Balayage vs Ombre


“I’d like to get baly… that bailage…. I’m not sure how to say it but that hair that’s baleeyage. Actually, let me show you a picture.”

I hear this in the salon each week. I take note of the fear on the clients face when they don’t know how to pronounce what they are asking for and ultimately aren’t really sure what it is that they are asking for. I want to give you the confidence to go to your next appointment with all the info and knowledge of what this balayage is all about.

First, pronunciation: BAH-LEE-AHGE (with an alternative being BAH-LAY-AHGE) depending of how french you want to sound (hehe)

Second, meaning: the french translation is sweeping which leads me to the third…

How this translates to hair: Balayage is a technique in which the color is applied to the hair to achieve a look (Ombre more specifically). The technique that your hairstylist would use would be the sweeping, gentle feathering and blending called Balayage. This technique does not require the stylist to isolate the hair with foils, giving it a naturally lightened look. Placing the hair in foils allows for a brighter effect of the lightener.

So what about Ombre? Ombre is the transitioning from a lighter shade to a darker. We have seen the trend take over in fashion, nails, home decor and it all began in the hair world. When Ombre first started there was a stark heavy transition. Now we see a gentle blending, sometimes with traditional highlights mixed in.

In a short and sweet wrap up, Balayage is the technique used by stylist to achieve a gentle transition and diffusion of color. Ombre is the look of the color that is achieved.




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