The Difference Between Ombre and Balayage
We get asked what is the difference between an Ombre and a Balayage all the time at MaVo Hairlounge or we get an appointment request for an “ombre balayage” and we are over here thinking, “Well, which one?!” So once again, we are here to set the record straight and share with you the difference between the two styles.
Balayage is the “Technique”
The two are very similar, but there are very obvious distinctions between the two! The word “Balayage” comes from another French word meaning “to sweep”. Now, if you have ever seen someone get a balayage in the salon, this probably makes sense to you. When applying the color for a balayage, you sweep the color through small triangle sections of the hair onto a board or foil, giving it the natural transition down into the lighter color. In Balayage, there are dark pieces left on the bottom
to create dimension and a more natural look. This technique looks like natural sun-kissed highlights throughout the hair. The transition is more natural and it is less maintenance than an ombre.
Ombre is the “Style”
The word ombre comes from the French word “shadow”. Ombre is the actual style. It is the transition of a lighter shade from a darker shade.
Generally, ombres work best on brunettes because it is the least subtle of all the techniques, a sombre is what we would see on blondes. That technique is more subtle, hence the word sombre. Ombre is great for the more daring girl, it is definitely more noticeable and typically more maintenance. Ombre is kind of like color blocking, there are no dark pieces left on the bottom to help keep it natural, just a nice transition between the colors. While the ombre is a beautiful look, it
is also something that needs to be done right! A bad ombre can make all the difference and please don’t try to do it on your own ladies! That’s
the style called Homebre and no one wants that!
Other Similar Techniques
Hair Painting is a huge trend right now with some of the more artistic stylists. With this technique, the hair is painted freely, by hand and usually with an actual paint brush and palette. Hair should be laid flat and is typically separated by plastic wrap. The lightener or color is usually not placed in any specific pattern but where it should be seen. The hard part about hair painting, is the stylist must have a super trained (or natural) eye for this kind of thing. This technique creates natural-looking and softer tones. Plus it is much faster than foils and there is no possibility of lines of demarcation! This Technique is best for Clients who are naturally very light already.
Babylights are super subtle and delicate highlights created using a technique that mimics the subtle, dimensional hair color seen on children’s hair. Hence “baby”lights. This look is very natural looking and creates the ultimate sun-kissed expression on the hair. This technique is very similar to highlights, with a touch of bayalage. The amount of hair in the foil is the main difference. Babylights require much less hair than traditional highlights. The result is subtle but beautiful and amazing for blonde on blonde dimension!
Foilyage is another new trend similar to the above techniques. The process essentially combines the way balayage is painted and the
vibrancy that foils achieves with the color. This technique is essentially the upgraded version on balayage and a saving grace for dark
hair since it incorporates foil (meaning you get more lift).