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Photo of writer Allie Chilicki and her journey of dealing with heat damaged hair

32 Caramel Balayage Hair Ideas to Warm Up Your Look

Caramel balayage hair isn’t going anywhere! Here’s everything you need to know to get it right, plus 32 inspo photos to inspire your next salon visit.

Caramel—a color that evokes ideas of warmth and luxury. It looks as good as it sounds which is why it’s a hugely popular hair color. Caramel hair color can brighten up darker strands, add more dimension to brown tones, and blend beautifully with lighter hair for an eye-catching look.

If you’re ready to switch up your locks, caramel balayage might be the change you need to ease into a completely brand new hair color. But don’t be surprised if you love your brushed caramel locks so much, you indulge in your bayalage longer.

What is a caramel balayage?

Balayage is a highlighting technique where instead of using foils, the color is painted on by hand. This creates a more gradient finish and leaves your hair looking more natural and sun-kissed. A caramel balayage is at its best on a light brown or dark brunette canvas and is one of the most popular requests for stylists due to the range of shades it offers. From subtle and sophisticated to bold and glam, this warm color can be applied in a number of different ways; meaning it will compliment lots of complexions and hair types.

Good hair day by @avhair_

How long does a caramel balayage last?

One of the greatest advantages of balayage is how long it lasts. Traditional foil highlights require touch-ups every few weeks, whereas Balayage will last three to four months on average. Ideal if you want something low maintenance and lower cost in the long run. You can also help keep your new colour vibrant with a nourishing shampoo like Matrix Keep Me Vivid Sulfate-Free Shampoo.

Now that you know exactly what to ask for at the salon and what it takes to maintain your exciting new color, let’s get to finding inspo for your new look. Here are 32 ideas for a caramel balayage so you can feel gorgeous anytime, anywhere.

The Best Caramel Balayage for Brunette Hair

Good hair day by @live_love_dohair

Light Caramel

A subtle look that can still grab attention in a crowded room. This look pops particularly in the fall when worn in loose waves for an airy, sultry style. In between your salon visits, we recommend using Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Blue to keep any lightened areas free of brassy tones and add lasting high-shine.

Good hair day by @lindsey.marie.olson

Brunette to Blonde

A caramel balayage that embraces both bright tones and darker ones, this style lets your caramel tones grow out gracefully. You may need to visit the salon a few times to maintain some of the lighter tips at the end of your hair, however.

Good hair day by @enriquelopezstudio

Sunkissed Subtle

A sprinkling of caramel both stands out and compliments a range of skin tones.

Good hair day by @xo.farhana.balayage

Ash Brown and Caramel

If you like to keep your hair color looking natural, while still embracing a modern style go for a cool blend of ash brown with caramel balayage.

Low Gradient Balayage

This style compliments natural brunettes and adds warm caramel waves to an easygoing look.

Good hair day by @desireealyssahair

Loose Ringlets with Caramel Balayage

Let your caramel curls twist together for a style that’s sophisticated, fun, and perfect for a night out!

Good hair day by @alis_cristache

Brown Hair with Caramel

This look suits a range of complexions, bringing warmth and style. Make it chic and cut it shorter.

Good hair day by @live_love_dohair

Caramel Bronde

Bronde is a fusion between blonde and brown hair, creating a sun-kissed, striking result that looks bright yet natural. This style highlights all the shades of caramel, so showcase it with loose, cascading waves.

Good hair day by @_coloraddict

Caramel on Brown Hair

Embrace your natural brunette color while subtly warming it up with caramel.

Balayage with see-through bangs

A casual cut that adds honey caramel tones and looks simply effortless. If you have bangs, try this look, if you don’t, consider this is your sign to get some.

Good hair day by @hairbyayumi

Balayage with Root Melt

Root melting creates depth and dimension within your color, creating a ‘lived in’ look. This look is low maintenance as it lets you embrace your roots and natural color while also having the lightness and brightness of highlights or balayage lower down. Perfect for brunette melts, high-contrast blondes, and summer to fall blonde transformations.

Good hair day by @stephanie_stylist

Face-Framing Ombre

A popular style that adds color to frame the face. Maintaining ombre may not be the easiest, but if you let it grow out naturally it still looks stunning.


Keep it simple, yet stylish with center-parted waves. You can let the color grow out to match a trendy undone look, that’s pure effortlessness.

Good hair day by @niko_edwardsandco

Caramel Blonde

Enjoy the life of a blonde without sacrificing your roots. This shortbread caramel tone suits beachy waves or curls.

Good hair day by @coia_styles

Brown to Caramel

Another look that starts with dark roots, this one goes caramel in the middle and ends with a hint of blonde. It may take a few more trips to the stylist to maintain the variety of shades in your hair, but the effort is definitely worth it.

The Best Caramel Balayage for Dark Hair

Good hair day by @alex.mercedesss

Soft Caramel for Dark Hair

A low maintenance style that adds soft caramel waves for a look that is subtle, but shines when the light hits it.

Good hair day by @meghanrobsbeauty

Classy Deep Caramel Balayage on Dark Hair

Adding creamy caramel tones to dark hair is stylish and subtle with a hint of mystery.

Black with Caramel

Caramel looks great, not just on long hair, but short stylish cuts too. This look is part of the popular ‘undone’ trend that sees your roots remain black while the rest of the hair showcases a gorgeous woody tone. Wear tousled for a real effortless look.

Good hair day by @salon_caroline_le

Dark Caramel with Honey Highlights -

This mix of dark caramel and honey highlights is warm and inviting. Add tousled waves for a carefree feel.

Good hair day by @lorenhairstylist

Chocolate Brown with Creamy Caramel

Caramel perfectly compliments rich, chocolatey hair colors. A classic combination designed to have your hair looking healthy and shiny.

Good hair day by @nicolawelshhair

Chocolate Caramel

Chocolate and caramel are always a match made in heaven. Styling in gentle waves showcases rich, dark roots that get lighter throughout the hair and give way to frothy caramel tips.

Good hair day by @beautyxsyd

Natural Curls

Sprinkling some luscious lightness across your curls adds dimension to your look. With thicker hair, a color that’s low maintenance can be ideal.

Good hair day by @hairmeroar

Chocolate and Ashen Balayage

Dark chocolate tresses turn caramel macchiato. Yummy!

Good hair day by @diana.bernal.blondes

Caramel-Toned Money Piece

A ‘money piece’ is a bright frame around the front hairline. This style lifts your complexion and will grow out very softly with minimal upkeep or maintenance.

Good hair day by @alihooper_bixiecolour

Salted Caramel

Enjoy contrast and depth between both light and darker caramel pieces.

Straight Balayage

We may typically associate a balayage with wavy or curly styles, but try something different and showcase it with straightened hair.

Good hair day by @themaneartistry

Black Bob with Caramel

The ultimate undone look—this is suited to those who want to add color, but don’t necessarily want multiple trips to the stylist. Wear this look wavy and unbothered.

The Best Caramel Balayage for Light Hair

Good hair day by @pflaum_sarah

Classic Blonde and Caramel

Retain the classic beauty of your blonde locks while enjoying a warm caramel tone. This style looks effortless and is built for long, luscious waves.

Balayage with Layers

This is a chic style that keeps your hair straight, but has layers that create volume.

Good hair day by @kjb_hair

Strawberry Blonde and Caramel

Keep the rosy shade of your hair and thread in some warm caramel tones for soft, tousled tresses that look natural and glowing. We love Redken All Soft Moisture Restore Leave-In Treatment for its intensely moisturizing powers thanks to hyaluronic acid—the perfect pairing for dry ends that can be a result of your new balayage.

The Best Caramel Balayage for Red Hair

Good hair day by @pacolatorre

Dimensional Caramel Brown

Get into caramel glaze with this striking warm autumnal tone. It’s a shade that compliments those with paler skin and those with red hair tones.

Good hair day by @galinoire

Copper Red with Subtle Caramel

Copper meets caramel here for a bold, luscious blend. Use Matrix Brass Off All-In-One Toning Leave-In Spray to shield your copper-caramel mix from unwanted brassy orange tones.

Interested in trying caramel bayalage? has all the salon-quality products you need to maintain your color-treated strands.

Header photo credit: @the_zlist and @tabethacarns

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