So, we’re heading back to modern day now because after taking a look at 00’s hair there really isn’t much we want to see making a re-appearance..And this takes us to the most talked about techniques in colour at the moment. Ombre and Balayage!


So, Ombre or Balayage? The question we are hearing more and more in salon, which shall I go for ..and oh yes, what IS the difference?



There’s a bunch of celebrities of the moment that have both trends nailed, and arguably have done for a long time.


It may be that you thought a lot of celebrities/models just have damn good hair! Well hooray! Usually this is not the case – most people in the public eye have more than a little help in achieving that uber natural, “is it natural?” look. I.e Jessica Alba, Lauren Conrad and hair heroin Giselle Bunchden.


I mean, just look at Giselle Bunchden’s hair! Is she human?! Her trade mark balayage locks look so natural that you’d be forgiven for thinking this girl is just blessed with perfect genetics but we suspect there is more than a little help in getting those locks so subtly multi tonal.



Online you will find a MASSIVE array of tutorials on how to achieve your own balayage or Ombre effect but be aware these techniques require serious professional skill to get right and the chance of you doing subtle high and low lights with your tooth brush/home bleaching kit and ending up with hair like Giselle are unfortunately almost non existent.


To get this perfectly sun kissed look visit a salon and see your colourist, risking it can end very VERY badly, with overbleached hair causing damage and breakage. Lets face it, nobody wants that.


SO what is the difference? Well Ombre and balayage achieve a similar look as they both involve blending darker tones with light though Ombre tends to create more of a dramatic and obviously coloured effect, which can look awesome! Balayage is primary all about keeping it as natural as possible. So let’s define the terms…





Ombre: Ombre hair refers to the gradual colour transition from the roots to the tips of the hair as a whole , usually fading from a darker color near the roots to a lighter one at the ends. A good ombre shows a gradual transition with no obvious lines which indicate the change in colour and the extremity .The look achieved will depend on the technique, level of lightness and if you decide to go with natural or unnatural toners.


Balayage: Balayage is French meaning “to sweep”. A good colourist will use the balayage technique free hand, colouring only selected strands of hair to a very natural and well blended effect. Only one layer of hair should be saturated, it should never penetrate large sections. Generally with highlights the majortiy of colour will be swept in horizonal lines to cover the front and back of the hair strands. Balyage is almost always vertical with only a very fine tip of the brush used to apply the colour and only in a face framing fashion/subtly through the lengths. A good result is a difference in colour that seems entirely natural, well blended or ‘sunkissed’



Anne Veck Hair-Long-Silver-wavy-hairstyles




To get a good idea of which look will work best for you, start by asking yourself a few questions:


–Am I okay with the “grown out roots” look?
–Do I want something low maintenance?
–How much lighter than my natural shade do I want to go?
–How do I usually style my hair?  Curl or straighten?
–Am I okay with bleach being used on my hair?


If you’ like the idea of roots, curls and bleach (FYI your hair has to be in good condition to take bleach) then ombre is great for you!

Ombre hair is dark at the top gradually going lighter towards the bottom so it’s perfect for a low maintenance, cool girl feel. Wavy or curly hair tends to look best with ombre colour because the graduation in tone shows a less obvious line and if you do decide to straighten your hair then the contrast in roots to tips will be obvious and striking. Where as waves and curls disguise the line for a more grungy/surfy style. If your ends are going to be lighter than the roots , which they almost always will be then a bleach product needs to be applied. Bearing in mind that the ends of your hair will be the weakest you must think AND listen to your hairdressers advice on how much lightening your hair can take. Ignore the advice at your hairs peril!


For a more natural look try balayage, this colouring technique need only be applied once if you’re happy with your natural base colour and just want a little subtle lightening. It also involves much less of your hair being subjected to bleach so is a good resort for those with previously coloured hair that may have sensitized lengths and ends.





Remember, it’s supposed to look natural, so you will probably only go 2-3 shades lighter than your natural color. Because the colour is painted on the hair vertically, when a good quality technique is used it means that you will get no line what so ever and as the colour grows out – it will simple become less noticeable. You’ll only need to have it redone when you decide you want the tones brightening. Hair can also be worn straight without a dramatic change in colour being visible and the style looks wonderous wavy or in curls.


Both colouring options are so current right now, Sombre (subtle ombre) is certainly having a moment while the more dramatic Ombre is taking a back seat – but this is no reason to shy away if you prefer to make a statement with your hair. Balayage has always been around and will stay so as it is endlessly flattering to virtually any hair length, style or texture so we’d suggest finding your fave celeb picture and heading into the salon to see how your ideas can be adapted to suit your hair. Remember, it’s not about copying other hair colours but using the techniques to work with what you have! Happy Colouring!