What is balayage anyway and should you get it

posted 05.22.2019

Everyone seems to be talking about balayage all of a sudden as if everyone should already know what it is. We understand if you don’t, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all of the hair slang if you’re not in the salon constantly. Basically, balayage (pronounced bah-lah-yajj) is a style of highlights that look a little bit more natural than different ways of application or even ombre styles. It’s the secret to having hair that looks like it’s just been on a tropical vacation, and we can’t get enough.


You may be wondering how balayage is different from ombre styles because they sound so similar. Is the point of ombre not to give your hair the look of having been in the sun, living carefree for months on end anyway? Well, sort of, and the two are pretty similar. While ombre dye does involve coloring the entirety of the base of the hair and blending it in with your current color, balayage is designed to blend a little bit more naturally.

Instead of having to bleach the bottom half of your hair to obtain an ombre look, a stylist will slowly and carefully hand paint a lighter hair color into your hair to give it a more naturally lightened look. Balayage is a far more subtle look than ombre styles, but it can save you from having to deal with a lot of upkeep if you don’t plan on visiting the salon more than a couple of times per year. Think of ombre as a gradient hair color, while balayage is a form of highlights that are meant to lighten the ends of the hair the most, blending naturally into the rest of your head.


Oh boy, that’s not all of the crazy hair trends that have been flooding social media in recent months. As we approach summer, sun-kissed hairstyles are beginning to flood Instagram feeds around the world. We don’t blame you for feeling overwhelmed, which is why we’re here to explain the differences between ombre and sombre and balayage and flamboyage. No, that last one isn’t a dessert—you’re thinking of flambe.  

For starters, a sombre is simply a merging of the words “subtle” and “ombre.” That probably makes it a bit easier, but it can still be confusing to determine the differences between a sombre and a balayage. Just remember one, key thing that separates the two: balayage is hand painted, ombre is when your stylist colors (or bleaches, in many cases) the ends of your hair and blends it into the rest of the hair. Both can be beautiful, but understand what you’re looking for before you make a request so that you’re not disappointed.

Flamboyage, on the other hand, is a very specific way of applying color that was created by a hair tech company called Davines. It involves using transparent strips of adhesive material as a way of applying the color to get it to saturate deeply into the hair. It’s a little bit different than balayage in this way, because balayage doesn’t use any materials at all to saturate the color into the hair.

All in all, if you’re looking for a natural highlight that gives your hair a sunkissed look, ask for a balayage the next time you head to your stylist for a coloring session. If you’ve previously gotten ombre, though, they may not be able to do a lot. Talking with your stylist about what you’re looking for is the best way to come up with a way of applying color that will leave you pleased with the outcome, but we hope we were able to settle some of the confusion surrounding balayage once and for all.









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