Balayage VS Ombre

Posted 3 months ago by Tharaa Nagendran in

Sometimes looking at ourselves in the mirror with the same hairstyle, hair color and the lifestyles might be a bit boring one. You might seriously be looking to get a change in your regular lifestyle. And sometimes adding up a little splash of colors to your life would be the best way to get a complete change over from your routine life. So when it comes to adding the colors, why not to try it on our hair? When getting a new haircut can bring you happiness with the new look, then adding color to it will add a lot of fun to your life. Gone are the days where we once played with the colors in our drawing books. So, now its time to rock the floor by playing with the colors on your hair. Colors add a new phase to your overall appearance, lifestyles and even the mindset too. Finally, when you decide to go for the hair coloring techniques you will have plenty of choices from the salon industry. To a person who is completely new to the colors, it might be a great difficult task to choose one among those choices. Despite the wide range of choice, the balayage and the ombre hair coloring techniques are known to top the priority list by almost all of the women who go for a hair color transition. The unique features that each of them offers to us stand to be the primary reason for its popularity. But then, will you be able to pick one among these two now? Even this becomes a difficult task without knowing much about these techniques. So, here you go to the major differences that are present in each of these two hair coloring techniques that could help you with the right decision. The comparison of both the hair coloring techniques along with a few trendy hairstyles in each will be given to make your task even more simple and easy.  

Balayage VS Ombre

Balyage Vs Ombre

In recent days, the balayage and the ombre hair coloring techniques have reached greater fame when compared with all the other hair coloring techniques. Also, the popularity that each of these hair coloring techniques has got is really amusing us in many ways. I could see many women preferring the balayage and the ombre techniques who visit the salon for the hair coloring service. So, I guess obviously when anyone wishes to have a change in their hair color[1], they would obviously prefer either of these choices. But then, how are you going to decide to go for which hair coloring technique in between these two? You might have a lot of confusions regarding both of these hair coloring techniques. Some of you might even have your own needs and preferences and would be looking for the hair coloring treatment that satisfies them. 

Firstly, is the balayage and the ombre technique the same? Or will it differ only in the cost or even in the features? Will these techniques damage my natural hair? After getting to know the choices, you will have a cluster of question like this left on your mind which could even confuse you more. So, to all your doubts and confusions we are here to help you in taking up the right decision for your hair in offering a proper color transition. This article will give you all the major differences between the balayage and the ombre technique in all the possible ways including the cost, unique feature, maintenance and many more. You can refer this before you decide the hair coloring treatment that you are going to opt for your hair. 

What is Balayage?

Balayage is a popular hair coloring[2] technique which is now being widely preferred by many of the women in different parts of the world. Also, this is a freehand technique in which the color will be painted on your hair such that it offers the natural appearance on your hair. These colors will make your hair obtain the sun-kissed feel and the natural-looking effect. So, you will not feel that artificial feel which you get while coloring your hair with the highlights. The color given on your hair will be looking extremely soft as it gets blended well for the natural look. 

Balayage Term

The word balayage has its origin from a French term which means "to sweep". This meaning of the French term gets entirely related to the process that is being involved in the balayage. You can observe the exact meaning being depicted with the balayage technique when you see the process at the salon. In the balayage, a color will be chosen and applied to your hair. During the application process, you will sweep those colors through the tiny triangle sections of your hair onto a foil or a board. So, this will offer the natural transition of the color into a lighter one. 

Major Difference

The major difference for the balayage from the other hair coloring techniques lies within its ends. In the balayage even though the ends will be colored, it is not that all the ends will be entirely covered.  In this hair coloring[3] technique, you may notice some of the dark pieces of your hair left at the bottom portion of your hair. These dark pieces at the bottom are left in order to achieve the natural look on your hair. Also, these dark pieces will help in adding dimensions to the artificial color that has been added on your hair. The transition between the original color of your hair to the added artificial color will be looking more natural with the sun-kissed appearance. So, you can notice the visible and natural looking differences with the different lighter and darker shades on your hair. 


The maintenance for your hair after doing the balayage will be very less compared with the other coloring techniques. In this coloring technique, your entire hair will not be covered and painted with artificial colors. So, you will not require much maintenance like the other coloring techniques. Also, the color that has been chosen will be more similar to the original color of your hair. So, when the color is more similar to your original hair color, you will really find it very easy to maintain in terms of color and the health of your hair. Also, this involves only coloring from the middle bottom portion of your hair. So, by following certain simple and basic steps you can absolutely take care and maintain your balayage hair perfectly without causing any damages to it. 


When compared with all the other hair coloring[4] techniques, the balayage technique seems to be the costliest coloring techniques. The high price might be due to various reasons and the primary reason is the sun-kissed natural effect it offers on your hair. Also, this hair coloring technique has certain unique features which make it worth spending your hard earned money. This will cost around $200 on an average for coloring your hair. And this cost will differ based on the colors you choose, the number of colors you choose and also the length of your hair. So, the basic cost will start at $200 and will vary depending on those factors. 


The time required for doing balayage on your hair will be lesser when compared with the other coloring techniques. This hair coloring technique is one of the fastest among all the other techniques. The duration of time required for doing balayage will be between 45 minutes to one hour. But then, this time will vary based on the colors you opted for and the hair length. Also, it depends on the start from where you wanted the color to begin on your hair. So on average, it would take a maximum of one hour to finish doing the balayage on your hair. 

Salon Visit

As mentioned before, this balayage coloring technique will only require very less maintenance after having them on your hair. Also, the salon visit will entirely depend on the color that you have chosen to have it on your hair. The intensity of the balayage on your hair will play a vital role and also becomes the deciding factor for the salon visit. Since the shades for balayage will be more similar to your original hair, maintaining the color might not be a difficult task like the highlights and the other coloring techniques. But then, visiting the salon for every 8 to 12 weeks is very necessary to maintain the color, effect of balayage and also the health of your hair. You don't have to run to the salons and spend a lot of money every time you need to get a touch up on the hair color[5]

The health of Your Hair

When it comes to opting for the hair coloring techniques, the first question that arises will be regarding the health of your hair. You will obviously have a doubt whether it will harm your hair. So, when it comes to balayage the ill effects on your hair will literally be very low when compared with the other hair coloring techniques. The balayage technique will not involve coloring your entire hair. Also, it does not involve coloring your hair from the roots like the highlights. So, it does not cause any alterations in the roots of your hair. Also, this will involve a minimal process on your hair which seems to be the healthy factor of this technique. Also, it will cause very less dryness and damage to your hair when compared with the other hair coloring techniques. Also, they make your hair look more smooth and silky which is an advantageous feature of this technique. You can absolutely enjoy healthy hair after having the balayage on your hair. 


The balayage coloring technique does not do any changes or involve any process in your scalp regions. So, any method which does not involve your scalp region while doing the coloring process is a healthy one. And the other main advantage is that it does not involve any traces of ammonia in its process. Any hair coloring[6] technique which is ammonia-free is known to e the healthiest and the safest technique. Also, this involves altering or coloring only the middle bottom portion of your hair. The origin of the colors on your hair will also depend on your choice. So, you can suggest the place where you want the color to begin to the stylist as per your choice and needs. And it involves neither your scalp nor the root portion and involves only the hair portion. So, this is perfectly fine and a safe coloring technique other than all the other hair coloring techniques. Also, this seems to be safe even for those women who are pregnant and those ladies who have allergies for adding the artificial colors. 


The balayage technique is known to be one of the most versatile hair coloring techniques when compared with all the other techniques. The entire process can be chosen or changed based on your needs and choices. The changes in the color shades or the intensity of the color or the length of your hair to be covered with the color can be chosen based on your choices and needs. The softness and the strength of the color can be varied easily as per your needs and choices. Personalization is a unique feature that is hidden with balayage hair coloring techniques. You can also combine the balayage with the other hair coloring[7] techniques such as highlights, ombre and many more. 

Balayage Looks

Who will ever not love having the perfect natural looking hair even after getting the hair color done on your hair? If you are one of those women who doesn't love having visible changes in the color of your hair, then you can go with the balayage hair coloring techniques. The final sun-kissed appearance that you will obtain finally on your hair is worth spending your money and time in getting the balayage done on your hair. Those sexy color locks on your hair will literally look stunning after having them on your hair. Also, you can have any hairstyles along with the balayage as it would offer a new life to each one of them on your hair. 

What is Ombre?

Ombre is another popular hair coloring technique like the balayage which involves two colors in the process. This ombre technique is often known to be that one dramatic way to change the color of your hair by offering an excellent color transition from your original hair color. It is often termed as the two-toned hair coloring[8] effect due to the color difference in the roots and the ends. This will involve seamless graduation of color from a lighter tone to a darker one. The color of your ends will totally be changed by using this technique. So, the original hair coloring effect will start from the middle portion of your hair where you can obtain the perfect sun-kissed effect on your hair. No matter whether you choose a light color or a dark color, you will get that perfectly radiating effect on your hair at the end of this hair coloring treatment.  

Ombre Term

The term ombre is derived from a French word which means "shadow" or "shade". The meaning shade or shadow refers t the color that will be shaded on your hair during the hair coloring treatment. As the balayage hair coloring technique, ombre also involves the transitions of hair color[9]. In this, the appearance of your hair after taking up the ombre hair coloring treatment will be somewhat sharper. Also since bold colors are used, you will not be acquiring the natural looking effect like how you obtain in the balayage technique. 

Major Difference

In the ombre technique, you will be having two different colors on your hair which differs totally in the shade. One will be the darker color and the other one will be the lighter version of the dark color. The dark color will be at the top portion of your roots which will have the original shade or the natural hair color. Then the lighter color which is chosen by keeping your natural hair color[10] as the base color will be given to the ends or the bottom portion of your hair. So, your entire down portion of your hair will be bleached starting from the middle shaft till reaching the ends. Then the lighter version of the darker shade will be given to that bleached portion of your hair to get the perfect color transition effect on your hair. So, thus the difference with the darker and the lighter shade will be more visible on your hair when you opt for the ombre technique. This is the major difference which differentiates this from the other hair coloring techniques. 


One of the main reasons for the ombre technique to reach such popularity is its easy maintenance. Since the down portion of your hair will be offered with a very light shade, it will be very easy for you to maintain your hair. So, you can follow all those basic and simple steps required for colored hair to maintain the ombre shade on your hair. Also when the hair starts growing, the ombre shade on the middle portion of your hair will start to differ. So you will be obtaining a completely different shade on your hair as your hair starts growing. This will be one of those unique features which the ombre technique would offer you. Also, as your hair starts growing you will obviously experience a lot of fun with the change in the color of your hair. It is also observed that many of the women love this color changing fun which happens on their hair when it starts growing. 


The cost of ombre will be very less when compared with the balayage techniques. The initial cost for doing the ombre on your hair will start from about $80 and might cost till $200. This cost will entirely depend on the choices of your colors. If you opt for a dual shade then the cost will vary depending upon that. Anyone can try ombre easily at your homes which would cost even less when compared with this. But then, to get the absolute finish on your hair you have to go for the salon to get the service done by a salon professional. 


The time entirely depends on the natural color of your hair. This is because when you have a darker shade of natural hair, then you will obviously require the bleaching process to be done on the bottom portion of your hair. If you have an extremely lighter shade in your natural hair, then you will not be requiring for the bleaching process to be done on your hair. So, after the bleaching process, you have to leave some time to get them dry. Then you can wash your hair and then wait for a few minutes to get your hair completely dry.   After this, you will be continuing with the application of hair color[11] on your hair. So on an average, this will require at least about 4.5 to 5 hours for finishing the hair coloring process completely on your hair. This duration will differ with respect to the length and color of your hair. 

Salon Visit

The salon visit will completely depend on the place where you have placed the lighter ombre color on your hair. So, if you have places it starting from the upper down portion of your hair, then it will obviously require for retouch for every 4 to 6 weeks. If you have placed the ombre color on the bottom portion of the hair, then you will be requiring to retouch the shade for every 6 to 8 weeks. But then, this will depend on the intensity of the color that you have chosen and the fastness in your hair growth. So, based upon this your salon visit will differ. Also, the maintenance of your hair also plays a vital role in determining the salon visit. 

The Health Of Your Hair

In the ombre technique, the key feature is to obtain the ultra light color on the bottom portion of your hair. So, for obtaining that light color your hair will be subjected to the bleaching technique. This bleaching technique will involve ripping the natural color of your hair in that portion completely from your hair. Since the natural color is removed, this will surely involve a change in the structure of your hair. The shaft portion and the cuticle region in your hair will literally be affected due to the bleaching process. So, when this gets affected there are many chances to damage the health of your hair which might even lead to hair loss, hair breakage and less nutrition in your hair. Also, the usage of bleach on your hair will entirely depend on the natural color of your hair. If you have a darker shade of natural hair, then there will be a need for using more bleach on your hair to remove the natural color. If you have a lighter shade, then you might be required to use a little less bleach on your hair. So, the usage of more bleach on your hair will literally increase the ill effects and the damages caused to your hair. 


Almost all of the hair coloring[12] or the other hair treatments involve the usage of at least a small amount of ammonia in their process. When you use ammonia on your hair, it literally can cause many of the damages to your general health and also could damage your hair and scalp. But then, the most significant advantage of the ombre technique is that it does not involve the usage of any traces of ammonia during the process. So, this can be termed as a completely safe process to be tried on your hair. Also, they do not involve making any changes in your roots or in the scalp region. so, this will definitely not cause any damage to the normal health and growth of your hair. So, you can very well try the ombre technique on your hair without any fear in terms of the safety issues. 


The ombre hair coloring[13] technique is completely customizable and also the personalization is possible. You can choose the colors based on your needs and preferences. The intensity of the lighter shade that will be given to the down portion of your hair can be chosen by yourselves. Also, you can either go with trying the lighter shades of your base color. Or you can even try with the colors that are totally different from the base color like the blue, green, pink, orange and many more shades. The transition of the color on your hair can be completely based on your preferences. You can also prefer to have some boldly visible color transitions or very soft and subtle color transitions on your hair. So, this ombre hair coloring technique is a completely versatile one and you can change it as per your choices whenever you want. Also, you can even prefer for trying out another different color after having an ombre shade already in your hair. Shifting the ombre colors on your hair is also possible and you can absolutely get a new trendy effect on your hair. 

Ombre Looks

Are you that freaky kinda person who loves experimenting new hair coloring techniques? Then ombre is absolutely for you to play with the different colors on your hair. In this, you can choose any shades no matter whether it's an extremely bold one or a soft one or a medium one. I am pretty sure that you will obviously love the amazing effect it creates on your hair after having them. This will really make you be more fashionable and trendy. The gradual blending of a darker color and the lighter shade on your hair will literally be an eye candy moment for everyone who sees you. Having a natural dark hue on your roots which slowly melts down into an extremely softer and lighter shade is a great way for you to rock the floor with the extremely modish looks. You will absolutely get the perfect radiant and the sun-kissed finish on your hair which would literally make your hair gleam so brightly. 

Popular Hairstyles

When it comes to the hair coloring techniques, we have a wide variety of choices in terms of hairstyles and colors that we opt to have on our hair. It is an extremely difficult task to choose an appropriate color that would best suit our natural hair color[14]. So in each of the hair coloring techniques, we have a list of a few top and trendy hairstyles that are popularly preferred by many of the women who visit the salon for such coloring services. So, here we have a list of a few of the top and trendy balayage and ombre hairstyles that you can opt to have it on your hair when you prefer for taking up the hair coloring[15] treatments. 

Balayage Hairstyles

Ombre Hairstyles

This article has been medically reviewed by Dr.Nagakeerthana S, MD (Dermatology) on 21/06/2019 

Login to comment

Similar posts