Balayage vs Sombre vs Ombre

Hair styles are so versatile that they change with every changing season. In addition, there are new hair terminologies every time there’s a new style. These terms can be confusing, unfortunately. That’s why you have articles to answer your most nagging queries.

In knowing the meaning and new terminologies, you will explain to your stylist how you wish her/him to style your hair with ease.

Therefore, when it comes to the coloring, you will hear people ask, what is balayage, sombre, and ombre?

While there are three different styles, they mostly are close to each other.

What Is Balayage?

BalayageIt’s best described as the freehand painting. The essence of the painting is to create a naturally beautiful hair color that complements the skin tone.

First, to understand this better, you need to know where the word balayage is from. This word is used to refer to the quote ‘to sweep’ in French.

Traditionally, you will notice that the colorist use foil or cap technique for the coloring. When using the balayage process, you simply add color to the hair through a freehand motion.

In the end, you develop a sun-kissed natural-looking hair color. You then develop a natural blended hair look. I like the process because it involves no harsh chemicals use. This coloring style is done such that you don’t need to retouch it.

You will end up with different shades and parts for a full look.

So How Does It Differ from Other Highlights?

The difference between balayage and the other highlights is that with balayage colorists have more freedom. They have the leeway to apply the color wherever you choose on the head. They choose all the areas that they feel will brighten the hair features.

When you are using foil, you should expect to have a more uniform finish. This may not look as natural as the balayage one does.

How to Balayage The Hair

Simply paint the surface of your hair. You must choose sections of your hair to paint. The painting is done freehand and not using foil as you do with other processes. Now, this is a good test of your stylist’s creativity. They get to choose where to apply the color.

The name refers to the technique you use – the brushing is like a sweeping process of the color through the selected part. It’s best done by professionals, though. Even the regular colorists may not know how to balayage. Thus, you should choose a colorist who specializes in balayage.

Who Can Use the Style?

The reason why the word and style balayage is selling across the board is that it doesn’t restrict any hair type. From long to short, straight to curly hair, this style works. It works for both men and women.

You can use the coloring for various options, including giving an illusion of volume to your thin hair. For those who are beginning to get grey, you can use the style to camouflage your greys.

Benefits of Using the Balayage

  • It’s quick

Have you ever tried the foil method?

I’m sure you do not like it because you take so long for the process to be effective. Well if you complained about how long this takes, you will smile when you use the balayage process instead.

Nevertheless, the time it takes will depend so much on how you wish to have the hair looking. If you go to an experienced colorist, you will enjoy it all because they take only a few minutes to deliver. If you want the deeper color and those who have thick hair will take a little bit longer.

  • It’s a low maintenance

The balayage color is made to go deep close to your roots. You will have the color being concentrated at the roots and the ends. The color looks so natural and even when the hair regrows, it still maintains the beautiful outlook.

With this option, you reduce the need to give it touch ups every so often. Therefore, you don’t spend so much on the maintenance. Of course, you need to use a few products on the hair to protect it from damage since the color contains chemical ingredients.

  • It’s versatile

It’s upon your hair stylist to be creative. They can change their hair color to different shades. Some people use even foil method on some parts of the hair. In mixing up different ways the style gets you a natural-looking hair.

  • The fine hair feels thick

Balayage is known to give your hair the illusion of thickness and volume. The lightener further leads to the expansion of the hair shaft, thus the thickness.

  • The style is less damaging

Remember, you don’t have to apply the color all over the head. Therefore, the hairstyle is less damaging to the hair compared to other forms. It, in fact, uses no heat, which makes it even better.

  • It looks so natural

With the balayage, you will have the hair looking so natural. Unlike other coloring methods that may look fake, especially when done by a non-specialist, this looks surreal.

How Much Time to Balayage?

Of course, if you are going for the most popular style, you need to know how long it will take you in the salon. Balayage depends on the style you are looking to achieve, the experience of the stylist and the hair type and thickness.

Generally, though, a full head balayage will take you at least 30 minutes. If you are choosing face-framing style, it takes 15 minutes. Any other complicated method will take you at most 3 hours.

The Types of Balayage

There are a few types of balayage to know. The most common one though is the

Full balayage highlights: from the name you highlight the whole head.

Partial balayage: in this case, you have apply the highlights to sections of the hair. It’s different from the one above since you don’t apply it on all parts of the hair.

Subtle balayage: this is just a soft balayage that you have the color concentrating where it would naturally fade.

American balayage: this one employs the foiling and the open-air method. So, you apply the foil highlights then you can paint the hair between.

Foilayage: here you paint the hair strands then you wrap a few pieces of the hair with foil.

The different balayage styles

  • Luscious golden color

Luscious golden colorBlend the golden color with your natural dark brown color into the curly hair. Ensure the hair remains shiny for a great outlook.

  • Platinum balayage

Platinum balayageWhenever your interest is in the pop of color, know that you can use the ash blonde style. This straight style looks almost white. The good thing is that you can use it at any time of your choosing. You further don’t have to color the roots.

  • A high contrast balayage

A high contrast balayageThis style features an Irish cream balayage that meets with the dark brown color to create a contrast. To make it work, apply on the thicker parts of the hair. Even though some may know that it’s not natural looking, it will still look good and refreshing.

Are All Balayage Highlights Blonde?

No, they aren’t contrary to most beliefs. Traditionally we have most balayage highlights being blond; you can try all other different colors that you like.

How Will You Know If the Balayage Has Been Done Right?

The pieces of the balayage should be close together but most especially soft at the roots and thicker at the ends.

How Will You Know That It Was Done Wrong?

When you don’t use the right ingredients, or you wash the hair too soon, it won’t color it well, thus becoming orange in color. If you are using any form of bleach, you should know when to apply and rinse it off.

Notice that if the balayage looks patchy, it will mean that the application process wasn’t done rightfully.

What Is Ombre?

What Is OmbreAnother one of the most common styles you should know of is the ombre hair color. It has been around for ages.

Ombre means shades in French. Therefore, you have the darker hair being lightened towards the end and from the mid-section. It will also give you the sun-kissed effect just like the balayage.

The sun-kissed style makes the hair look like it has been bleached beautifully by the sun as it’s growing out.

Does the Ombre Color Suit Me?

The color suits all complexion of shades, but it’s vital to seek consultation from the colorist to tell you which color will work best.

If you have dark skin tones, use red and copper colors, if yours is fair, use blonde and caramel.

The style is best suited for anyone who loves to make a statement with their hair. It’s suitable for anyone who is adventures. The only requirement is for you to make sure the hair you want to apply the color on is healthy.

Why Is It Popular?

The reason why you need to choose the style is that it will look good on all and sundry. The trick is to look for that color that suits you.

  • It requires low maintenance

This style requires very minimal maintenance. Remember you don’t have to color it from the roots thus you need no touch ups. For this reason, you should only visit the salon once in a while. When done well, you will find that the ends are light while the roots are very dark.

Although it’s a blend of two colors, the style comes out natural making it blend perfectly.

  • It’s stylish

For those summer months, you should try this style. With the style’s different shades of color, you can choose a color that matches your personality. If you wish you can use the form with two contrasting shades and still come up with a style. It works on both curly and straight hair.

  • You don’t have to worry about the roots

Often when you color your hair, you have no choice but continue to color the upcoming roots. But here since the roots are dark, you won’t need to color them. The growth of the roots is further more natural.

  • It’s ideal for the transition

When you don’t know whether a color suits you or not, dyeing it halfway helps you to know when it works for you. The good thing also is that if it doesn’t suit your hair, you can trim it as time goes by.

  • The essence is to improve the look

If you have chosen shades that complement each other, this style will make it impressive. It doesn’t matter the style you are going for the ombre color will make it look even better.

Ombre hairstyles

  • Red blonde ombre hairstyle

Red blonde ombre hairstyleHere is the ideal way to break the rules of the traditional ombre style. The red hair complements the blonde ends. Let the colorist use deep red colors at the roots and the lighter blonds at the ends.

I like the curly ends as they add spice to the hairstyle.

  • Black to silver ombre style

Black to silver ombre styleThe black hair is common for almost every other individual skin color. When you want to create variation, adding a silver light color is the direct answer to a great looking color. The curly ends with the bright color make it looks so natural.

  • Blonde ombre ideas

Blonde ombre ideasThis blend of colors is the most common. You have the hair being dark brown and then fading to blonde. Towards the end, it gets even more dismal.

Foils and Ombre

While coloring your hair to achieve an ombre, you should use the balayage technique but never the foils. Using foils leads to lines of demarcations on the hair.

Just know that there’s a difference in the results from the two options. Since you are using no foil, you should always make your lighteners moist for the perfect results.

How to Get the Ombre Style?

  • To begin with, choose the color that suits you best.

You can have the traditional effect – this is where you have the colors merge from one shade to the next. Its darker towards the roots while its lighter at the ends.

Reverse ombre -today we have the reverse of the traditional method where you have the color darkening at the ends and its lighter at the roots. Thanks to this style, those with blonde hair can now use the ombre style.

Dip dye ombre – this one gives you the results from the bold colors like red colors.

Next, identify the part where you intend to have the color transition. Often, it’s at the mid-section to the end.

  • Color application

Section your combed-out hair.

Go on to apply the color on the hair. In the application, you should ensure you have all the strands being coated. Use the balayage sweep method.

  • Give it time to process the color

It should take about 30 minutes and sometimes even 45 minutes. Many factors wail determine how long it takes.

  • Rinsing the hair

Once you have riches the color you desire, rinse the color out. Rinse it with warm water then shampoo the hair and condition it.

Notice that, if you aren’t sure about the style, you should not do it yourself. Seek the service of a professional.

Ombres Vs Highlights

Before we check on the difference between the two, let’s find out what highlight is.

What is highlight

These are the lighter thin sections of your hair that you put within the darker base of the hair. The shades and the tones of the hair color differs. In this case, you have high lifting colors applied to sections of your hair.

It’s then left to rest on top of the foil paper before you wrap the foil paper. With the help of the heat from your natural hair, you will have the hair highlighting evenly.

The difference is that; with the ombre you don’t use foil papers. It’s a freehand painting method.

The highlight also depends on the heat for the proper highlighting process, whereas the ombre style doesn’t.

Let’s Talk About Sombre

SombreLiterary, the word sombre refers to the soft ombre style. The essence is to take the darker root color and spread it through the lengths. Sombre helps to avoid the fast break of the colors at the mid-section. In the end, the color looks more real.

This is more of a mix between the balayage and ombre style to create a soft transition. You, therefore, have tones of your dark roots being visible. This is the latest and modern technique that creates a natural look.

Balayage vs Ombre

Balayage vs OmbreThe significant difference is the following

  • Ombre is a style

Here you have the hair being colored to lighter shades towards the ends while the roots maintain the dark colors. The transition is gradual.

Ombre is the color achieved from the coloring process, which is often balayage.

  • Balayage is a technique

With this term, we refer to the process of painting the hair to change the color. So, balayage is the sweeping process.

What Is Balayage Ombre?

Balayage OmbreThis refers to the painting technique used to achieve an ombre color.

How to Take Care of The Color?

When you are coloring the hair, you need to apply methods that will make the hair last longer. Since you will alter the PH balance of the hair, you should ask your stylist to let you know how to regain its outlook.

Notice that while your hair will look good, it’s susceptible to damage. Use nourishing oils and sulfate free shampoos.

Products to use

1. ArtNaturals Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set

Made using argan oil, this set is ideal for anyone who has color treated their hair. They are great for volumizing the hair as it moisturizes it. It will increase the health of the hair.

2. Majestic Pure Coconut Oil Hair Mask

Once you have color treated your hair, it will need a pack of moisture that you will only get from the coconut oil hair mask. It works for all hair types, and it will restore the fatty acids, vitamin E, among other nutrients.

This means that the mask is ideal for dry and damaged hair. It will give you the healthy shiny look that you will often notice on the hair.

Do not over wash

This color isn’t your natural hair color, which means that over time, it will fade away. To avoid fading, you should reduce the number of times you wash the hair.

Moreover, stay away from products with sulfate that will strip it of its nutrient and color.

Nurture the hair at home

Once you have colored the hair, know that you have a role to play in nurturing the hair. Condition the hair to keep it enriched.

Use the right products for the nurturing process. It’s possible that the products you use may damage the hair so you should stay away from harsh products.


Does the balayage work on your grey hair?

It will work with all colors, but it doesn’t fully cover your greys. It blends the grey color making it disguised. So, its essence is to camouflage the greys.

Do these styles call for too much maintenance?

While maintenance is necessary for the styles to make them maintain their outlook, you don’t need a lot of support. In essence, you will stay longer between appointments, especially when you have the ombre style.

Balayage Vs Highlights

For the highlight, you will have the stripe-like look especially on your long hair. When the hair regrows its equally noticeable.

You will then use the foils and meshes to make the color stick. While balayage doesn’t use any foils.

The highlights work from the roots of your hair to the ends. In essence, it will be darker to the roots and fade towards the ends.

This is the technique you use to achieve the style. You will always have vertical streaks. You can have other strands starting the highlight at the roots while others start at the middle. It’s all about the choice of the styles.

In this technique, the color is only applied on the surface of the hair.

Finally-Which is Best

With those many words, you will notice that between the balayage, ombre, and sombre are all ideal styles to try. I don’t believe one is better than the other because they are all different and suitable for different situation.

It’s my call therefore that you should use the information above to choose as to which style works best for you.

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