Highlights, Balayage, or Ombre…..What’s the difference?
Looking to lighten up your color for the summer but not sure what to ask for at the salon? You want dimension and contrast but not that outdated chunky streak look. You’ve heard about Balayage and Ombre but don’t quite understand what it entails. How does one transition from the traditional highlight to that desirable ‘Victoria Secret Model’ natural sun-kissed effect.
Let’s start with some basic education. Highlighting is traditionally achieved by sectioning out pieces of hair and painting them inside an aluminum foil. Depending on if the sections are heavy slices or light weaves, determines how substantial the highlights become. Because the sections are painted onto a foil, the color saturation is even from roots to end, creating a consistent streak throughout.
Balayage, which means for “to sweep” in French, is a custom technique typically done with cotton and saran wrap. The unique benefit of Balayage is that the sections are painted on visually in triangular shapes that at are thinner toward the root and wider toward the mid-shaft and ends. This creates a sun-kissed effect because highlights look like the ‘sweep’ out of nowhere.
Ombre, which means for “graduation of color” in French, is a fashion forward effect where the hair gradually fades from dark to light from roots to ends. Although this look can be very dramatic, it is considered a natural look because the new regrowth of hair tends to be darker then the ends since it has not had as much sun exposure as the older hair at the tips. This effect is often achieved by teasing the hair and then painting the hair below the tease, which makes for a blended color graduation as the un-painted hair brushed up into the tease later serves to breaks up to line of demarcation.