You want to book an appointment for color but aren't sure what you need or how to tell your stylist what you want. Here is an easy breakdown for some of the different hair techniques / popular styles of color that you may want or not want. I will also try to help you understand pricing and what to expect in each service as well.
Balayage : Balayage is a technique that gives beautiful and very natural looking highlights. The technique generally uses a traditional bleach and processes either with saran balayage wrap, foil or cotton. This technique can be done on all colors / types of hair and is a very subtle, soft process if done correctly. You can do a base touch up with a balayage highlight and / or lowlight and most of the time a stylist will finish the service with a gloss or toner. Prices will vary depending on your hair length, texture, current color (are you solid brunette or do you already have a lot of highlights) and where you live. The salon may or may not include the base color and toner, you can always ask ahead of time what is included so you are prepared for a final cost.
Hairpainting : Hairpainting is a technique that can replicate very similar results to traditional balayage but can also create a more seamless and blended highlight. I use hairpainting to recreate the most natural of highlights, like a child's natural color, but also can get great lift all the way to the scalp and replace traditional foil highlights with this look as well. Hairpainting is a technique that uses clay base bleach and generally is done with an actual paint brush. Most hairpainting prices do include a toner or gloss, but again check with your stylist to see what is included in each service.
Babylights : Babylights are a form of very thinly woven traditional highlights that are tiny and blend beautifully; blondes, think Jennifer Anniston or Julianne Hough and brunettes, think Jennifer Lopez or Maria Menounos. They create an over all much lighter look without the definition that traditional highlights can give. They are great for blondes, obviously, but also transitioning to an all over lighter color without distinct highlights, for blending grey, and blending a full bleach and tone. This technique tends to be very time consuming as it is meticulous so can be an up charge for some stylist from traditional highlights.
Root Shadow : Root shadowing is a toning effect for highlights and lowlights. You can get the perfect rooted look while doing this toning technique. This creates a soft root for easy maintenance and a natural looking outgrowth that might otherwise not look as soft if the blonde were all the way to the root without a gradual fade of tone. This is an easy update for any blonde or bronde wanting change but with baby steps, ask your stylist for this and expect a small extra charge for more toner. This is perfectly paired with babylights for an updated take on an ombre style.
Among all these amazing techniques there is also foilyage, teasy lights, and other custom techniques that stylists are using to recreate their take on each style. Honestly, a true artist marries all these different technques to create a custom look for each client. It is a matter of knowing how to do each one correctly so that you can make it your own. Some of the world's most famous hairstylist only do traditional highlights or babylights and then rootshadow + tone to get the look of a balayage, there is no right or wrong if you achieve your goal with healthy hair!
Costs for these more popular custom colors will almost always cost more than a base color and traditional highlights as they aren't done by every single stylist. Artists put money into learning these techniques through further education, the services are more time consuming, and more often than not use more product per client. Balayage, ombre, and hairpainting are a custom service, sometimes even a color correction technically, so they require a lot more from your stylist, so be patient with the process and understand that you are putting money into your goal of lower maintenance, beautiful, healthy hair.
I hope this was helpful from a pro's point of view when you go to make your next appointment at the salon and I am here for any other questions you guys might have!