Balayage vs. Ombré : How Are They Different?

Serena Norr | 12 May 2016
balayage vs. ombre hair dyeing

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

It sometimes 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 that one that you thought you got in the first place. 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. Ombré

 balayage vs. ombre balayage hair
Stunning balayage hair color to try. Photo credit: Dvora

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 is 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 your look or grow out. This technique also 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.

balayage vs. ombré wavy hairstyles chunky lob
Lighten up this summer by trying balayge or ombré highlights.

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 the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Shampoo and the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Color Care Conditioner. This lower-sulfate system works to cleanse your hair and prevent your hair color from fading. You should also incorporate the use of a hair serum into your hair care regimen such as the Dove Quench Absolute Quench Serum whose formula works to nourish your hair, leaving it shiny and manageable.

Which Style is the Ombre Hair Color?

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