Balayage and Ombre are two words we hear very often when clients are booking in for colour, but does anyone actually know the difference between them? The two are comparable, but they can yield very different results. The relationship between balayage and ombre is very similar to a square and a rectangle. In the same way that a square is always a rectangle but a rectangle is not always a square, ombre is always balayage but balayage is not always ombre. Let’s break it down.
Balayage is a highlighting technique from the French that means ‘to sweep’. These highlights are done freehand and do not use foils. Balayage highlights are less structured and less systematically placed than foil highlights. Bleach is not always required when getting balayage done. If the hair has not been previously coloured, it is possible to lift the hair with strictly colour. If the base colour is dark or the desired colour is very light, bleach may need to be introduced. Balayage highlights achieve a low maintenance sun kissed look with a smooth transition between colours.
Ombre is a style that uses the balayage technique to achieve a gradual transition from one colour to another. The typical ombre goes from a darker colour at the roots to a lighter colour at the ends of the hair, but it can be done in reverse or with non-traditional hair colours. Like the balayage, the ombre is a lower maintenance style as the roots can grow out for longer without ruining the look. While ombre can be done on any type of hair, it typically looks best with wavy or curly hair. Because ombre is a more drastic transition than balayage highlights, there is a chance that bleach may be needed to lift the colour.
Sombre is a much subtler version of an ombre. While still a transition between two colours, the graduation between the roots and ends is much smaller – but it still makes a difference. The sombre is even less maintenance than the ombre because the changes are so soft that it does not need to be touched up frequently. Sombre is a popular style for those who like a low maintenance but still fashionable look, but it is especially good for those with blonde hair, since an ombre can be hard to achieve with lighter roots. Bleach may be used in a sombre, but is typically not needed because the hair is only being lifted by a few shades.
Many people shy away from bleach because it can, in high doses, be harmful to the hair, but the use of bleach does not mean that the hair will be ‘fried’ at the end of the appointment. Every effort is made to maintain the integrity of the hair, and treatments like Olaplex can be used throughout the appointment to soften the effect of the bleach without impacting the colour process.
Book your appointment with Hair Republic today by calling 613-695-0789 or at www.hairrepublic.ca
Blog by Donna Monbourquette