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Difference between Ombre and Balayage

Balayage, ombre, sombre, flamboyage… not exactly words that easily roll off your tongue, are they? But since taking over the fashion world, these hair styling terms have become a part of every self-confessed fashion addict’s common jargon. Your Instagram feed is probably filled to the hilt with all the gorgeous variations of these styles. Be that as it may, all these words do tend to blend into each other in your head and lead to a whole lot of confusion. Well, now that I’m here, you’ve got nothing to worry about! I will tell you everything you need to know to differentiate between balayage, ombre, sombre, and flamboyage.

You know those gorgeous girls you see on the beach who have perfect beach bods and perfectly sunkissed hair? That’s the look balayage will give your hair. The word ‘balayage’ itself means “to sweep” in French. So, hair lightener/color is literally “swept” or painted onto sections of your hair to give it highlights that are a few shades lighter than your natural color. The hair at the bottom is left darker to add dimension and movement to your overall look. So, balayage attempts to recreate the effect of hair that has been naturally lightened by the sun. Since foils are not used to saturate the color, the highlights turn out softer and more natural looking. And as your hair grows out it only adds to the beauty of the balayage.

OK, unless you have been living under a rock, there is no way that you could have escaped the flood of ombre hair on your Instagram/Facebook/Tumblr page. This is one trend that seemed to come in like a tsunami over the internet. The word ‘ombre’ basically mean ‘shadow’ in French. (French is big with all these hairdressers for some reason). Which makes sense because the effect it creates is kind of shadowy. Ombre hair basically has your naturally dark roots at the top that slowly transition completely into a lighter shade towards the ends. So you can see two distinct colors at the roots and at the ends. While a traditional ombre involves dark brown roots that fade into a blonde shade, you can also do it by coloring your roots in a dark shade of practically any color and fade it into a lighter shade at the ends.

Balayage Vs Ombre

Well, now we know what balayage and ombre exactly are. But, I bet there are still some of your out there thinking, “I still don’t get it! They both look exactly the same to me!” What is the difference between balayage and ombre? So buckle up, chiquitas! IM gonna clear all your doubts!

OK, first up, let’s look at balayage as highlighting and ombre as color blocking. So balayage involves color literally being painted through your hair in streaks to give it a sunkissed look. In ombre, all the hair at the bottom is bleached (if you’re a brunette) and colored into a lighter shade than your roots. While there’s a clear fade line between the two colors in ombre, there is no such thing in balayage. The highlights blend seamlessly into your natural hair color. Lastly, because your hair at the bottom is left dark in places, there is more movement and dimension in a balayage look. In ombre, the darker color at the roots simply and completely transitions into a lighter shade towards the ends.

Flamboyage… I wonder how all these hair color companies come up with such interesting names for new hair coloring techniques. Flamboyage is a hair coloring technique that was developed by Davines, a hair tech company. The major difference between balayage and flamboyage lies between the techniques they use. Balayage involves hand painting the color onto your hair and absolutely no usage of foil to saturate the the highlights. Flamboyage, on the other hand, uses transparent adhesive strips to make working on the individual sections of hair easier and to saturate the color. While balayage gives you a naturally sunkissed look, flamboyage lightens and enhances your natural hair color, giving it an almost reflective effect.

Sombre is nothing but, you guessed it, subtle ombre. Sombre, just like ombre, also involves dark roots fading into a lighter shade towards the ends of your hair. But, there is only a slight difference between the two. Sombre basically starts a little higher up in your hair than ombre. And, as opposed to the stark fade line that you see between the two colors in ombre, there is a more subtle transition between the two in sombre. This makes it less expensive to touch up and maintain than an ombre. The lighter shade at the ends in sombre is also not as many shades lighter than the dark one at the top, as in an ombre. Thus, it works better for blondes, while ombre is best suited for brunettes. All in all, it’s simply a softer and subtler version of traditional ombre.

Aaaand we’re done! So happy that we’re all caught up on all the hair color trends, aren’t we? Well, now that you know all that you need to know about ombre, sombre, balayage, and flamboyage, comment below to let us know which style you’re dying to try out yourself!

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