What’s the Difference Between Ombre and Balayage Hair Styles?

Chances are if you are new to coloring your hair, then you’re probably looking at the color services at your salon and wondering, “What the heck is an ombre or balayage?” It gets even more confusing when you look in the stylebook and see what almost seems like the same thing.

However, these styles aren’t the same. And knowing the difference between them will help you not only tell your stylist exactly what you want, but also give you an idea of how high-maintenance the style is and what it does to your hair.

So, What’s an Ombre?


Ombre is the French word for “shaded” or “shading.” In other words, ombre is a style that shades your hair by keeping it dark near the roots and progressively getting lighter as it goes towards your tips. When done right, you won’t find any traces of your dark hair tone at the ends of your hair. It’s a complete and smooth transition from your natural hair color! The best part…you can control how subtle or striking your ombre is just by determining how light you want your hair to go.

This look is best for darker hair colors. However, it can be applied to short and long hair (which unfortunately isn’t the case for the balayage). The style often requires bleaching your hair and needs the standard maintenance of most colored styles once complete. However, you’ll only have to worry about getting touch ups every now and again to keep your Ombre looking smooth and natural!

Okay, So How is a Balayage Different from an Ombre?


One tip you hear floating around is that a balayage is the “technique” while the ombre is the “style.” This is because balayage is the French word meaning “sweeping.” For a balayage, your stylist will be literally sweeping color directly onto your hair.

It’s a precise technique that leaves your hair appearing sun-kissed when finished. Another difference is that it doesn’t go through a complete shading transition like the ombre and leaves areas where your natural dark hair tone is intact.

This highly trending hairstyle usually needs a few treatments before it is complete, but once it is, the look will last as long as you need it to. This style isn’t ideal for really short hair, but it’s perfect for people trying to cover up gray hairs!

For a Successful Ombre or Balayage, Let the Professionals at Towers Hair Design in Lakeland Handle It!

Both of these styles look amazing and require a lot of technique and practice. Our stylists definitely recommend not trying to achieve this look on your own as you could easily damage your hair and come out with one of the worst hair days of your life.

So if you’re desperate to get your very own ombre or balayage, contact one of our top stylists today at Towers Hair Design. We’re highly experienced in both of these styles!

Published by James Herbert

Jimmy has founded several service related companies and has experience in all stages of business. His mission is to help individuals keep more of their hard earned money through proper tax planning as well as small business owners. He has been in the shoes of many business owners and his end goal is to help them in structuring their business for growth and financial health. Jimmy earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and his Masters degree from Florida Southern College in Lakeland Florida. When Jimmy is not in the office you can find him spending time with family and friends. He is also an avid baseball fan and you can often find him rooting for the Boston Red Sox.

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