Balayage vs Ombre

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

Blog by Donna Monbourquette


Four Summer Styles

After more than a few false starts, we believe it is safe to say that the warm weather is finally here to stay – time for sundresses, shorts and shades! Taking off your thick wool hat, likely revealing your hair that may require a fresh change. Now comes the dilemma of, “What can I do with it?” Don’t worry, here at Hair Republic | Salon, we have gathered our favourite four trends this season to transform your hair!

If you are going to do one new thing with your hair this summer, let it be Balayage colouring. Granted, this hair trend has been seen over the past few seasons, but with summer here, there are no signs this look is stopping any time soon. You can be on your way to having a gorgeous, fuss-free colour that can last you throughout the season.

Balayage derives from a French word meaning, “to sweep”, which pertains to the way the stylist applies the colour; lighter, sweeping strokes that start at the top of the head to heavier sweeping strokes at the ends of the hair for a natural sun-kissed look. The great thing about Balayage is the low maintenance aspect of it.  When your roots grow in, natural blending occurs with the pre-existing colour, and paired with perfect waves, it creates the very popular beach-hair summer look.

If Balayage seems too tame for your tresses, why not opt for more of a dramatic change? Go red! Contrary to widespread belief, red hair can work on a wide variety of people provided you choose the right shade for you. If your skin is a darker tone, a cooler tone normally works best – think burgundy or violet based. If the thought of complete red makes you “see red” then try a dark mahogany for a more subtle effect. Medium skin tones should stick to medium shades, where auburn is a fantastic choice. If your skin is a more pale tone, go for warmer shades of red. For a softer look, you can try strawberry blonde which has hints of red without having to go through a radical change. If vivid, striking colour is more your style, there are many darker reds hues that work wonders without washing you out.

Another fun and edgy way to wear your hair for the summer is having your bangs cut bluntly. They may seem like a scary change but they are surprisingly versatile. Sweet yet sexy, professional but fun, and they add just the right pop to any hairstyle while highlighting one of your best features – your eyes.

After you have gotten your best hair colour and your crowd-stopping bangs, you need to find a way to show them off, why not try an up-do? Up-do’s have made a comeback this summer and woman can now rejoice in the fact that the artfully messy and utterly romantic styles are back! Why not try the ethereal up-do Emily Rossum wore or try the casually chic side fish tail braid that has been popping up on every red carpet?

We have come out of another long Canadian winter where it seemed the sun has been constantly fleeting the past few months. Let us start truly enjoying our beautiful weather while it is here and re-kick off your summer with some innovative and fun hair ideas?

Article by: M.Donohue