Why Balayage And Highlights Are Becoming Outdated Hair Trends

For the longest time, beauty enthusiasts of all ages would count down the days until their hair salon appointments, eager to add dimension and lightness to their hair with highlights. From chunky skunk-like highlights to barely-there babylights, there was an option for anyone who wanted to add lighter contrast to their brown, red, or dark blond tresses. Then came the balayage, perfect for those wanting to add a softer highlighted look to the middle and lower sections of their hair. We never thought we'd see the day these hair trends would start to go out of style, but here we are.


In 2023, people are aiming for quality over contrast — and less time spent at the salon — leading to less desire for highlighted looks. "The process of balayage can start to build up damage in the hair after a while, and everyone's looking to improve their hair since we want it to be healthy," Marc Mena, a celebrity hairstylist, told Glamour. "The balayaged, streaky, overdone look seems to be passing, since everyone's trying to keep their hair low-maintenance."

Yet, the desire to appear more natural and require less maintenance isn't the only reason why highlights and balayage looks are slowly on their way out.

People are finally appreciating dark hair colors

Dark hair is more prevalent in the world as a natural color, with over 90% of people having either brown or black hair. As a result, many people would look to highlights or balayage in hopes of looking more unique and brightening their appearances. But in the 2020s, many are finding the beauty in their natural darker hair color and sticking with it over spending so much to get a lighter, contrasting look. For instance, while Karlie Kloss flaunted blond locks for most of her modeling career, she's embraced the brunette look in the 2020s, as seen from the photo above.


Warm brown tones are a major 2023 hair trend, as TikTokers are posting videos of their hair transformations from blond to brown, and others are showing their love for the trend by writing comments such as "power move" and "never go back." Plus, we've already seen dramatically dark hair color everywhere in 2023, with the rise in raven hair color. Therefore, this increase in popularity for black and brown hair is leading to a decline in desire for highlights and balayage.

And preferring monochromatic hair color

Even though more people are embracing their natural hair color in the 2020s, this doesn't mean that hair coloring has gone totally out the door. Many people still enjoy changing their hair color; in fact, we are seeing more full hair color transformations than basic highlights and balayage, as more specific — and, surprisingly, food-inspired — hues are trending in 2023. These trendy, tasty-sounding hair colors — such as buttercream and chocolate — can be dark, light, and everything in between. Yet, they are more monochromatic than contrasting. "[Buttercream blond is] the lightest shade of gold possible, with just enough richness and depth needed to complement fairer skin tones in winter," Tiffanie Richards, a hairstylist, told Allure. Doesn't that sound more intriguing than been-there-done-that highlights or balayage?


Moreover, TikToker @luckyangie posted a video of her hair transformation from caramel-inspired highlights to a darker chocolate brown color, and this more monochromatic brown appears healthy, classy, and chic. So, if you're dying to dye your hair in 2023, opting for an appealing monochromatic hair color is the trendier option than the highlights we've seen all these years.

Unconventional hair color is making waves

The "anti-beauty" trend releases us from traditional beauty standards this year, inspiring women to go bolder and more non-traditional with their makeup and hair. Moreover, many women are embracing scene beauty in 2023, proving that wild, daring hair colors are trending. So, rather than spending money on a classic balayage or some subtle highlights, plenty are experimenting with dauntless out-of-the-box hair colors, such as green, blue, and pink.


These unconventional hues can complement your skin and features in addition to making a statement. "For blonds who tend to have pink skin, I recommend putting pink in their hair. It will actually pull the pink from your face and give the impression of a more even skin tone," celebrity hair colorist Aura Friedman told Glamour.

Therefore, now that individuals have started to recognize that nontraditional hair color options can still complement their appearances, more people are taking the plunge and trying out these unique options. For example, these days, someone with dark blond hair may be more likely to explore pink tresses to enhance their features instead of a lighter blond balayage.

While Barbie-inspired blond is becoming preferable to balayage blond

We — and most people we know — are obsessed with the "Barbie" movie, with the film being a record-breaking success in July 2023. So, of course, the movie is significantly influencing fashion and beauty. And we're not only talking about its leading people to wear a lot of pink. Thanks to the film, many "Barbie" fans are choosing to dye their hair classic Barbie doll-inspired blond rather than dabbling in semi-blond balayage and highlights. So, yes, expect society to experience a blond comeback in late 2023 and 2024 with specifically "Barbie" blond — not partial blond.


"Think of the color of the inside of a banana peel; this is the desired shade. The key to embracing this trend: Maintain the same depth of bright blond throughout the roots, lengths, and ends of your hair. This should be a solid look from roots to end," hair colorist Danielle Vallortigara of Florida's Salon Yoshiko told Byrdie. So, get ready for a lot of people to ditch their highlights for bright and warm monochromatic Barbie-inspired blond!