Ok, so you’re sat in the salon chair and you know exactly what sort of color you want but you have no idea how to explain this to your stylist. Sound familiar? Well, a number of our guests have requested a short guide on the difference between two of the most frequently used hair terms: ombré and balayage. Gone are the days where our options were one of two: an all over color or some highlights. The options now are endless and with various terms used to describe similar techniques and styles, it’s easy to see how these terms get mixed up. So, here is our straight forward guide to knowing the difference between an ombré and a balayage, and which one is right for you.

What is ombré?

The French term means “shade” or “shadow” and in the world of hair coloring it refers to a dramatic two-toned hair color effect. Typically, the color is darker at the roots and lighter at the ends. Quite often, you’ll find that ombrés use a color close to your natural hair color at the roots (if not your actual natural hair color) and lighten the bottom section with a hair lightener. The great thing about ombrés is that you can have literally any combination of color from blonde, browns and reds to something more eccentric like pinks, blues and greens. Suitable for most medium to long hair lengths, this customisable and versatile color style is also low maintenance as it requires minimal touch ups thanks to your natural looking root shade.

Pink ombre
Brunette purple ombre
Blonde ombre

If you’re after something a little more subdue you can opt for a subtler version called sombré. With this color style the contrast between the two shades is softer. Another term you may have heard is called color melting. This is when your colorist uses two or three hair shades on each strand, and each shade is blended with the side of the hair color brush so that they appear to melt into each other. Like ombré, color melting can be done with natural-looking hair color shades or with any of the eccentric pop art colors.

Is ombré for you?

If you’re the type of person who loves to make a statement with your hair (or otherwise!) then you’ll love the sense of personalisation with an ombré. You can be as creative and adventurous as you like with your bespoke color choice. The only thing our stylists like to make sure of is that your hair is in good condition to begin with and that you’re ready to maintain your color at home using specialised shampoos and conditioners that help to retain your color.  We recommend AMIKA Vault Color Lock Shampoo and Conditioner as it’s packed full of essential oils including Soybean Oil and antioxidants ensuring your hair color stays brighter for longer. It’s also rich in UV filters meaning your hair will be protected from sun damage, an essential requirement when transitioning into the warmer months. Not only will this duo give your hair color super holding power, but it’s also cruelty free, a win for your hair and the world. If you don’t currently use a color protect shampoo and conditioner, you’ll find that your chosen shades, particularly bright fashion colors, tend to wash out and fade quicker. But don’t worry, we have a whole team of professional colorists ready to advise you on the best products for your hair type and color.

What is a balayage?

It’s easy to see how a balayage and an ombré get mixed up as they can look very similar, but there are differences! Knowing that the term ‘balayage’ derives from another French word meaning “to sweep” will probably help you to spot the difference. With a balayage technique, our stylists sweep the color using a free-hand method through small sections of the hair onto a foil, giving it the natural transition down into the lighter colour. You’ll also find that there are darker strands left on the bottom to help create dimension and a more natural look. Sometimes when we talk about natural sun-kissed highlights (like our collection) it is usually the works of a balayage technique.

The bespoke nature of a balayage means your colorist can cleverly influence your hair’s color composition meaning there can be a number of beautiful balayage variations. Using this hand-painting technique you may even find that your hair stylist has combined several shades for a shimmering, 3-dimensional result. If your hair is dark, your colorist may opt for a foilayage technique. This is where instead of allowing the balayage highlights to process in the air after they’re applied, they’re wrapped in foil, which provides more heat, and therefore intensifies the lightening process. Your colorist may also opt to combine your balayage with conventional highlights closer to your face, or with fine, baby-lights placed around the hairline to give your complexion a radiance-boosting glow.

Is a balayage for you?

If you love a sexy, natural-looking hair color then a balayage is the perfect choice. Depending on how dark you decide to leave your roots, it can also be a good low maintenance option.

Book in

So, what are you waiting for? Take advantage of your local Regis stylist’s hair artistry and bring your hair colour back to life.  Find your local salon and book in now.

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