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Difference Between Ombre and Balayage

Ombre and balayage are common terms in the world of hairstyling. Although they are commonly used phrases, many people get the two terms mixed up or may not even know the difference between them. As stylists, we hear people talk about ombre and balayage all the time but often in the wrong context. It’s time to finally understand the difference between the two!


Balayage derives from the French word meaning “to sweep”, this touches on the method of applying the color to the hair. When stylists apply the coloration to the hair they do so in a sweeping motion, thus comes the name, Balayage. Balayage treatment is usually done in phases and leaves hair with a more natural, sun-kissed look. The sweeping color application method creates a beautiful transition down the hair into the lighter color. Dark hair remains at the bottom of the hairline which adds to the natural look.


The word Ombre also comes to us from a French word meaning “shadow”. Ombre is the gradual lightening of hair and it is typically from the top down. Hair starts dark at the roots and gets lighter and lighter as it approaches the ends. Ombres have a more dramatic transition between different colorations. Where Balayages have a smoother transition and have a mix of colorations towards the bottom, which allows for a more natural look; Ombres have a solid color switch all the way through. Ombres still require a smooth transition between colors or else you will be left with a hard color change halfway down your hair. Ombres can look amazing if they’re done right but a poorly done Ombre can cause damage to your hair.

Now you know the difference between the two methods, which one will you choose? Both of these methods can give you beautiful, unique hair. They are both long lasting and can be done with hair at most lengths, besides the obvious short hair. If you’re considering one of these styles, contact e salon studio today and talk to our salon experts!

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