. Its soft regrowth lines require fewer touch-ups compared to traditional highlighting methods.
  • Those Seeking a Natural Look: Balayage creates a natural, sun-kissed effect that is perfect for individuals desiring a subtle and effortless appearance.
  • Creative Expression Enthusiasts: With its customisable nature, balayage is ideal for those who want to experiment with various colour palettes, from classic blondes to unconventional pastels and bold hues.

Celebrity Styles: Balayage has been embraced by numerous celebrities, becoming a go-to choice for their stunning looks. Notable examples include:

  • Gigi Hadid: Known for her effortlessly chic style, Gigi Hadid often showcases a beautiful balayage, adding dimension and depth to her blonde locks.
  • Chrissy Teigen: Renowned for her ever-changing hairstyles, Chrissy Teigen has flaunted balayage with various colour choices, proving its versatility.
  • Jennifer Lopez: Often showcases a gorgeous blend of caramel and honey tones through her signature balayage, enhancing her natural beauty with a sun-kissed glow. This style has become iconic, illustrating how balayage can be adapted to different hair lengths and textures while providing a timeless and radiant look.

Read: What is Hair Colour Correction?

What are Lowlights?

Lowlights are a transformative hair colouring technique that involves adding strands of colour darker than your natural hair tone. Unlike highlights, which lighten sections, lowlights create depth and dimension by introducing darker shades.

The process of applying lowlights typically includes weaving darker strands strategically throughout the hair. This technique is designed to add richness, contrast, and a multi-dimensional effect. Lowlights work well for those seeking to enhance their natural hair colour or create a more subdued and sophisticated appearance.

Contrast with Highlights: Lowlights and highlights work in harmony to create a balanced and dynamic look. While highlights add brightness and radiance, lowlights contribute depth and richness, resulting in a beautifully blended and textured finish. The contrast between the two techniques adds visual interest and complexity to your overall hairstyle.

  • Complementing Seasons and Styles: Lowlights are particularly versatile when it comes to complementing different seasons and styles. For example:
  • Autumn and Winter: Lowlights in deeper, warmer tones, such as rich browns or mahogany, can emulate the warmth associated with the autumn and winter seasons.
  • Spring and Summer: Lighter lowlights, such as caramel or toffee shades, can add a sun-kissed glow, complementing the brightness of spring and summer.

Who are Lowlights for?

  • Those Seeking Depth and Contrast: Lowlights are perfect for individuals looking to add richness and contrast to their hair. If you desire a more varied and textured look, lowlights can provide depth without completely altering your natural colour.
  • Anyone with Lighter Hair Tones: Lowlights work exceptionally well for individuals with lighter hair tones. The contrast between the darker strands and the natural colour enhances the overall vibrancy and sophistication of the hairstyle.
  • Fine Hair Textures: If you have fine hair, lowlights can create an illusion of thicker and fuller hair by adding dimension and depth.
  • Seasonal Adaptability: Lowlights are highly adaptable to different seasons. Rich browns or mahogany tones can emulate the warmth associated with fall and winter, while lighter caramel or toffee shades can provide a sun-kissed glow for spring and summer.

Lowlights offer a customisable approach to hair colouring, allowing for a subtle or more pronounced transformation based on your preferences. Whether you’re aiming for a touch of richness or a bold contrast, lowlights can elevate your style by enhancing the natural beauty of your hair.

How to Choose

Choosing the right hair colouring technique depends on various factors, and understanding your preferences and lifestyle can guide you to the perfect choice. Let’s revisit the key differences and considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  • Style Preference:
    • Highlights: Opt for highlights if you desire noticeable contrast and dimension. Ideal for those seeking a sun-kissed glow and versatility in colour choices.
    • Babylights: Choose babylights for a more subtle and natural effect. Perfect for low-maintenance enthusiasts who prefer a delicate, gradual colour transition.
  • Maintenance Level:
    • Balayage: If you value a low-maintenance style that grows out seamlessly, balayage is an excellent choice. Its soft regrowth lines require fewer touch-ups compared to traditional highlighting methods.
    • Lowlights: Lowlights offer a sophisticated and adaptable approach. Choose them for a nuanced and textured look, providing depth without completely altering your natural colour.
  • Hair Color and Texture:
    • Highlights: Ideal for those with darker hair tones, highlights add vibrancy and radiance. Suitable for various hair textures, from straight to wavy or curly.
    • Babylights: Particularly effective for those with finer hair or anyone desiring a natural appearance with a soft colour
  • Seasonal Preferences:
    • Balayage: Versatile for all seasons, balayage can adapt to warmer tones for fall and winter or lighter shades for spring and summer.
    • Lowlights: Seasonally adaptable, lowlights in deeper, warmer tones suit fall and winter, while lighter lowlights provide a sun-kissed glow for spring and summer.

Consider these factors alongside your personal style, lifestyle, and desired outcome to choose the perfect hair colouring technique. Whether you’re looking for a bold transformation or a subtle enhancement, understanding these differences will guide you to a choice that suits you best.

Tips & Advice from our Experts

Unlock the secrets to vibrant and lasting hair colour with insights from our seasoned stylists at Rush. Here are some Pro Tips to boost your hair colouring experience:

Pro Tips:

  • Invest in Quality Products:
    • Opt for sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners designed for colour-treated hair.
  • Schedule Regular Touch-Ups:
    • Maintain your colour’s freshness with scheduled touch-ups, especially for balayage.
  • Deep Conditioning Treatments:
    • Nourish your hair regularly with deep conditioning treatments to counteract the effects of colouring.
  • Colour-Protecting Products:
    • Use leave-in conditioners or UV protection sprays to shield your colour from environmental factors.
  • Mindful Styling:
    • Set your styling tools to moderate temperatures to prevent unnecessary damage.
  • Consider Your Hair’s Natural State:
    • Choose a colouring technique that complements your hair’s natural texture and colour.
  • Post-Coloring Adjustments:
    • Consult your stylist for personalised recommendations if considering adjustments after the initial treatment.

Upgrade your hair care routine with these expert tips and ensure your vibrant locks stay stunning for longer. Trust Rush for a personalised and professional approach to your hair colouring journey.

Book Your Hair Appointment Now

Ready to transform your look? Book your hair appointment with our skilled stylists at Rush.co.uk or find a hairdresser near you to embark on a vibrant and personalised beauty journey. Our experts are here to bring your hair colour dreams to life.

Question to You: Have you tried any of these hair colouring techniques? What’s your go-to style, and what tips do you have for maintaining your vibrant locks? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below—we’d love to hear from you!


Can I Combine Different Colouring Techniques Like Highlights and Balayage?

Yes, combining techniques like highlights and balayage can create a unique, customized look.

How Often Should I Get Touch-Ups for Different Colouring Techniques?

Highlights: Every 6-8 weeks. Babylights: Every 8-12 weeks. Lowlights: Every 6-8 weeks. Balayage: Every 12-14 weeks.

Are These Colouring Techniques Suitable for All Hair Types and Textures?

Yes, all techniques can be tailored to different hair types and textures.

How Do I Choose the Right Technique for My Desired Look?

For contrast: Highlights. For subtle glow: Babylights. For depth: Lowlights. For a natural effect: Balayage.

How Can I Maintain the Health of My Coloured Hair?

Use sulfate-free products, apply deep conditioning treatments, and protect your hair from heat and UV damage.

Can I Transition from One Colouring Technique to Another?

Yes, transitioning between techniques is possible with professional guidance to ensure hair health.