Balayage vs Ombré: The Ultimate Guide

Balayage vs Ombré: The Ultimate Guide

If the difference between balayage and ombré is a mystery to you, here’s everything you need to know about these two popular hair colour styles.

What is Balayage?

Balayage means ‘to sweep’ in French.

Balayage is a style of colouring hair that mimics the aesthetic of natural, sun-kissed hair. Overall, balayage results in a subtle gradation from light to dark, with the hair at the bottom left darker to add dimension and movement.

To create this effect, your hair colourist will literally ‘sweep’ or hand-paint highlights along the surface of your hair, leaving the underside darker. Since balayage is a hand-painting technique, the artistry of your hair stylist will come into play here to create a natural, shimmering, multi-dimensional effect.

Balayage produces a result that is softer and far more natural-looking than the saturated colour created by traditional foils. This style is ideal if you plan to grow out your hair or would like a fashionable yet cost-effective hairstyle with less upkeep in terms of recolouring.

Balayage is ideal for:

  • Any hair colour, including blonde, red or brunette hair
  • Versatile and works for any hair length, from long to medium or shoulder-length hair to a short pixie crop

What is Ombré?

Ombré means ‘shade’ or ‘shadow’ in French.

In the hair colourist world, ombré describes a dramatic, two-toned hair colour effect where dark-coloured roots slowly blend into a lighter shade as the colour moves the ends.

To achieve this style, your hair colourist will place lightener horizontally to create full saturation and blend upward to diffuse the line.

While a classic ombré features dark brown roots that fade into blonde, you are in no way restricted to these colours. An ombré hairstyle can be any colour combination, from natural blonde, brown or red, to something unconventional like pink, blue, green or purple. The only limit is your imagination! In our salon, we’ve seen a trend toward colouring roots coloured in a non-typical dark shade (such as dark purple) and fading into a lighter complementary shade at the ends (such as lilac or blue).

There are many styles of ombré:

  • Sombré – a softer contrast between two colours
  • Colour melting – two or three hair colour shades may be applied on each strand, with each shade blended with the side of the hair colour brush to create the illusion that the colours are melting into each other

Ombré is ideal for:

  • Long and medium hair
  • Anyone who describes a versatile, customisable hair colour

Balayage vs Ombre: What Are The Differences?

Ombré creates a clear fade line between two colours (colour blocking), while balayage highlights blend seamlessly with your natural hair colour.

While balayage has a more vertical placement, ombré is more horizontal.

Both styles produce a low maintenance result, but for best colour results, it’s important to invest in regular care treatments and consistently visit your salon.

Balayage vs Ombre: How Do I Choose The Right Style For Me?

Unsure on which style, balayage or ombré, is best for you? Ultimately, it depends on the style you’re trying to achieve. Both styles are incredibly versatile and your hair artist should be able to work with you on either technique to create the colour effect you’re seeking.

Balayage is for you if:

  • You love sexy, natural-looking hair colour
  • You want a hair colour that will bring any medium or long hairstyle to life

Ombré is for you if:

  • You’re creative and adventurous with your personal style
  • You’d like to make a statement with your hair
  • Your hair is healthy and you regularly use healing conditioning treatments and hair masks (this is especially important if you want a vivid, unconventional colour)

For more tips on hair styling and colouring, get in touch with our experts at COEV Hairdressers.