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Ombre Hair vs. Balayage Highlights

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Ombre hair and Balayage are hair techniques garnering a lot of attention lately. We all envy the hair of a child who seem to get beautiful highlights naturally through sunlight. But now, that look can be achieved through color.

Our expert colorists will help you to achieve ombre hair or balayage, because both techniques require some skill and both can be achieved in the salon. Ombre and balayage are also very similar in many ways, but there are some key differences. In this post, I hope to help you decide which look is right for you. First, let’s define the terms:

Ombre Hair vs. Balayage Highlights:

Ombre: Ombre hair refers to the gradual lightening of the hair strand, usually fading from a darker color near the roots to a lighter one at the ends. Ombre can be very subtle or very striking. The look you want to achieve will depend on the technique and level of lightness.

Balayage: Balayage is French meaning “to sweep”. When a colorist is coloring, the majority of the brush strokes are horizontal in nature to coat the front and back of the hair strands. In balayage, the colorist “sweeps” vertically with the tip of the brush and only to the front of the hair. Thus creating natural, sun kissed highlights.

To determine which look is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
–Am I okay with the “grown out roots” look?
–Do I want something low maintenance?
–How much lighter than my natural shade do I want to go?
–How do I usually style my hair? Curl or straighten?
–Am I okay with bleach being used on my hair?

If you’re okay with roots, curly hair, and bleach, then ombre is great for you. Ombre hair is dark at the top gradually going lighter towards the bottom so it will almost look like you’ve skipped a few hair appointments. I recommend wavy or curly hair if you’re rocking ombre hair because the line of demarcation (the “line” separating natural color from artificial color) will be prominent. Thus, if you straighten your hair, you will see a contrast. Waves and curls hide that line much better. Because ombre hair usually has very light ends, it is almost certain bleach will be used. And we all know the ends of our hair are the most damaged, so proceed with caution.


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If you want low maintenance, subtle color, and like your hair straight, then balayage is great for you. Balayage may not require bleach depending on how light you want to go. Remember, it’s supposed to look natural, so you will probably only go 2-3 shades lighter than your natural color. Because the color is painted on the hair vertically, you will not get that dreaded “line” meaning that as the color grows out, it will be less noticeable, making time between salon appointments longer. You can also straighten that hair without having to worry about seeing noticeable lines of color. And you can also wear it wavy or curly!

Both of these coloring options are on trend and can be sported hundreds of different ways. Hopefully my insight can help you on your color journey to getting the best hair for your style.