Ombre or Balayage?

Ombre and balayage are two of the most in-demand hair colour looks at we create here at Storm. These looks are so popular because they look natural and subtle, and because – unlike traditional highlights – maintenance appointments can be spread much further apart. But what’s the difference? Confused? Let us help!

Ombre is a term that refers to the actual style, rather than a colour or technique. It comes from the French word for “shadow”, and describes the transition of a lighter shade from a darker shade. Generally, ombres work best on brunettes because it is the least subtle of all the techniques, whereas a sombre is what we would see on blondes. That technique is more subtle, hence the word sombre. Ombres will also work better if your natural hair colour is dark, because you will need fewer appointments in between to colour your roots as they grow out. Ombre colouring is more dramatic, and will need slightly more maintenance in terms of root touch ups, or bringing the light colour further up the hair shaft towards your scalp.  Ombre is kind of like colour blocking, so there won’t be dark pieces left on the bottom to help keep it natural, just a nice transition between the darker top and the lighter ends. We LOVE the ombre look – but it needs to be done right! Always, always, always trust a professional (like us!) to create this look for you.

Balayage refers to an actual technique that colourists use to apply the colour to your hair. Like ombre, balayage is also a French word, which means to paint, or to sweep. When applying the colour for a balayage, your colourist will sweep the colour through small triangle sections of the hair onto a board or foil, giving it the natural transition down into the lighter colour. Often, balayage can also be done with a free hand painting method, without the use of foils, which creates an even more natural, done-yet-undone look. In balayage, there are dark pieces left on the bottom to create dimension and a more natural look. This technique looks like natural sun-kissed highlights throughout the hair. The transition is more natural and it is less maintenance than an ombre. Balayage works really well on our clients with finer hair, because it creates the look of depth and dimension though the entire head.

Both of these looks have continued to grow in popularity over the years, and we don’t envision this trend disappearing from our colour room any time soon! All of our talented colourists are well-skilled in both of these creating both of these looks. As always, if you haven’t had colour done with us before, or if you are looking to make a change, we suggest you book in for a complimentary consultation with one of our colourists beforehand.

The picture below shows an ombre on the left (by Lakyn) and balayage on the right (by Desiree).