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Ombre vs Balayage

Ombré and balayage are hair trends with serious staying power. Learn the difference between the two techniques and see how you can create the looks with at-home hair colour.

With so many hair-colour trends popping up on the regular, it can be hard to know what’s what nowadays. It feels like every time you log onto your social feeds or flip through a fashion mag, a new hair colour trend is being dubbed “the next big thing in beauty.” But as often as new trends emerge, there are two popular hair colouring techniques that won’t be slowing down in popularity anytime soon: ombré hair and balayage. While the techniques are similar, they each create different results. If you’re thinking of switching up your current hair colour and want to know more about ombré and balayage, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn the difference between the techniques and for some additional tips on how to create these looks at home as well as how to care for your coloured hair.

What is ombré hair?

Ombré arrived on the beauty beat years ago, and its popularity hasn’t wavered. Ombré refers to the natural blending of one hair colour into another, most commonly starting with dark roots and gradually going lighter as you move toward the ends of the hair. Brown-to-blond ombré hair is a popular choice as it’s flattering and requires very little upkeep. This means as your hair grows there’s no drastic change of colour, which equals less visits to your hairdresser for retouches. While this is the style that put ombré hair on the map, the technique can be flipped so you have a lighter shade at the roots that gradually becomes darker or uses fun fashion colours like purple and pink on the ends of the hair.

What is balayage?

There’s another highlighting hair trend that’s come onto the beauty scene over the past few years: balayage. The word means “sweep” in French, and that’s just what this hair colouring technique does. Dye—typically hair lightener—is hand painted or naturally swept onto sections of hair to add dimension and movement. The style is meant to mimic where the sun would naturally lighten your locks and gives an overall sun-kissed effect, like you’ve spent the day at the beach. Since the hair colour is applied by hand instead of using foil, the result is a beautiful, subtly enhanced version of your natural hue, and often the ends of the hair are left darker to enhance the au naturel look. Balayage is often done on brown hair using warm blond highlights, but the style isn’t limited to those shades; with cool-toned hair trends becoming popular, ash blond hair is a new way to rock balayage. Just like ombré, balayage requires little maintenance for colour upkeep.

Will ombré hair or balayage look good on me?

Both ombré and balayage highlights are a great option if you’re looking to add some dimension but don’t want to fork over tons of money for high-maintenance hair. While both styles offer a natural look, balayage offers a more subtly sun-kissed style over ombré thanks to the hand-painting application technique, while ombré grows out exceptionally easy as your roots are left darker. So if natural is the look you’re after, balayage might be your best bet. But no matter what look you choose, both styles work on all hair textures and can be created using a variety of hair colours so there really isn’t a wrong choice!

Can I highlight hair at home?

While your hairdresser can apply either balayage or ombré highlights, there are a few options if you want to DIY either style at home. To create a natural balayage look, try using L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach Highlights It comes with an easy-to-use brush for precise and expert application. For DIY ombré, try L’Oréal Paris Colorista Bleach Ombré as this kit has everything you need to get professional-looking ombré at home. Once you’ve achieved your desired tone, it’s important to tweak your beauty routine to make the most of your at-home dye job. Restore some much-needed moisture back into your locks post-colour by using a deep-conditioning hair treatment once a week, like L’Oréal Paris Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Hair Mask. Swap out your go-to shampoo and conditioner with a colour-boosting formula that contains a UV filter to help shield your locks from colour-altering harmful rays.

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