Ombre? Balayage? The Differences between Highlight Techniques and Styles

Ombre? Balayage? The Differences between Highlight Techniques and Styles

girl-846925_1280You’ve done it! You finally decided to highlight your hair! But what is an ombre and what is a balayage?  With so many techniques and trends out there, it can be tough to tell all the styles apart. Learn the difference between these highlight options and find out which technique is best for you!


The word ombre comes from the French word for “shadow” and is considered a style. This style results in hair that gradually gets lighter from roots to end, with no dark pieces left on the bottom and a nice transition between colors. The best part about ombre? It works for any hair type or color! It’s great for someone looking for contrast. Because ombre is dark at the top and lighter at the bottom, it will look like you skipped a few hair appointments and is good for those who go to the salon for frequent touch-ups. It’s counterpart is the reverse ombre, which is lighter at the top and darker at the bottom.


You may want a “sombre” or a subtle ombre, which is a softer style that is less noticeable while it grows out. This style is great for those who want to frequent the salon less than an ombre, but still want the fade between colors. A sombre will typically blend higher up, which gives a more natural look. With a more gradual fade between colors, there is less of a line of demarcation, making this style more low maintenance and a less expensive alternative to an ombre. Even though it is more subtle, a sombre will still take around the same about of time as an ombre to achieve.


Babylights are micro highlights, also known as fine foils. Hair is separated in tiny sections and highlighted only a couple strands at a time. This gives a more natural look meant to mimic the highlights you had as a child.


The term balayage comes from the French word meaning “to sweep” and considered a technique. In Balayage, there are dark pieces left on the bottom, which create dimension and a more natural look. Balayage gives hair a more natural coloring, appearing sun-kissed when finished, like the natural highlights you get from being out in the sun. Highlights are in chunkier sections and are painted through small triangle sections on in a sweeping motion. Balayage may not require lightener depending on how light you want to go, but because it is supposed to be natural, you may only want to go 2-3 shades lighter. Your regrowth will also be less noticeable, making this a great low maintenance option.


Also a new style, Bronde is the term for anyone who has a golden, bronze blonde hair color. It’s a fusion of both blonde and brunette hair color that looks natural and is flattering on everyone. This color is great for brunettes who want to explore lighter shades in their hair without going fully blonde. It also adds dimension into dark hair and, depending on placement, can look natural while growing out.

Think about highlighting you hair? Visit Leon Studio One and talk to one of our stylists about the best look for you!