Over two years ago, ombré hair pins started appearing on a multitude of Pinterest boards. When the styles first came out, many hairstylist needed to perfect their technique. After all, who wants a painted bold blonde line across the middle of their black hair and ends drenched in bleach. Obviously, the colors done that way would not be a smooth and seamless transition.
Today, and the industry’s obsession with all-things ombré has been replaced with a preference for balayage hair. At least for some ethic groups.
Difference Between Ombré and Balayage Hair
Overall, the two styles look oddly similar. Let’s discover the difference between ombré and balayage hair and save you an awkward salon experience.
1. Balayage is a technique, and ombré is a shade
Many people go wrong at the salon because they’re not even asking for what they think they want. Balayage is a technique and ombré is a gradient of color. There’s actually no such thing as a balayage hair color. Instead, it’s how you achieve ombré.
And it gets even simpler than that. The French word balayage translates to sweeping, which is the gist of the technique. When you’re using a balayage technique, you’re literally painting bleach or lightener onto the hair in a sweeping motion.
2. Unlike Highlights, Balayage Doesn’t Require Foil
The technique sounds pretty similar to highlights, but there’s actually a key difference between the two. Highlights start at the root and get painted down to the tips. Conversely. balayage begins at the tips and feathers up the top.
And while balayage is usually painted directly onto the hair, highlights are wrapped in foil. The foil, especially if you’re sitting under heat, is going to really lighten the hair for a brighter effect.
Most stylist skip foil with balayage as the oxygen eventually oxidizes the bleach. This results in a dried out, less bright color. Balayage is also a quicker and faster way to lighten hair without using foil. But since you can’t achieve that same lightness without foil, stylists started using stronger bleach. Unless you’re putting that strong amount of bleach on hair extensions, it can damage natural hair. So instead, stylists put the balayage pieces in foil to get them super light.
3. Ombré Doesn’t Require Much Upkeep
Another key difference between ombré and balayage hair is maintenance. Luckily, this enviable technique is also one that’s easy to keep looking fresh. Since the technique doesn’t start from your scalp, you already have roots. And it’s possible not to need a color refresh even a year later.