What is the difference between balayage and Ombré?
The hair Industry at the moment is massively driven by colouring techniques and these are shown over social media, Instagram and Pinterest. Sometimes a new colour technique emerges and it will be solely the made up technique of a colour company who wishes to sell product. Alternatively a hairdresser who would like to gain notoriety for developing something new or different. In fact there was one today on the Elle.com website called strandlighting a variation on highlights.
When you actually look at these techniques they aren’t different at all and just designed to be the emperor’s new clothes. New for the sake of newness. Tiger eye hair is basically a warm toned subtle balayage. The new one by Wella Non-touring because they’ve tried to sell us contouring as their own technique and now need to it move it on for next season. Non-touring is softening a statement haircut with hair colour, blending colour to suit the cut. Don’t get me wrong their collection photos are lovely but we aren’t about to sit you down in our chair and try to non-tour your hair, well I won’t be able to do it with a straight face anyway!
So we have various definitions of unicorn hair, the ever so tricksy looking but not really that difficult to do rainbow under colour, mermaid hair and about a million other ones! Splash lights, flashlights or baby lights. I think Jamie Stephens, celebrity stylist tried to make hair strobing a thing a few years back.
We are being asked more and more for balayage. Sometimes we are asked for balayage without the person fully knowing if that is indeed what they want or rather what balayage is or entails, the process of it. Quite often you guys bring in a picture and in all honesty, you just want us to achieve what is in the pictures and you aren’t super fussed what we do to get your hair as close as we can.
However for those who are interested, here are a few techniques we do actually do
What is a Dip Dye?
Dip Dye, is a hair technique that became popular is around 2011. The hair looks like it has been dipped from ends to mid-lengths and has a clear line between the two colours. Therefore you get a block of one and then a block of the second. We rarely do a dark to blond dipdye anymore. It looks much edgier and less lets face it 2011! When we dipdye either right at the ends and create a ribbon or edge of colour right near the ends and if we do this with a vivid colour. A blunt bob with blue ends for example. Reverse dip dye, a blunt blond bob with dark ends. This is a cool edgy look for those who want to make a statement. I’m going to name this tips dye. Why not? everyone else is doing it! Can’t beat em join em 😉
Traditional dip dye, Vivid dipdye and tips dye
What’s an Ombré ?
Right I’ll level with you. Most calls we get enquiring about a dip dye actually want ombré. What is the difference? In short the blend. A regular ombré will start of light and the ends and dark and the root and will blend into one another in a seamless gradient. There will not be a line. Therefore blond or lightest at the bottom, lighter brown, darker brown and darkest the root. We can also do ombré with two colours or more. For example pink to purple to blue. A colour melt is pretty much the same thing, the colours look like they are melted together. Of course there is a middle ground and excuse the pun this is where the lines blur. You can have a slightly more blended dip dye or an extreme ombré and they they are pretty much the same thing! A subtle ombré is called a sombré. That just means that the colours used are more subtle i.e rich dark brunette to light brunette.
Our lovely client Sian, fashion Maven. Hair by Vicky. Sian has an ombré
We sometimes add roots. I know right? To some of you this will be an alien concept. If you are like myself, in a perpetual cycle of covering your roots you might laugh at the idea of faking roots. However we might add roots for a few reasons. You might have had blond hair and highlights for a long time and want to break it up and have a more balayage look or even ombré. So the majority of the hair is light. We can then add in roots to modernise the colour or extend the root growth down to look intentional and broken up rather than just grown out hair. We can also put in bright roots for example magenta coloured roots blended into blond hair. This technique is also sometimes called root drag as what we are essentially doing is dragging the root further down.
We weave in and out of the hair and place those strands into foils and either paint on colour or lightener. We can do this scattered for a random effect, full head, half head and when you need a top up regrowth. We can pick out the tiny strands around the face and top and this is meant to give a youthful look, like when you are a child and come back from a holiday with sunkissed fine subtle highlights. We can start the weave close to the scalp or leave the root for a more natural look. We can place the foils back to back to colour more of the hair or have the highlights densely packed or space them out. Low lights would be for those who have light hair and want darker pieces of colour to break up the main colour.
What is Balayage ?
Balayage has been around since the 1970’s. Sometimes called French Balayage because it is a French word which translate to sweep or to paint. The Balayage technique or look is a way of lightening parts of the hair to create a more natural, sunkissed effect. Lightener is painted on usually in a v shape freehand in a pattern that mimics natural hair growth and being in the sun. We may choose to lighten more around the face or the top layer of hair where the sun is likely to hit more. Not so finely woven like highlights balayage is more about creating different strokes on the hair to create a natural effect. Balayage can be done to a very blond dramatic effect or solid look close to ombre but not quite or more natural streaked effect. Tiger eye hair uses warm brunettes to create a look like the semi-precious stone tiger eye. Balayage can be done very subtly lighter browns on dark brown to create dimension and we can tone balayage to any colours. Balayage is also sometimes called freelights or freehand lightening.
Ecaille is French for tortoiseshell. This one is a tad confusing. The Wella appropriation of Ecaille is different from other definition. So when you think of tortoiseshell, think of lovely caramel tones. This looks is created with colour more than lightener. Using different dark to caramel tints painted onto the hair to create a light and depth and pattern. The wella version involves adding light and tone depending on where you may have natural waves in the hair.
Is colour contouring a real thing?
A bit like contouring you face with makeup we can place colour on your hair to flatter you face shape. It is that simple. Shorten a long face, slim cheeks and generally use shadow and colour to trick the eye. So we can look at you face shape, round, oval, square and heart shaped and depending on where we add highlights create illusions to help sharpen a jaw line or slim a forehead. Colour to just enhance your face. The skill is just knowing where to place light and shadow.
Under colour works best of those with layers. So the base layer of coloured a few tones darker or lighter than the top layers and the colour shows underneath. We can predict a resurgence in this look as the cool kids will want something less blended and more definite as people start of veer away from ombres and balayage in the search for a different look.
There is a current trend for colouring a panel at the back of the hair. When the hair is worn down it can be seen but worn up or hair up and down the panel is revealed. It’s a bit of fun but a bit of gimmick.
Really, colouring is just about the placement of the colour, painting with lightener and colour, making patterns or strokes on the hair to create a look. We often mix techniques as when you visit us it is all about designing a bespoke colour for you. There is also all of the colours of blond, brunette, reds and of course fashion colours to choose from but this is blog article about colouring techniques. However let’s not get too bogged down in definitions as not every image on google is named correctly! We can advise you on how to achieve the look you’d like or inspire you with a whole host of colours. Lets not too caught up in what these techniques are called and just create some beautiful hair.
All but one photograph used in this blog is our own work.
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