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Understanding Hair Color: Balayage vs Ombre

Updated: Oct 4, 2023


I often get asked about the difference between Balayage and Ombre. While they may seem similar at first glance, they are actually two different techniques that produce distinct results. Here I will explain the difference between Balayage and Ombre so you can choose the right technique for your next hair appointment.



What is Balayage?


Balayage is a French term that means “to sweep.” This technique involves hand-painting color onto the hair in a sweeping motion, creating a natural-looking, sun-kissed effect. Balayage is typically applied to the mid-lengths and ends of the hair, creating a seamless blend between the roots and the colored sections.

Balayage is a great choice for those who want a low-maintenance, sun-kissed look. Because the color is applied in a natural-looking way, it grows out beautifully without leaving harsh lines or roots. Balayage can be done on any hair color, but it looks particularly stunning on brunettes and blondes.



What is Ombre?


Ombre is a French term that means “shaded” or “graduated.” This technique involves fading one color into another, typically starting at the roots and gradually getting lighter towards the ends. Ombre can be done with any color, but it’s most commonly seen with blonde and brunette shades.

Ombre is a more dramatic look than Balayage, with a more noticeable transition between the colors. It’s a great choice for those who want a bolder, statement-making look. Ombre requires more maintenance than Balayage, as the color needs to be touched up more frequently to maintain the gradient effect. Think of someone with dark hair and a bold color, like pink, faded in towards the ends.



What’s the difference between Balayage and Ombre?


While both looks do involve a dark to light approach, the main difference between Balayage and Ombre is the technique used to apply the color. Balayage is hand-painted onto the hair in a sweeping motion, creating a more natural-looking effect. Ombre, on the other hand, involves fading one color into another, typically starting at the roots and getting lighter towards the ends, and sometimes using lots of foils.

Another difference between the two techniques is the maintenance required. Balayage is a low-maintenance look that grows out beautifully without leaving harsh lines or roots. Ombre, on the other hand, requires more frequent touch-ups to maintain the gradient effect.



Which technique is right for you?


Choosing between Balayage and Ombre depends on your personal style and maintenance preferences. If you want a more natural-looking, low-maintenance look, Balayage is a great choice. I would also recommend Balayage if you are looking to transition your hair to that beautiful silver that we all eventually grow. If you’re looking for a bolder, statement-making look and don’t mind more frequent touch-ups, Ombre might be the right choice for you. You can have a lot of fun with either technique.

At Fringe Hair Studio, our expert stylists are trained in both Balayage and Ombre techniques. We can help you choose the right technique for your hair and create a stunning, customized look that suits your style. Book your appointment today and let us help you achieve the perfect hair color!

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