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Balayage vs Ombre – what’s the difference?


Do you know the difference? Many people are confused by these terms, but our stylist Natalie is here to help.  She’s written this short article to explain:

I’ve been styling and colouring hair for more than 10 years.  One of the questions I get asked the most is what’s the difference between a Balayage and Ombré?


Balayage vs Ombre

Ombré was the first of the two techniques to come out. It’s a hair colour blend, with dark roots and blonde ends.  The colours are blended together in the middle, so that your hair goes from dark to blonde.  This means there is a definite difference in colour.

If you want a definite change in hair colour, then Ombré is the one for you.


Balayage vs Ombre

The Balayage was brought out to give a more natural look and a discrete blend in hair colour. So a Balayage style is more subtle and blended throughout.  It also starts darker at the root and subtly becomes lighter towards the ends, but in a very graduated way.

If you don’t want an extreme difference in colour – you would choose Balayage.


Both of these techniques are really good for clients who want a low maintenance colour.  That’s because you’re not getting an obvious root growth like you do with a full colour or highlights applied right to the root. With both of these, you can have just a root touch up with a toner every 8 weeks in-between full appointments.

At the next appointment, we will need to take your blend higher, otherwise it will grow down as your hair grows.  We don’t want the blend to get too low, as it will start to look out of balance.  We need to carry out this colour work roughly every 12-16 weeks, which makes it a really low maintenance choice of hair colour.  This makes it a great choice if you don’t want to visit the hairdresser too often!


Anyone can have an Ombré or Balayage, no matter what your hair colour.

So if you have darker hair and want to go lighter but don’t want to opt for full highlights, you can have either. Of if you want to keep your natural hair colour to avoid constant root touch ups, Ombré or Balayage is perfect to add a bit of brightness at the ends.

What about if you have blonde hair already? Its’ still possible to achieve an Ombré of Balayage look.  In this case we would colour you roots to darken them, which is called a root stretch.  Then I’d put a toner on the ends to freshen up the colour.


You don’t need to be.  Even though I use bleach to lighten the hair, I always recommend adding Olaplex to the process. Olaplex is a treatment which actually repairs the bonds in your hair.  This means we can achieve fantastic Ombré and Balayage results, without risking damage.


  • Ombré goes from dark to blonde – so a very definite colour change.
  • Balayage goes from dark to lighter – but in a more subtle way.
  • Both are good choices if you want low maintenance colour.
  • Since you will not have roots, you only need to have the blend moved higher every 3-4 months.
  • A perfect choice for someone with darker hair but who wants to have lighter ends without full highlights.
  • Ombré or Balayage can also work on blondes.  In this case we colour the roots (called a root stretch)
  • We will add Olaplex to avoid any damage to your hair.

I hope this article has helped you understand more about these two hair techniques. Regardless of what you choose, I will always discuss your ideas and what I think will suit you before we put the plan into action!

Thanks for reading

Your stylist Natalie x


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