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Know Your Trends: The Difference Between Ombre and Balayage

Posted by on Aug 22, 2015

Hair is often considered a person’s crowning glory. It’s why there’s often so much attention focused on how our hair looks, and why so many trends come to suggest how we should opt to style our locks. Two distinct trends have to do with hair color. While plenty of fads have come and gone in the world of hairstyling, it seems ombre and balayage are two of the most popular choices for most people. Both hair coloring trends have been featured in red carpets, worn proudly by big Hollywood names. To the untrained eye, ombre and balayage seem to yield similar results—highlights that give one’s hair extra body and dimension. But what is the difference between the two coloring techniques? How would you know which one is the better choice for your hair type?

Ombre derives from the French word for shade or shadow. Just like in painting, it used to refer to the gradual change between different colors that bleed into one another, moving from darker to lighter hues. With hair, an ombre means having dark hair from the roots that gradually changes to a lighter color up until the ends. On the other hand, balayage aims to achieve the same gradation in the highlights of the hair but with a more subtle effect. Balayage is another French word, this time for sweeping or painting. The gentle sweeping strokes used to apply the highlight color on the hair results in a more natural and sun-kissed style.

Another difference between ombre and balayage is in the products used for the two techniques. For ombre, stylists typically make use of bleach in order to achieve the lighter shade at the tips of the hair. On the other hand, to achieve the more natural-looking objective of balayage, stylists make use of color that is only about two or three shades lighter than the natural shade.

If you are deciding between these two hair coloring trend, there are several factors you will need to consider. According to the website of Therapy Hair Studio, those who prefer bolder highlight colors will prefer the ombre style. However, take note that the use of bleach can severely damage hair. For people worried about this, it might be better to opt for balayage instead.

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