Some personal realizations occur when sitting under a red-tinted hood of heat and wearing enough foils to make contact with an alien mothership. Sure, you can get six weeks of color before growing roots plant you back in that salon chair; but you can also end up with brassy zebra stripes that bring back memories of ultra-glossy Lip Smackers and frosted cream eye shadow. (The early 2000s called, and they want those platinum blonde stripes back.) Thankfully, traditional foil highlights are no longer the only go-to hair color choice. Now, game-changing hair coloring techniques, most namely balayage highlights, let us get the hair of our wildest dreams: natural-looking, low-maintenance, and endless in options. Balayage technically means “to sweep” or “to paint” in French, but in our opinion, it might as well mean to look beautiful, natural, and enviously kissed by the sun. We can’t help but drool over rich chocolate brown brushed with melted caramel and honey and swoon over golden blonde touched with smooth butter and amber. These dynamic color blends are achieved by free-hand painting hair with lighter shades, which catch light perfectly and look like the natural highlights from the summers of your youth. The strokes are artfully placed all over the head, but often frame the face and coat the ends most prominently; and they grow out most flatteringly, making touch-ups fewer and far between. If you want to liven up your locks for spring and summer, it might just be time for a hair color pick-me-up á la balayage. No matter your hair color or style, we have the balayage hair color inspiration you need to take to your next salon appointment.