What is The Difference Between Balayage & Ombre?

Hair terms explained: Ombre vs Balayage

There’s no person alive on this earth that doesn’t care about their hair. Hair is the most valuable and important part of our body as they can make or brake our look. Not only do women take care of their hair, but men also love their hair equally. Suppose that if a guy is on a date with a beautiful looking Señorita and at that time his hair is not properly done – this might even cast out his six-pack abs of his and vice versa. A lot of women who visited our hair color salon – Lush Hair Folk – wanted highlights that could match their personality & outshine their original hair color.

For them, we always have Balayage in store! However, some customers also prefer Ombre – don’t worry we can give you Ombre too!  Ok, so you’re in the salon chair and you know exactly what sort of color you want but you have no idea how to explain this to your stylist. Sound familiar? Well, a number of our wonderful guests have requested a short guide on the difference between two of the most frequently used hair terms: ombre and balayage. Gone are the days where our options were one of two: an all over color or some highlights. The options now are literally endless and with various terms used to describe similar techniques and styles, it’s easy to see how these terms get mixed up. So, here’s our straight forward guide to knowing the difference between an ombre and a balayage, and which one is right for you.

What is ombre?

The French term means “shade” or “shadow” and in the world of hair coloring it refers to a dramatic two-toned hair color effect. Typically, the color is darker at the roots and lighter at the ends. Quite often, you’ll find that ombres use a color close to your natural hair color at the roots (if not your actual natural hair color) and lighten the bottom section with a hair lightener. The amazing thing about ombres is that you can have literally any combination of color from blonde, browns and reds to something more eccentric like purples, blues and greens. Suitable for most medium to long hair lengths, this customizable and versatile color style is also low maintenance as it requires minimal touch ups thanks to your natural looking root shade.

If you’re after something a little more subdue you can opt for a subtler version called sombre. With this color style the contrast between the two shades is softer. Another term you may have heard is called color melting. This is when your colorist uses two or three hair shades on each strand, and each shade is blended with the side of the hair color brush so that they appear to melt into each other. Like ombre, color melting can be done with natural-looking hair color shades or with any of the eccentric pop art colors.

Is ombre right for you?

If you’re the type of person who loves to make a statement with your hair then you’ll love the sense of personalization with an ombre technique. You can be as creative and adventurous as you like with your chosen color choice. The only thing our hair stylists like to make sure of is that your hair is in good condition to begin with and that you’re ready to maintain your color at home using specialized shampoos and conditioners that help to retain your color, to keep it looking healthy. Otherwise, particularly with bright fashion colors, you’ll find that they tend to wash out and fade quicker. But don’t worry, at Lush Hair Folk our hair stylists are professionals that know how to keep your hair looking sexy and healthy.

What is a balayage?

It’s easy to see how a balayage and an ombre get mixed up as they can look very similar, but there are differences! Knowing that the term ‘balayage’ derives from another French word meaning “to sweep” will probably help you to spot the difference. With a balayage technique, our stylists sweep the color using a free-hand method through small sections of the hair onto a foil, giving it the natural transition down into the lighter color. You’ll also find that there are darker strands left on the bottom to help create dimension and a more natural look. Sometimes when we talk about natural sun-kissed highlights it is usually the works of a balayage technique.

The free-hand nature of a balayage means your colorist can cleverly influence your hair’s color composition meaning there can be a number of beautiful balayage variations. Using this hand-painting technique you may even find that your hair stylist has combined several shades for a shimmering, 3-dimensional result. If your hair is dark, your colorist may chose to do a foilayage technique. This is where instead of allowing the balayage highlights to process in the air after they’re applied, they’re wrapped in foil, which provides more heat, and therefore intensifies the lightening process. Your colorist may also opt to combine your balayage with conventional highlights closer to your face, or with fine, baby-lights placed around the hairline to give your complexion a radiance-boosting glow.

The Difference between Balayage and Ombre

On the off chance that you realize you need highlights, yet aren’t sure what to request from the salon – knowing the distinction between Balayage and Ombre can and will help you and your Houston hair stylist.

  • Ombre is commonly done by horizontally putting lightener with full immersion in the area and afterwards mixing upward to diffuse the line.
  • Whereas in Balayage, smaller sections are targeted and the color is beautifully painted onto the hair.
  • Ombre can give you a darker shade so, if you’re a fan of darker shade then ombre is for you. While Balayage is more known for lighter shades of hair.
  • Ombre is a developed form of various types of balayage.
  • Balayage can give you sun-kiss highlights while Ombre is more like a gradient of colors, which are beautifully blended together.
  • Ombre can help brunettes get beautiful highlights that aesthetically blend with their original dark hair colour.


If this question still revolves in your head, don’t stress to much! the best thing to do is book an appointment. Visit our Houston Hair Salon for a consultation


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