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On Trend With Ombre & Balayage

We, as hairstylists, know the difference between an ombre and a balayage. But we get asked this question ALL THE TIME! Or we get an appointment request for an “ombre balayage” and we are over here thinking, “Well, which one?!” So let's look at the difference between the two styles.

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! Don't Try it at home!

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, 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.

The Appeal You can achieve so many different effects from soft, natural highlights to something strong and punky. The fact it’s so low maintenance is such a drawcard for women too. People want to look fashionable and feel good about their appearance but in this day and age we don't all have the time to be in the salon every few weeks for a touch up.

It’s also a very economical way to color your hair as you never have a solid demarcation line or regrowth, so if you can’t afford to get it done for another month it won't look atrocious. However, if your balayage isn't done correctly you can end up with excessive overlapping that can cause damage.


It is very important to allow your stylist to see your goal pictures. With visual aid we can determine the techniques needed to reach your goal. You must keep in mind that our hair has limits and some desired results will take multiple sessions to achieve said goal. You want to find a stylist to commit to when you have a goal that is past 2-3 levels from your natural hair color. In some cases your hair may be very healthy and withstand multiple bleaching sessions in one day, But you will be paying for each service time allotment. Unlike an all over color service where we can apply an all over standard color to your hair and know that we can let it process 35-45 min without harm Bleaching your hair requires constant supervision, You may need to be rinsed and toned and re applied multiple times in that session. This leaves your stylist no wiggle room to accept another client during your session. And I can not stress enough that your hair has to be watched during this time! We have tools at our disposal now that help us maintain the integrity of your hair but you still can't push the limit. This is where you will hear me ask "Do you want to Rock a Pixie Cut Today?" Good Hair ain't Cheep and Cheep hair ain't good!

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