Reverse Balayage Is The Best Way To Keep Your Hue Low-Maintenance For Winter

photo of woman with sleek blonde and sleek brown balayage hair

For years, we’ve looked to the traditional balayage technique to give our manes low-maintenance dimension and sunkissed brightness. During the winter months, however, you might want to take your blonde balayage a bit darker. If that’s the case, you’ll love reverse balayage. 

Women are now opting to cover their previously time-consuming color with this low-maintenance technique to add more depth to their hue. If you’re wondering what reverse balayage is and how to achieve it, keep scrolling for everything you need to know before you try one of winter’s hottest trends

Good hair day by @hairbykatlin.

What is reverse balayage?

Like traditional balayage, reverse balayage uses the same hand-painted technique to create natural-looking highlights. Instead of painting your strands with blonde, however, your colorist will use dark colors to add lowlights near the roots and throughout your strands to bring depth to your hue. If your blonde balayage has become too bright or brassy, reverse balayage can tone it down while maintaining the depth and dimension you’ve grown to love. 

If you were a natural brunette or dark blonde before your traditional balayage, reverse balayage has the added benefit of being even easier to maintain than conventional balayage. Because the colors used are typically closer to your natural shade, it’ll be even less noticeable when your hair grows out. That means you might head back to the salon for a haircut before you need a root touch-up.

Reverse balayage can not only reduce the amount of time spent maintaining your hair color, but also may help your hair’s health. If you’re a natural brunette who’s spent years lightening your locks, your hair will appreciate the much-needed break from bleach.

Good hair day by @diego.fossa.

Can you undo a balayage?

A professional colorist can help you undo your balayage, whether by stripping your hair color completely or changing your hue to match your specific hair goals. 

Good hair day by @_theebella.

How long does reverse balayage last?

Plan to head to the salon for touch-ups every six to eight weeks if your natural hair color is nowhere near your reverse balayage shade or if you want to make sure your color looks its best at all times. If you’re not sure which timeline is appropriate for you and your hair, your stylist will be able to suggest the best schedule for a follow-up appointment.

How do you care for reverse balayage?

If you think you won’t have to switch up your hair care routine just because you had balayage before, think again. Unlike your previous balayage—in which your colorist most likely used bleach to achieve lightened strands—your newly darkened strands have different needs. Lucky for you, caring for dark shades is typically much more low maintenance than caring for blonde hues.

First, swap out your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system formulated to care for your new color. We recommend Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner. The system is formulated with Redken’s exclusive RCT Protein Complex, which treats hair from the root to the core to the tip and gives colored strands the custom nourishment they need.

If your newly darkened hair begins to pull red, we recommend trying Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo and Conditioner. This color-depositing system works to remove red undertones from dark hair colors. 

Color services can still make your strands look and feel dry even if your colorist doesn’t use bleach to create your new hue. We suggest giving your strands a little extra TLC by incorporating a weekly hair mask into your hair care routine. Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics Mega Mask is a two-in-one hair mask that is both a treatment and care extender designed specifically for color-treated hair. 

If you’re ready to try the reverse balayage trend, we’ve rounded up 16 of our favorite ideas to give you some major inspiration.

The Best Reverse Balayage Ideas To Try Now

Good hair day by @rileypaintsribbons.

Dark Brown To Golden Blonde

Golden blonde is meant to shine, but if your hue has become a bit too bright for your liking, ask your colorist for a reverse balayage with dark brown

Good hair day by @styledby_debbe.

Chocolate To Light Brown

If you want to stay true to your dark brown roots while still seeing a bit of dimension throughout your strands, ask your colorist to replicate this chocolate to light brown reverse balayage. 

Good hair day by @kjb_hair.

Brown To Honey Blonde

For those who truly want to replicate sunkissed, lived-in color any time of year, opt for this brown to honey blonde reverse balayage. 

Good hair day by @hairbyjillyd.

Dark Blonde To Blush

Pastel pink hair doesn’t need to be high-maintenance. A reverse balayage will help blend your dark blonde roots with your fantasy color seamlessly. 

Good hair day by @thesassystrand.

Brown To Charcoal

Maintaining charcoal hair color can be time-consuming, but reverse balayage can help keep upkeep to a minimum. Ask your colorist to add lowlights to the strands around your root area and softly blend them with the rest of your mane. 

Good hair day by @charlestoncolorist.

Auburn To Golden

You don’t have to be a blonde or brunette to slay reverse balayage. The technique looks just as amazing on ladies with auburn locks. We love the way auburn blends softly into golden blonde. 

Good hair day by @coloredbycaitlin.

Black To Auburn

For those with very dark hair, you’ll be obsessed with how effortlessly your natural hue blends with auburn. 

Good hair day by @raylorojohair.

Gray To Platinum

Subtle gray is the perfect way to tone down yellowing platinum roots for a fresh new look.

Good hair day by @coryhoffmanhair.

Rooty Vanilla

Are you a natural blonde or brunette? No one will ever be able to guess with this perfectly blended reverse balayage.

Good hair day by @erikashears.

Brunette To Golden

This perfect mix of brown and gold looks fantastic no matter the season.

Good hair day by @_beautynative.


Reverse balayage creates depth at the root, allowing you to hold on to some of your golden highlights. When it comes to keeping your hue low-maintenance while maintaining brightness, bronde is always a good option. 

Good hair day by @coryhoffmanhair.

Brunette To Crimson

Reverse balayage can bring depth to even the most bright and vibrant colors. Case in point: This gorgeous brunette to crimson red look. 

Good hair day by @jaclynharwood.

Black To Caramel

If you’re looking to give your caramel balayage a major refresh, reverse balayage can bring dull, lifeless color back to life.

Good hair day by @jmalonehair.

Black To Ice Blonde

Reverse balayage will allow you to slay the salt and pepper look better than your father ever could.

Good hair day by @benjaaa_94.

Brunette To Sand

The best reverse balayage looks natural enough that your locks look deep, rich, and just slightly sunkissed. That’s why we’re obsessed with this brunette to sandy blonde look. 

Good hair day by @samiskinnerhair.

Smoky Gray

If you’re looking to go dark but want a shade that’s a bit edgier than your typical black or brunette, opt for a smoky gray.

Interested in trying reverse balayage? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you. 

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