Alright Clients, Time to Learn the Difference: Balayage vs. Ombré - The Tease

Alright Clients, Time to Learn the Difference: Balayage vs. Ombré

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Balayage has taken the salon world by storm this past few years, becoming one of its biggest trends. However, most clients still struggle to differentiate balayage with ombré, a seemingly similar hair trend that took over salons a few years prior. Both are fairly specialized treatments that require lower maintenance, but how does one choose between the two? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.


Ombré comes from the word shadow, which describes its style of taking a hair color and transitioning it into a different shade. Roots start as one color, then lightener is applied to the middle of the strands and results in the ends being a different tone than the roots. The main defining feature of ombré is that ALL roots are the same color and ALL ends are the same color. This style is much more dramatic than balayage and is popular to use with brighter colors to create fun, bold looks.


Think of Balayage more of a technique than a style. The term balayage means “to sweep”, meaning that the color is applied across the hair, creating a more blended look. Not all of the ends will be colored, and the application is more vertical than ombré, but not quite as vertical as standard highlights. By applying the color this way, the transition is much longer and natural-looking. There are tons of different types of balayage, some reaching up to the roots, others focusing on more face-framing designs, so it’s important to know exactly what you want when you go into the salon.

Ok, so balayage and ombré are different. But what if you want an in-between of the two? That’s where sombré comes in. Sombré is a combination of the two techniques, it’s a softer transition than a typical ombré but more solid at the bottom than a normal balayage.

Combining the two techniques has become increasingly popular, but results can very a lot based on stylists. As always, make sure you consult with your stylist before you commit to a treatment and make sure you’re picking what works best for your look!