Balayage is a French word meaning to sweep or to paint. It allows for a sun-kissed natural looking hair color- similar to what nature gives us as children – with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. The principal idea being less is more when creating soft, natural looks.
Ombre hair color is generally darker at the roots then gradually gets lighter from the mid-shaft to ends. Ombre can feature quite a start dark-to-light fade while sombre “subtle ombre” is a much more nuanced take on the dip-dye trend.
If you’re looking for low-maintenance styles, this is the hair color for you!
To give you a better idea of what might work best, we tapped celeb colorist Jennifer J to help us define four major hair highlighting trends right now. Because “you should always have a clear plan as to what color you are going to get, how it will affect your hair and the maintenance,” she said.
Timing: Up to 3-4 hours
Great for: Someone looking for contrast, but bleaching hair ends may cause damage”Ombré means [going] darker at the root and gradually getting lighter at the ends of your hair,” Jennifer noted. “The beauty of ombré is that it can work for any hair type or color. If the hair is highlighted already, I just paint on a ‘fake’ root and make it look like the color has grown out for a few months.”
Timing: Up to 3-4 hours
Great for: The lazy set (though it’s a celeb fave!)”Sombre is a more subtle version of ombré. Even though it is more subtle, it takes the same amount of time as ombré,” said Jennifer. The color transition is also much more gradual (read: no lines of demarcation, which means less touch-ups), making it a lower maintenance, less expensive alternative to its more obvious counterpart.
Timing: 30-90 minutes
Great for: Those looking for a natural-looking contrast”Balayage is a French word for sweep,” said the colorist. “Technically, it means that you area-painting highlights on the hair in a sweeping motion.” Highlights will be in chunkier sections, making it seem like the sun naturally lightened the hair. Because no foils or meche is used to apply product, sections are less saturated than typical highlights and regrowth lines are less noticeable. Your hair will look just as good whether it’s one week or one month from your initial salon appointment.
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Timing: 30-90 minutes
Great for: Those looking for super-subtle highlights”Flamboyage is basically the same [as balayage], but the ends may be lightened a little more,” said Jennifer. A new alternative to traditional highlights, this process incorporates elements of both balayage and ombré techniques to give the hair more depth and a natural-yet-polished result—even after your hair has grown out.
Balayage Ombre Hair Color Ideas with Blonde, Brown, Caramel, Red
1. Golden Brown: Maybe you just returned from a Mediterranean vacation spent sunning yourself on a yacht. Or maybe you and your stylist just conspired to evoke that look, but don’t worry, we’ll never tell. (via Willow Lane)
2. Dramatic Red Ombre: Balayage is a super fun technique for those who like to experiment with color. Your ombre can be blended, but still super bold. (via La Folie Couture)
3. Cool Blonde: If you’ve ever been jealous of the natural highlights children develop in the summer, you can rein in your inner green-eyed monster. With a blonde balayage-d ‘do, you can look that natural too. (via We Heart It)
4. Splashlights: If you’re looking for something edgier, balayage is also used to created a look called the splashlight, where color is only painted onto the middle of the strand. We’re just waiting for this one to take over the runway. (via Everything Emily)
5. Snowy Blonde: Want to go platinum, but afraid to take the plunge? Use balayage to paint it at varying heights on your strands. You get all the wow of such a bright blonde, but you keep the warmer, subtler tones near your face. (via Add Hairstyle)
6. Julia Engel: Not only does balayage created gorgeous, multi-layered color, it also lets you get away with stretching out salon visits just a little longer. Who’s to say if those are roots or just a part of the masterpiece? (via Gal Meets Glam)
7. Highlighted Gray: Kelly Osbourne has been telling us for ages that gray isn’t just for middle-aged women anymore, and we believe her. We’re betting more stylish ladies would rock this color if they knew they could do it with such a variety of tones. (via Miss Teacups)
8. Poppy Montgomery: Most of us don’t have the luxury of being natural redheads, but folding in some blonde balayage can at least make us feel like we are. (Photo via Toby Canham/Getty)
9. Luminous Lights: Whether you’re trying to protect your hair or your wallet from the havoc chemical dyes can wreak, just a few well-placed face-framing pieces can totally liven up your look. (via Elle France)
10. Subtle Ombre: If you weren’t born with bottle-perfect color, a subtle ombre can give that mouse brown or dishwater blonde some much needed pop! (via SS Life + Style)
11. Pastel Pink: While we applaud all you ladies rocking various shades of neon hair, sometimes we want something a little subtler. This pastel pink on platinum blonde fits the bill quite nicely. (via Style Saint)
13. Jamie Chung: It’s no secret we’re big fans of Jamie Chung. We’ll take those loose waves and blonde accents any day. (Photo via Rich Polk/Getty)
14. Pink Accents: Balayage is SO fun for playing with interesting color combos. Plum and pink? Be our guest! (via Jessica Barnwell)
15. Polished Tips: So you went for it and got the lob. Now have your stylist balayage just the tips to keep your look bright and fresh! (via Daria Daria)