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 once again, we are here to set the record straight and share with you the difference between the two styles.
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 somber.
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!
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.
Hence Balayage and Ombre