Hair news, trends, tips and inspiration

So, what are the differences between ombré and balayage?

Leave a Comment

The ombré and balayage ‘looks’ have caught on trend like wildfire in recent months, and we love them. The blend of darker and lighter shades adds a depth and dimension to the hair and always turns heads. We’ve seen a number of celebrities rocking the looks, including Chrissy Teigen, Jessica Biel and Ciara. We’ve also done a lot of these looks on some amazing clients, and the results have been nothing short of incredible!

We love both of these looks, but we’re often asked what are the main differences between a balayage and ombré hair treatment? Well, wonder no more!

Ombre is the ‘Style’

Well first thing’s first, the word ombré refers to the style that is achieved through the treatment and comes from the French word ‘shadow’. Ombré is colour blocking, there are no dark pieces left on the bottom to help keep it natural, just a nice transition between the colours.

Although this technique is generally seen on brunettes and darker-coloured hair, blondes can also take on the look, but simply finish with a more subtle result called a sombre – but equally as gorgeous!

With an ombré finish, you will see the gradient between both shades blend into block colours at the top and bottom of the hair. This is what makes that signature, dramatic-looking effect that is so popular.

To achieve this stark dark-to-light dip-dyed look, our stylists use the balayage or hair painting technique. While the ombre is a beautiful look, it is also something that needs to be done right.

In the salon right now we tend to create the more natural finish known better as balayage.


Balayage is the ‘Technique’

Balayage this is a technique of highlighting the hair and gives a far more natural-looking finish. When hair is treated with the balayage technique, small parts of the hair have dye swept onto them, balayage literally means ‘sweep’ in French.  Most salons use foils or mesh for this. At Barrie Stephen our advanced team paint free-hand to create a beautiful natural finish.

With balayage, sometimes known as hair painting, the lightener or hair colour is painted on in such a way to create a graduated, natural-looking effect from end to root and is all about creating beautiful blends of multi-dimensional colour. Unlike ombré not all of the hair length is lightened, just strands to give natural sun-kissed highlights throughout the hair.

While balayage sounds simple, the effortlessness of the look depends on the stylist’s skill. Choose your stylist wisely!

The transition in colour is more natural looking and generally a balayage finish is less maintenance than an ombré effect.

Here are a few balayage finishes we’ve created for our fabulous clients:









If you’d like to have a word with one of our team about how we can give your hair this “wow” factor, simply book in for a consultation on 0116 402 6222.