Best Bleach for Balayage

best bleach for balayage featured photo

If you’re on the lookout for the best bleach you can use for balayage, remember to keep an eye out for some very important things to consider: the type or form, lift level, and whether or not it has conditioning and nourishing ingredients. I searched far and wide for the best of the best with these factors in mind and I have them reviewed and summarized below. If you’re interested to find out which ones are in my list and how the factors came into play, go ahead and read along with me!

Balayage is a perfect choice for those who like to upgrade their hair game but want minimal upkeep and minimal trips to the salon for hair color retouches. I, for one, am one of those people. So when I got highlights on my virgin hair a few years ago, I was amazed at how low maintenance it can be. Since the pandemic hit and I’ve been stuck at home, I have been looking for ways to up my hair game so I could feel better while spending most days at home.

That’s when I came across the art of balayage. Well what do I know, it’s even more low maintenance than my previous choice of hair style! And because I have natural hair that’s prone to dryness, I’m very careful on what I put on my hair. Because of this, I have been on the hunt for a gentle and safe bleach that will give me the results I’m going for but also not cause me severe hair damage.

If you’re like me and are currently looking for a bleach that will give you wonderful results and at the same time don’t want to pay so much damage to the hair, lucky for you because I’ve done the intense research for you and I both!

What is Balayage?

Balayage is a French word that means ‘sweeping’ and uses a sweeping motion to apply lightener on hair. It’s basically a highlighting technique that doesn’t require the use of foils, unlike traditional highlighting. The balayage method uses a free-hand technique wherein the stylist sweeps the lightener on the hair aka free-hand painting highlights on hair. This allows a more subtle, softer, and natural hair color just about anybody can rock.

The technique used in balayage gives your stylist more control that results in more blended hues on the hair. This is a popular hair styling technique among many people because it makes your hair effortlessly beautiful. Another reason why this has become a popular and favorite trend among those looking for ways to upgrade their hair is because it is low maintenance and doesn’t require one to frequent salons too much for touch-ups.

Do I Have to be Blond for Balayage?

Traditionally, blond has been the base for balayage. But it doesn’t mean one has to have blonde hair to sport balayage as their hair style. Even if you aren’t naturally blond and have naturally dark hair, you can still opt for balayage as your style.

And although blond has been the traditional color and shade for this hair styling technique, in recent years and the fact that this has never been not a trend, you have a variety of color choices to go by – pearly, rose quartz, peach, and many more others you can imagine.

No matter what your current hair color is, blonde hair or dark hair, balayage is always a good choice of hair style and you are left with so many hues to choose from. You have to remember though that your current hair color and hair color choices can actually determine the number of sessions your hair has to go through to achieve your desired hue.

Types of Balayage Hair Lighteners

Before diving right in to the best hair lighteners or bleaches that will give you beautiful balayage, it’s important that we first understand that they come in different types and forms.

Clay

Clay lighteners are the fast-absorbing type among the three. Its consistency and texture is similar to that of toothpaste. Thanks to the consistency, clay lighteners allow you to hold and easily control the hair for ease of application. This type of lightener also penetrates the hair quickly and efficiently.

Aside from coming as an already clay form, clay lighteners can also come in powder form wherein you might need a solution to mix it with to form the clay-like paste. However, those that come in powder form may contain lesser conditioning ingredients for the hair so you might want to take that into consideration, too.

Cream

Another type and form of hair bleach or lightener is the cream type. Cream lighteners are a very thick liquid that doesn’t drip or easily dry out. It’s very easy to apply and use – actually the easiest among the three – as it allows for great control during application. This is a famous go-to for beginners. They are also often infused with hair conditioners to prevent the hair from drying out too much.

A quick reminder though that cream type lighteners often require more time to completely penetrate into the hair as compared to other types and forms.

Oil

With oil as the base of this type, oil lighteners are the mildest of all the forms. It’s also fairly easy to use and control during application. But because it is a milder formula, the lightening effect you can get from oil type lighteners might not be the strongest. If you chose an oil type but would want more lift, you may need to do a few more sessions on your hair.

Now that we’ve got the different forms and types of hair balayage hair lighteners covered, let’s now dive into our favorites of the bunch!

Our Top Picks for the Best Bleach for Balayage

Product ImageProduct NamePrice
Our PickOligo Blacklight Balayage Clay LightenerOligo Blacklight Balayage Clay LightenerCheck Price
Close SecondPravana Pure Light Balayage LightenerPravana Pure Light Balayage LightenerCheck Price
Best Strong FormulaClairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder LightenerClairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder LightenerCheck Price
Schwarzkopf BlondMe Bond Enforcing Premium Clay LightenerSchwarzkopf BlondMe Bond Enforcing Premium Clay LightenerCheck Price
WELLA Color Charm Powder LightenerWELLA Color Charm Powder LightenerCheck Price

The Best Bleach for Balayage

1. Oligo Blacklight Balayage Clay Lightener – Our Pick!

Oligo Blacklight Balayage Clay Lightener

Our pick for the best bleach for balayage is the Oligo Blacklight Balayage Clay Lightener! A favorite among hair stylists and at home hair enthusiasts, award-winning brand Oligo produced one of the most famous choices of hair lighteners to achieve the balayage hairstyle. With a formula infused with 11 amino acids, this hair lightener is sure to moisturize your hair and aid in enhancing your hair strength so you can say goodbye to dry, brittle hair one usually ends up with after highlighting or hair coloring.

If you’re scared to venture into the world of balayage because of the dry and brittle aftermath, fear no more because this balayage clay lightener is formulated with argan oil to hydrate hair, improve hair elasticity, and even protect it from harmful UV rays. This one is specially formulated with your hair health in mind.It allows for open air technique and is especially recommended for balayage, hair painting, and ombre techniques. It also has a special formula that enfolds the hair strands into a hard shell, maintaining moisture and optimal texture without bleeding or transferring.

This Oligo hair lightener is dust-free and can lift up to 6 levels. It doesn’t require the use of foil and works just as effectively and efficiently. It doesn’t contain any form of sulfate, salt, and paraben and contains 100% vegan ingredients. Thanks to its topnotch formula and combination of ingredients, it also helps improve the hair’s smoothness and shine.

Pros:

  • Formulated for balayage, hair painting, and ombre
  • Contains 11 amino acids
  • Moisturizes and improves hair strength
  • Contains argan oil to hydrate hair and improve elasticity
  • Protects hair from UV rays
  • Locks in moisture
  • Dust-free formula
  • Lifts up to 6 levels
  • Foil-free
  • Vegan and zero sulfate, salt, and parabens

Cons:

  • None

2. Pravana Pure Light Balayage Lightener – Close Second!

Pravana Pure Light Balayage Lightener

Coming in to a close second of our choices for the best balayage bleach and lightener is the Pure Light Balayage Lightener from hair expert brand Pravana! Also specially formulated for the art of balayage, it is able to create effortless, natural blondes, without the use of foils whether for home or professional use. The specially-made formulation allows for open-air lightening for gradual and sun-kissed looking highlights.

This one is a clay-based formula that uses a blend of rice flour and kaolin clay that hardens and creates a shell around the hair that insulates the hair so it continues processing and locks in moisture without the use of the traditional foil. The unique hardened shell makes sure your hair doesn’t get too dry and brittle while the lightener processes your hair.

The keratin protein infused in this hair lightener strengthens the hair as it is being processed and lightened. It creates a full-circle protection for your hair, unlike with other hair bleaches and lighteners. It also has aloe vera that keeps your hair moist and preserves the overall integrity and health of hair.

Pros:

  • Specially formulated for balayage
  • Open-air lightening for gradual and sun-kissed highlights
  • Unique blend of rice flour and kaolin clay
  • Insulates hair so it continues processing while locking in moisture
  • No need for use of traditional foil
  • Hair is not too dry and brittle
  • Keratin protein-infused to strengthen hair
  • Aloe vera-infused to preserve hair integrity and health

Cons:

  • None

3. Clairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder Lightener – Best Strong Formula!

Clairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder Lightener

Our pick for the best strong formula bleach for balayage is the BW2 Hair Powder Lightener from famous hair care brand Clairol Professional! If you’re looking for a hair lightener that has extra strength compared to other hair lighteners out in the market, you might want to check this out. If with other hair lighteners, you would need to do a couple of sessions to get your desired lift, especially if you have resistant hair, this just might help minimize that with its extra-strong and extra-fast formula.

This offers balanced, quick, and predictable hair lightening results. And with hair bleaching and lightening, you’d want nothing else. This powder lightener forms a rich and creamy consistency that is easy to use and control, even for absolute beginners. It’s also formulated so that there is minimized powder fly-away that’s perfect for a variety of off-scalp hair lightening treatments and offers complete creative control over the entire process.

Because this has an extra-strong and extra-fast formula, be sure to leave it on hair for just as long as it is instructed. Leaving it on for too long than intended might cause irritation and damaged hair.

Pros:

  • Extra-strong and extra-fast formula
  • Balanced, quick, and predictable results
  • Rich and creamy consistency
  • Easy to use and control – beginner-friendly
  • Minimized powder fly-away
  • Great for a variety of off-scalp treatments
  • Offers creative control

Cons:

  • Leaving it on for too long might lead to irritation and hair damage

4. Schwarzkopf BlondMe Bond Enforcing Premium Clay Lightener

Schwarzkopf BlondMe Bond Enforcing Premium Clay Lightener

The next item that made it into our list of the best bleach for balayage is the Schwarzkopf BlondMe Bond Enforcing Premium Clay Lightener! Fused with the Schwarzkopf brand’s famous Bond Enforcing Technology, it allows hairdressers and just about anyone to come up with creative freehand blond looks. The formula allows you to achieve more efficiency than ever before in the lightening process! It also has a dust-reduced powder formula that allows for easy and precise application and lifts up to 7 levels.

The premium soft-to-solid formula of this hair lightener that forms a solid outer shell – the hair on the inside is able to stay moist while working on its full lifting power. The shell creation formula also protects uncolored hair from transferring and bleeding. This ensures seamless and precise applications for amazing blond results.

Specially formulated for freehand techniques, you know that this will make an amazing bleach for balayage and will give you amazing, effortless results.

Pros:

  • Creative freehand techniques and looks
  • Specially formulated for freehand techniques – including balayage
  • Easy, precise, and efficient application
  • Dust-reduced powder formula
  • Lifts up to 7 levels
  • Soft-to-solid formula
  • Hair stays moist while processing
  • No transfer and bleeds
  • Seamless and precise results

Cons:

  • None

5. WELLA Color Charm Powder Lightener

WELLA Color Charm Powder Lightener

Our last choice that made the cut of the best bleach for balayage is the WELLA Color Charm Powder Lightener! This WELLA hair lightener boasts of a controlled and reliable lightening action, making it another excellent choice for those looking for an effective and efficient hair bleach for traditional highlights with foils or for freehand balayage techniques. It also works great in terms of full head bleaching or lightening and even regrowth and roots application.

It is formulated to be dust-free to reduce and minimize dust fly-away. It’s able to lift up to 7 levels, too. It is infused with a protecting oil system that helps hair lock in moisture while it is being processed. As a result, it’s not overly drying after processing and your hair feels less dry compared to other hair bleaches and lighteners.

Pros:

  • Controlled and reliable lightening action
  • Great for traditional highlights with foils
  • Great for freehand balayage techniques
  • Works for full head or regrowth and roots application
  • Dust-free powder lightener
  • Lifts up to 7 levels
  • Formulated with protecting oil system
  • Locks in hair moisture while hair is being processed
  • Not overly drying and damaging for hair

Cons:

  • Processing for too long may cause hair damage

How Long Does the Color Last?

The Balayage technique requires less maintenance and upkeep than traditional highlights and coloring. This allows for longer time in between salon appointments. So how long does balayage last on the hair before you should start thinking about booking another appointment?

While traditional foil highlights will have you coming in for salon appointments every few weeks if you want to keep it looking good and fresh, balayage usually lasts for about 3 to 4 months. When it starts to lose some of its colors, you’d want it retouched to restore its vibrant and lively colors.

Taking Care of Your Hair

Though a popular choice among many people thanks to its low maintenance and upkeep nature, it’s still important that you know how to take care of your balayage hair to make sure it’s kept beautiful and vibrant before your next salon appointment.

No too much hair washing

Because balayage is still a hair color, you don’t want to be washing your hair too much because doing so will speed up the fading process of your new hairstyle. Washing your hair every day will result in the quick fading of your balayage.

Sun exposure and swimming

Too much sun exposure can also cause premature color fading. The sun’s harmful UV rays can also cause hair damage and cause extreme hair drying. Be sure to keep your hair protected if you’re going out and you know that you’ll be exposed for an extended period of time.

Swimming in a pool that contains chlorine will also damage your balayage’s color. Chlorine can most likely make your hair dry and brittle and overall more prone to more damage. As much as you can, try to minimize dipping your hair in chlorine pool water.

Choose hair products wisely

If you decide to go for balayage for your new hairstyle, you would also want to opt for sulfate-free hair products. Sulfate can strip off natural oils in your scalp, resulting in dry and brittle hair. Sulfate also strips away the color in your balayage hair, resulting in premature color fading.

Conditioners also play an important role in keeping your balayage hair healthy and vibrant. Include a sulfate-free conditioner in your routine to keep your hair moisturized. There are also a wide variety of hair product choices that are specifically formulated for color-treated hair so make sure you keep an eye out for those.

Touch-up

Though it requires less salon appointments than your usual hair color treatments, you would eventually need to book an appointment to touch up your balayage. Make sure you do that to keep your hair looking effortlessly vibrant and overall beautiful.

How to Choose the Best Beach for Balayage

There are many options available to anyone when it comes to bleaches and lighteners for balayage. And because of this, it’s important that you’re aware of some important factors you should take into careful consideration.

Type or form

As we’ve discussed early on in this article, there are several forms in which balayage hair lighteners come in – clay, cream, and oil. Each form is different in terms of the formula, how easy they are to apply and control, consistency, and whether they are a mild or strong formula. Think about the form you’d want in your hair lightener in choosing which one you’ll go with in the end.

Lift level

Lift or lifting is the chemical process of lightening one’s hair color. With each specific hair lightener or bleach are different hair level lifts. The higher the level, the more lift or the more your hair lightens in color. Your current hair color also plays a role in how much your hair will lift so be sure to take that into consideration.

Conditioning and nourishing ingredients

There are a wide variety of bleach options that are formulated with conditioning ingredients. And because balayage normally entails hair bleaching or lightening, hair dryness is inevitable. This makes conditioning ingredients extra important if you’re especially scared of dry and brittle hair as a result of hair coloring. This will not totally eliminate the dryness but will at least reduce it.

Conclusion

Balayage is a trend that doesn’t seem like it will stop trending anytime soon. If you’re thinking of getting one, you should familiarize yourself with some of the best hair lighteners you can get your hands on at this moment.

The Oligo Blacklight Balayage Clay Lightener is our choice for the best bleach for balayage thanks to its amino acids-infused formula that moisturizes hair and improves hair strength while lifting hair for your desired balayage style. Coming to a close second is the Pravana Pure Light Balayage Lightener for its unique blend of rice flour and kaolin clay that will also lock in moisture while lifting hair to your desired hair color. And if what you’re looking for is a balayage bleach with a strong formula, then the Clairol Professional BW2 Hair Powder Lightener might be for you as this one is able to work effectively on usually resistant hair.

If you’re looking to up your hair game by getting a balayage, we hope you were able to find the best bleach for your hair needs. Here’s to your happy, beautiful and vibrant hair!

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