By Amanda.  What is the difference between ombre and balayage? This is a question that we get in our Boulder hair salon often.  You can see how we describe them in our women’s service page.  Would you be surprised if I told you that there wasn’t always necessarily a difference between the two and quite often we create the look of ombre using a balayage technique? I just gave you a hint there about what the difference between the two are. Let me go into a little more detail to clear things up.

Both the word ombre and the word balayage derive from french words. Ombre meaning shaded and balayage meaning to paint or sweep. When referring to hair color the word ombre is often used to describe the transition of color from light to dark or from dark to light. When we use the term balayage in reference to hair color typically we are talking about hand painting or free painting the hair, not necessarily done in the traditional “stripy” way but in a softer, freer way. Ombre is used more to describe a look whereas balayage is used to describe a technique. Now it should make more sense why we can use both words to describe the same head of hair.

Often in the salon when we are told by clients that they want balayage and not an ombre, they are usually looking for a soft and blended looking ombre. In order to ensure good client-stylist communication we love to use visuals. We use our i-pad to help ensure you and your stylist are on the same page.