The Verdict on my Balayage Highlights

I unexpectedly had to reinstall my image editing software, so the graphic for my April Favorites was not done in time for Favorites to go live today. SOON, and thank you for bearing with me. :)

Balayage Prep

It took me a while to work up the nerve to pursue balayage a couple years ago. I loved the first two appointments, but my third was lackluster. The salon, which I enjoy in a general sense, switched up my colorist without notice for my third appointment. She didn’t do a great job, and I’m not okay with just feeling, “okay,” with the results of that kind of beauty spending.

I rescheduled, wrung my hands, and ultimately canceled my most-recent appointment (around St. Patrick’s Day). At the time, I decided I was done spending several hours and over a hundred dollars, twice a year, on it. I know that, compared to most people who color their hair, my commitment was barely that. I resolved to give myself more time to formulate my final verdict on my balayage highlights.


“Maybe,” I wondered to myself, “I could do this myself.” I’ve done plenty of other things that are generally pro-only. I’m educated, risk-averse, and tend to adhere to process. Down the rabbit hole I went to learn about levels, lightener, developer volume, processing times, etc. I was surprised to learn that it sounds a lot easier than one might expect if one is working with hair that has not been previously colored or otherwise chemically tampered-with.

Feeling like a mad scientist, I stocked my cart full with Wella products to meddle with. The total of all the supplies I needed for several treatments was a fraction of what I’d pay at the salon.

Then, I let them sit in the cart for two weeks. Though still intrigued, my excitement faded. I never made the purchase.

The Verdict on my Balayage Highlights

I reasoned that even if I could pull it off myself that it wasn’t going to be worth the hassle to bother. I’d have to buy and store supplies, use, clean, and store new tools. I’d need to have a bigger, better mirror to see the back of my head.

It boils down to a lot of time and money being spent on things that are not priorities for me at this time. Instead, I will grow my highlights out.

The Bottom Line – What I Learned

  • Having lighter hair was fun! I liked the way it lit up my face.
  • I was happy that I didn’t need to worry about depositing color to counteract fading. That isn’t to say it is maintenance-free, however. Between (even infrequent) touch-ups and DIY maintenance, there’s a good bit of sunk cost.
  • I learned that, even when I enjoyed the outcome and money was not an object, I hated feeling chained to maintenance. Whether I was doing it myself or not, I hate it. It’s one thing with skin, nails, or hair cuts – those are non negotiable; nails keep growing and need to be trimmed and tidied. Slapping color on them makes me feel put together in a way that highlights simply do not.