Balayage vs. Ombré: How Are They Different?

You've heard those words, but just what do they mean?

Sometimes it feels as if you need a glossary to stay on top of the latest hair terms. And just when you’ve wrapped your hair around one, another creeps in—sounding just like the first one! Enter balayage vs. ombré, two contenders in the hair highlighting sphere that always seems to be compared to one another when they are actually very different. Well, not that different, and herein lies the confusion. Read on to learn more about these two hot hair trends to help you decipher what’s what.

balayage vs ombre blonde brunette ombre curls
There’s more nuance to each of these techniques than you might think.

What is Balayage?

Developed in France in the ’70s, balayage is a freehand highlighting technique where a colorist ‘sweeps’ or paints color onto your hair. Since no foils are used, balayage creates a gradual effect with its use of chunky and multi-dimensional color from the middle of the hair to the ends. Many people love this look as a way to achieve natural-looking and sun-kissed highlights that can easily blend in with darker roots. This technique doesn’t focus on coloring the roots, which can be favorable to those that can find that a hassle when coloring their locks.

Process timing: Depending on the length of your locks, the balayage coloring process can take up to two hours.

What is Ombré Hair?

Ombré, on the other hand, features a two-toned highlighting technique that’s very distinct and somewhat dramatic, characterized by dark roots and significantly lighter, more saturated color at the ends. A colorist uses a similar technique like balayage to achieve this look; however, ombre focuses on a thicker amount of color as well as lighter shades on the tips.

Process timing: Depending on the length of your locks, the ombré coloring process can take around four to five hours.

What’s the Difference Between Balayage and Ombré?

1. Balayage is considered more subtle and tends to suit people who want something a little more natural or not stray that far from their base, a.k.a. true-to-heart highlights.

2. The ombré technique focuses on creating hair that is strikingly lighter than your base color, where your roots look distinctively different than your ends.

3. Similar hair painting techniques are used for both methods.

4. Balayage grows out naturally into your hair.

5. Ombré and balayage can involve lightening with multiple colors or just one.

Product Must-Have’s for Balayage and Ombré Hair

After you decide on balayage or ombré hair, you’ll need to find the right hair products to protect your hue to ensure that it lasts. Try TIGI Copyright Custom Colour Shampoo and Conditioner to preserve your color and keep your strands looking vibrant.



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