Difference Between Balayage and Ombre

Balayage vs Ombre

For those who do not color their hair, Balayage and Ombre might sound alien, but for those who want to be seen using latest makeup ideas, these are coloring techniques meant to highlight the streaks of hair in a unique manner to give the user an attractive hair that look mesmerizing. At the outset, it would be pertinent to say that to an outsider, Balayage and Ombre look similar, and it is hard to make out any differences. However, there are subtle differences that will be highlighted in this article.


Balayage is a hair coloring technique and the word comes from French word meaning sweep. This word gives an indication of the manner in which hair colorist would apply the hair in a single sweeping motion from the base of the hair to the end of the hair; colorist give lighter strokes at the base and heavier strokes at the end, to design a color scheme that is gradual from the base to the end. The result that is obtained is such as if nature itself created the effect. The hair look as if they have been sun kissed. The attempt in this hair coloring technique is to keep the natural hair color but to make it a sun kissed version. Balayage happens to be the most requested coloring technique in salons today with lots of celebrities doing their hair in this fashion.

Balayage technique was developed way back in France in 1970’s and is called a freehand technique as the colorist applies color with hands rather than foiling. Though the technique can be used in short hair, the best results and sun kissed effect is obtained when the hair is up to shoulder length. Balayage is considered very economical, as there is gradual color in hair and there is no demarcation and even re-growth does not make a difference to the effect as the color is natural at the base of the hair.


Ombre is another hair coloring technique that has gained a lot of popularity these days because of celebrities adopting this coloring effect on their hair. If you look at a person who has got Ombre hair coloring done, you would find gradual lightening of hair color from the base of the hair to the end of the hair. The look is very striking indeed and gives an impression that hair has been bleached and then not touched up for a long time, so that the hair is dark at the base and light at the end. The word Ombre is a French word meaning as two-toned.


What is the difference between Balayage and Ombre?

• Ombre color keeps hair dark at the top and goes lighter till the end of the hair. It looks as you got bleach and since then have not touched up hair.

• The line of demarcation is prominent in Ombre while in Balayage, there is no such demarcation. This is why Balayage is considered a very economical coloring system, as you can have re-growth and it will not make a difference to the sun kissed effect, because the colorist applies very light strokes at the top of the hair.

• Balayage is subtle while Ombre is very striking.