Okay, let’s clear one thing up. Ombré is a style, balayage is a technique. Ombré lightens hair at the ends by fully saturating with colour, then diffuses upward. A proper ombré will show no distinct line (that’s why DIY-ing is a bad idea). FYI, ombré is translated from French as “colour that is graduated in tone”. Crack that one out at a pub quiz. So cosmopolitan.
Balayage refers to how the colour is applied. This one originates from the French word “to sweep”, and the technique does just that; adding ‘highlights’ across the hair. The transition from light to dark will look a little more natural, with extra dimension (basically, it still looks great on day three of no washing). For highlights, foils are used, for balayage, the colour is painted directly on.
Well, as with all things beauty, each to their own. The plus of balayage though, is that it grows out seriously naturally – root regrowth just isn’t a thing. It’s also a good technique if you’re edging to a full colour change. Ombré gives a more distinct appearance between two shades, balayage blends it all together in one seamless situation of wondrous colour. But yep, no bias.
As with any hair dyeing, the chemicals within the formula can affect the ph balance of your scalp. So try using shampoos with colour-treating properties (just ask your hairdresser, they’ll know). Oh, and as for colour, each technique will work on whichever shade you're going for – just to make your decision easier…
So, is ombré and balayage the same thing?
Ombré, balayage. The result is really great hair, we know that much. But, what’s the difference? Quite a lot actually. Read on, so you know what to ask your hairdresser for at your next salon trip (besides a strong cup of tea, and a really great Sudoku book – just me?).
By Rachel Spedding
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