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6 min read

Here’s what you need to know about ombre and balayage and your hair

Here’s what you need to know about ombre and balayage and your hair

You want a new hair color, and you want to try something totally different, but today’s terms are more than confusing. Do you ask for an ombre or a balayage, and what’s the difference? 

To put your mind at ease, you’re certainly not the only one confused by these terms. Secondly, if you have a really great colorist, they’ll know what technique is best for you. 

In the meantime, here’s a definition of both, so you’ll know what your colorist is talking about when you go to get that fabulous new color.

Balayage and ombre hair colors

While both ombre and balayage will give your hair a look that goes from light to dark, both are very trendy, and one is more of a style while the other is a technique. If you weren’t confused before, that’s sure to do it. 

But we’ll explain so you have a better understanding.

Ombre

When you get an ombre hair color, the hair lightener is usually placed horizontally across one region of the hair, usually near the ends. The transition is created by blending upward, along the hair shaft. The roots stay dark looking. 

Ombre is more of a style, and it’s been trendy for a while now. You can probably think of some people you know or some celebrities that have ombres. You’ll notice the roots of their hair and the tips are dramatically different in color, and there’s an obvious change from the root to tip.

Balayage

If ombre is more of a style, then balayage is the technique. The word balayage comes from the French word bilayer, which means to clean a floor or to sweep. Think of it as sweeping color into your hair. 

Where ombre is French for a color transition, balayage is French for the verb to sweep, making it all about the technique and not the final look. This means that it is possible to get a balayage technique that has more of an ombre look, but it’s not typical.

When you get a balayage, the look is generally more natural than an ombre. The transition between dark to light is gradual and doesn’t always settle on the ends. You can get a balayage that lightens the middle of your hair shaft to create the illusion that your hair is always reflecting light.

Why get balayage or ombre

Whether you decide the more gradual and natural-looking balayage is for you or you want the drama of an ombre, both techniques are easier to grow out because your roots basically remain their natural color. With many other hair color techniques, your roots need frequent touchups, which can be expensive and require a lot of time at the stylists.

It should be stated that balayage and ombre are very specialized techniques. Both will typically cost you more at the outset, and you’ll spend more time in the salon during that initial appointment.

Should I get balayage or ombre?

If you’re not sure which look is for you, the real question is, do you want your hair to look natural or dramatic? The more natural you want your look, the more likely you are to opt for a balayage treatment. If you want something that looks different from root to tip, then an ombre is right for you.

If you’re looking to use the balayage or ombre as a way to get to a final style or look, then your colorist will be able to help you ease into that transition. Both of these are great to slowly go from one color to another.

Make your hair color last

No matter if you have a balayage, and ombre, or any hair color treatment, maintaining your color and keeping it in good condition is essential to a great finish that lasts. 

♦ Wait 72 hours before shampooing after your color is applied

♦ Use a shampoo and conditioner that are designed for colored hair

♦ Moisturize your hair with a quality hydrating mask

♦ Use UV protection to prevent sun fading

♦ If using hot styling tools or a blow dryer, use a heat protectant

♦ Avoid chlorine

Most of these tips are good for people with colored hair and those without. They’re just solid tips for keeping your hair in good condition. 

While people without color-treated hair can get by with skipping some of these tips, people with color are going to ruin their dye job or shorten their lifespan if they don’t protect it.

Final thoughts

While ombre and balayage can be very similar looks, they’re actually very different. For one, ombre is more of a style than a technique, and balayage is definitely a technique.

If you want ombre hair, you want there to be a significant distinction between the roots of your hair and the tips, there’s usually a horizontal line dividing the sections. Balayage hair gives the middle of your hair shaft a boost in color and then brushes that color up and downward, to blend it.

Both techniques can create very beautiful looking trendy hair, but if they’re not properly cared for, they can quickly fade. Make sure you take care of your new look, so it lasts a long time and always looks amazing.

At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

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    At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

    Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

    Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

    JOIN THE GROUP