What’s The Difference Between Balayage, Ombre Or Highlights?

Balayage and Ombre continue to rise in popularity, and most of the time people aren’t really sure what these techniques mean, how they work, or if they’re any different to traditional hair techniques…

So, we, The Stylers Hairdressers in Canterbury, wanted to explain it to you!


Balayage is all about how the colour is applied.
The word Balayage originates from the French term “to sweep.”, and not necessarily all the ends will be affected. The transition between dark and light will be much longer and more natural looking.

Ombre is a hair colour technique where all the ends are going be affected and the transition from the deeper roots and light ends is going to be pretty short. The definition for Ombre is the French word for “colour that is shaded or graduated in tone”.

Highlights are usually a paste usually containing a bleaching agent and peroxide. Your hairdresser will then apply it to the hair using a special brush and usually strips of foil, or a cap, where hair is pulled through little holes. Unlike a full hair colour, you can have either a full-head or half-head of highlights. You can also have a T-section or infills done to maintain the look as your roots begin to show. This does mean that only a small section of the roots on the top of your head are re-dyed, making maintenance cheaper.
So, what’s the difference with Balayage and Ombre?!

In short, Ombre is a bit more of a style; Balayage is a technique.
Ombre is typically done with lightener being placed horizontally with full saturation of the section and then blended upward to diffuse the line and Balayage will take smaller sectioning, where colour will be painted onto the surface of the hair.

Both techniques result in a pretty low maintenance routine since the hair colour placement is not strict but done in gradual (for Ombre) or sweeping (for Balayage) placement. Regular foil highlights, for example, require more regular visits to the salon.

The good news is that anyone can try either look, depending on their desired result. The two techniques can even be used together on any hair colour. Choosing which one is right for you really depends on the look you’re trying to achieve. Whether you’re looking for a blonde, brown, red, rose gold or even vivid colour look, your hair professional should be able to work with you on either technique to create what the colour effect you’re going for.

Depending on how much you’re changing your hair can also determine how many times you might need the processes done at the get-go. If you’re looking to lift your natural colour to a much lighter state then your hair professional will probably need to work on achieving your desired colour over a few visits. You have to remember that when using these techniques it takes time and is not guaranteed that your hair will lift that much in one visit, and it’s safer for your hair to do over a few visits.

You should talk to your hair professional about what’s best to keep your hair feeling and looking healthy. We have a huge range of products in the salon to help you keep your hair healthy, and loads of advice to give!

If you need advice then please don’t hesitate to contact us, and if want to book in, click here. Remember that we do offer free consultations.

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