29 Trendy Balayage Looks For Short Hair

We bet you didn't know giving up on quirky hair colors isn't necessary for short-haired folks!

Reviewed by Christina Benjamin, Licensed Cosmetologist Christina Benjamin Christina BenjaminLicensed Cosmetologist facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English) Bhumika Daga MA (English) Experience: 2.5 years

Trying the balayage technique on short hair might get dicey. Because of the length, you have to be more conscious of where and how you apply hair color to short hair. But here are 29 beautiful balayage short hair trends to inspire. Because a balayage done right on short hair is the best look! Don’t believe us? Just scroll and see for yourself! But before that, here’s how you can balayage short hair right at home!

protip_icon Before You Get Started
  • You can experiment with different sectioning and coloring techniques like horizontal, diagonal, or zig-zag. So, talk to your hairstylist to pick the suitable one for you.
  • Excessive washing may damage your balayage. Stick to 2 to 3 days of hair wash per week. You may use highlight-enhancing shampoos to maintain the color.
  • Balayage requires touch-ups at a hair salon every 12-14 weeks for proper hair maintenance.

How To Balayage Short Hair

You Will Need

  • A Balayage Kit
  • Clips For Sectioning
  • Toothbrush
  • Gloves
  • An Old Shirt
  • Comb
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner


  1. Brush/comb your hair to get rid of any tangles. Ensure that you are working with hair that hasn’t been washed in a couple of days.
  1. Put on your gloves and wear an old shirt that you wouldn’t mind getting stains on.
  1. Following the instructions on the balayage kit, mix the lightener and developer.
  1. If you have a bob or a lob, clip away the crown section of your hair and start working with the lower layers.
  1. Using a toothbrush, start applying the highlights onto your hair.
  1. Ensure the lights are heavier at the tips.
  1. Take thin and evenly spaced sections of hair and brush the lightening mixture onto your hair from the mid-lengths to create a “swept on” effect.
  1. If you have extremely short hair, apply the lightener only to the crown section of your hair.
  1. For bobs or lobs, unclip the crown section and apply the balayage to these layers.
  1. Once you’re done, leave the lightener on for the amount of time specified on the kit.
  1. Shampoo and condition your hair.

29 Balayage Hair Color Ideas For Short Hair

1. Soft Blonde Balayage

Soft blonde balayage
Image: Shutterstock

The above bob effortlessly merges shades and subtle blonde highlights that work well for all face shapes and skin tones. With a brunette base, the balayage seamlessly brings everything together and portrays a minimalist look you can don anytime.

2. Platinum Blonde Balayage

Platinum blonde balayage
Image: Shutterstock

The platinum blonde balayage is an alluring hairstyle you can bookmark for the frosty weather. The hairdo creates a deep texture and volume that is ideal for women with fine hair, while the babylights soften the face and accentuate the best facial features. A stunning hue and cut you can opt for if you gravitate towards humble styles.

3. High Contrast

High contrast balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

It is so hard to achieve the perfect high contrast style with short hair, but this artist has done the look complete justice. The deep brown roots smoothly blend out to a pale blonde, creating a drop root effect in this chic pixie. The dark undercut helps add dimension, emphasizing the darker roots.

protip_icon Trivia
Singer Miley Cyrus and Actress Kristen Stewart are well-known for sporting this look.

4. Fiery Gradient

Fiery gradient balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

This style is on fire! The hairstyle quite literally looks like a flame with the strawberry ginger hair blending out to a warm but pale blonde. The undercut adds to the flame-inspired style while also helping add the illusion of length of to the face.

5. Soft Contrast

Soft contrast balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

We love how this style has the perfect amount of texture. Because the short style is stacked at the back, only the crown layers have been lightened using the balayage technique, creating a smooth blend that does not add too much texture to the already existing volume. This look is perfect for smooth silky hair.

6. Gray Pixie

Gray pixie balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

We love our pixies! Especially when they hop onto the granny train. The gray balayage on this undercut pixie if one of the most badass looks we’ve come across. The black roots seamlessly blend into the gray lights, creating one of the smoothest transitions we’ve seen.

7. Rooted Sterling

Rooted sterling balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

The lights on this look start very close to the roots, creating a drop root effect. The sterling gray has been swept on to create a textured gray look that is just accentuated with the dark roots. This is one of the simplest and cutest sterling gray looks we’ve come across and we absolutely adore the style.

8. Unicorn Balayage

Unicorn balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

There is no highlighting technique that can’t be unicorned. We love how the vivid pastels in this style have been painted onto this A-line bob to create a sweeping effect. So much so that it is sweeping us right off of our feet. The streaks begin very close to the roots, creating a drop root effect and we are positive that this style will look as stunning fading out as it does freshly painted.

protip_icon Trivia
Celeb Paris Jackson sported Unicorn hair featuring pink, lavender, and blonde hues at the 2018 Daily Front Row Fashion Los Angeles Award.

9. Dirty Blonde Babylights

Dirty blonde balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

We love the subtlety that comes with the babylights effect. This balayage has a transition so smooth that it makes the style looks like it faded out naturally. The style has texture and depth, making it perfect for women with fine hair.

10. Strawberry Blonde Texture

Instruction Note Use the 3rd image between the black and pink hair
Image: Shutterstock

Talk about volume. If you love texture and volume, this style is for you. The transition from black to strawberry blonde begins very close to the roots on this bob. The blonde is multi-hued to add texture while the roots add depth. But that’s not it. The tips of the sections towards the front of the hair have been further lightened so that they perfectly frame the face.

11. Smooth Transition

Smooth transition balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

There are few things we love more than the perfect smooth long crop, and one of them is perfect blending. The warm tones of the rich brown base of this style have been seamlessly blended out to a cooler blonde. This look is chic and glossy perfection.

12. Purple Texture

Purple texture balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

We love unnatural colors. Especially when the styles they’re used incorporate expert fading. This purple balayage on a pixie starts with a black base that transitions to a deep purple, which blends out to a rosy lavender. We heart the balayage ombre effect that this look has.

13. Purple Rose Melt

Purple rose melt balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

Talking about expert fading, they’re even better when you incorporate more than one color. The natural black has been beautifully painted with shades of purple and rose gold, and we’re head over heels in love with the result of the balayage. The black roots blend out to a purple, which beautifully fades into a rose gold.

14. Cherry Pixie

Cherry pixie balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

Using multiple shades from the same color palette is the best way to add texture, and this look does just that. The style has multiple shades of cherry red, adding dimension to this cute short pixie. The lighter hues allow the color to pop while the darker ones add depth. Christina Benjamin, a licensed cosmetologist, adds, “ This is a beautiful fall or holiday festive color for a crop short haircut.”

15. Blonde Contrast

Blonde contrast balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

The best way to balayage a short style that has volume at the crown is to ensure that the lights are heavy towards the front of the crown. That is exactly what this style does. With heavy lights at the front, the side swept fringe perfectly frames the face creating the perfect tousled look.

16. Textured Ginger

Textured ginger balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

This is the shortest balayage style we’ve come across and we’ve mesmerized by the colors and the amount of precision. The ginger base has been expertly blended out to a fiery orange toward the front of the crown while the sides and back retain the natural base color. Licensed cosmetologist Christina Benjamin says, “This is what patience and a steady hand can create. The attention to detail in the cut and color is amazing. I love the color placement and variations of ginger.”

17. Dirty Blonde Balayage Pixie

Dirty blonde balayage pixie for short hair
Image: IStock

We love how defined this balayage is. The high contrast on this style has been minimized by expert blending. The crown has been evenly blended out to a lighter brown than the base. The artist then spruced up the volume at the crown with defined lights that add the perfect amount of texture.

18. Dirty Blonde Texture

Dirty blonde texture balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

If you have fine hair and need texture, this is the style for you. The natural dirty bronde base has been blended out to a dark dirty blonde. The color has been swept on, creating the perfect amount of texture and depth.

19. Brown Balayage

Brown balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

The balayage on this style is so subtle, yet so gorgeous. The dark brown has been toned out to a lighter brown. The mid-lengths have splashes of lighter color to help add movement. The dark roots add depth while swept on balayage effect adds texture.

20. Soft Texture

Soft texture balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

This is the perfect sun-kissed balayage to sport if you have fine wavy hair. The look adds subtle texture. The natural base has been seamlessly blended out. The look is low maintenance, soft, and rooty. Being completely on trend and low on maintenance.

21. Ash Babylights

Ash babylights balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

This ash hair color has a babylights effect and has been blended out with the perfect amount of texture for the granny hair look. The A-line bob has lighter strands of gray near the front and a heavy rooted look from the back. Christina Benjamin agrees with this lovely pick saying, “I’m in love with this cool sultry look. The color and cut is a 10 for me!”

22. Charcoal Melt

Charcoal melt balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

We thought we’d seen most perfect blends until we stumbled upon this style. The dark black roots have been seamlessly blended out to a light charcoal. The balayage ombre look has been perfected with color that has been swept on to create texture while retaining the smoothness of the look.

23. Dirty Flamingo

Dirty flamingo balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

Dirty pastels have become our new favorite trend and this color is helping nail the look. The dark roots add depth to the style. The color has been swept on to create texture. While the balayage starts very close to the roots and does not have a very evident fade, the look is sure to grow out seamlessly.

24. Ice Melt

Ice melt balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

We’re scouring the dictionary to find the right words to describe this look because it has rendered us utterly speechless. The black at the base has been blended out to a beautiful metallic blue. The artist has created the perfect balayage by painting on streaks of silver over the blue and blending the blue out to a beautiful ashy sterling.

25. Peekaboo Balayage

Peekaboo balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

It’s safe to say that we’ve not come across many looks that are more dimensional than this one. The rich brown base has been faded out to a mahogany brown, which then taken on vivid blues, reds, and yellows. The balayage at the crown incorporates a neat transition from brown to blue whereas the lower layers have been painted in vibrant reds and yellows, creating the perfect balayage and peekaboo crossover. Balayage on short layered hair accentuates the natural layers and adds dimension and depth to the short hair making it appear dense.

26. Subtle Brown

Subtle brown balayage for short hair
Image: IStock

We cannot get over how classy this subtle brown fade looks. The balayage looks so natural, sprucing up the style just enough to add dimension. The hair has been lightened from the higher lengths, near the framing sections. The transition starts closer to the mid-lengths around the back. If you want the perfectly natural sun-kissed look leaving none the wiser about your color job, this one’s for you.

27. Sterling Blue

Sterling blue balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

We love the cool tones on this one. The black hair perfectly blends out to a sterling blue. The artist has incorporated movement and definition by adding splashes of silver in the style, making it dimensional and textured.

28. Brown Blonde Balayage

brown blonde balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

This elegant brown balayage on short hair looks like every girl’s dream. The subtle shade change into blonde at the tips adds texture and dimension to your hair. The hair color is ideal if you want to change your appearance without coloring your entire hair.

29. Ombre Balayage

ombre balayage for short hair
Image: Shutterstock

Who said you can’t combine multiple colors to form one hairstyle? This hairstyle uses purple and different shades of green to create a trendy and versatile hair color. Alternate the color sequence from cool to warm undertones for fun and colorful results.

Infographic: 7 Popular Balayage Hairstyles For Short Hair

If you think balayage hairstyles are only meant for medium and long hair types, you are mistaken. This hair fashion work on all hair lengths and even very short hair. Balayage gives the tresses a perfect, sun-kissed look and adds dimension to the mane. This hairstyle looks effortless and blends well with natural hair. Check out the infographic below to take a look at some of the most popular balayage hairstyles for short hair.

7 popular balayage hairstyles for short hair (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The perfect balayage short hair looks shared on this post are inspiring enough to challenge the notion that balayage only looks good on long hair. On short hair, this hair coloring technique adds contrast and oomph. While it may be tricky to get it right, balayage short hair can stump other hairstyles flat once done well. As balayage is a coloring technique rather than a hair color, it is important to consult a hair stylist before you get it done. You can choose your favorite shades and even ombre to get the perfectly accentuated and decorated crop of hair on your head.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is balayage safer than highlights?

Balayage is more damaging than highlights as the process requires stronger hair dye and bleaching agents to get the desired results and careful and proper hair care to prevent any hair issues.

How long does a balayage take on short hair?

On short hair, a full balayage takes about 1.5 – 2 hours, while partial highlights may take 1-1.5 hours. Christina Benjamin, a licensed cosmetologist, adds, “This is true granted you do not have any color correction or previous color to remove. This may increase the timing of the service to achieve the desired color.”

What is the difference between a balayage and an ombre?

Balayage is a hair coloring technique where hair color is painted over tresses in a sweeping movement with a free hand. An ombre is a hair coloring trend where the hair is darker at the roots, gradually getting lighter at the ends.

How much is a balayage on short hair?

Getting a balayage on short hair can range from 70$-150$, depending on whether you get partial or full highlights.

Key Takeaways

  • It may get tricky to try balayage on short hair, so it is better to figure out where and how you want to apply it beforehand.
  • Balayage is a technique of hair highlighting that can texture and dimension to your short hair.
  • It is important to get touch-ups every 12 to 14 weeks to maintain it.
  • You can choose from various balayage types to suit your preference, such as soft blonde balayage, high contrast, smooth transition, soft texture, etc.
balayage short hair_illustration

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Want to wear your short hair in a new way? Check out the amazing video below that shows how to achieve the perfect balayage highlight for a stunning, natural-looking finish.
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Christina Benjamin

Christina BenjaminLicensed Cosmetologist

Christina Benjamin began her career nine years ago as a stylist at one of Michigan’s prominent salons in the Metropolitan Detroit area. This allowed her to master the cutting-edge technique many clients and celebrities sought. Being a driven and creative stylist, she specialized in short-hair custom cuts, color, and wig units. Thereafter, she became a certified hair loss specialist and...read full bio

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