Wait, What’s the Difference Between Balayage and Ombré Hair?

Flash forward to today, and the industry’s obsession with all-things ombré has been replaced with a preference for “balayage” hair. Riawna Capri, celebrity hairstylist and co-owner of L.A. salon, Nine Zero One explains the difference.

Balayage is a technique.

“First thing’s first: Balayage is a technique and ombré is a gradient of color,” says Capri, whose client roster includes Selena Gomez, Ruby Rose, and Nina Dobrev. “There’s actually no such thing as a balayage hair color. Balayage is how you achieve ombré.”

And it gets even simpler than that: The French word balayage translates to “sweeping,” which is the gist of the technique. “When you’re using a balayage technique, you’re literally painting bleach or lightener onto the hair in a sweeping motion,” Capri says.

Balayage doesn’t require foil.

The technique sounds pretty similar to highlights, but there’s actually a key difference between the two: “Highlights start at the root and get painted down to the tips, whereas balayage begins at the tips and feathers up the top,” says Capri. “And while balayage is usually painted directly onto the hair, highlights are wrapped in foil. The foil, especially if you’re sitting under heat, is going to really lighten the hair for a brighter effect.”

But when you skip foil—as most stylists do with balayage—oxygen eventually oxidizes the bleach, resulting in dried out, not-so-bright color. “It’s a lot quicker and faster to lighten hair without foils, so I feel like hairstylists got excited about balayage. But since you can’t achieve that same lightness without foils, people started using stronger bleach.” This is where Capri’s preferred method of balayage comes into play. “I like to call it foilyage, meaning I put my balayage pieces in foil so I can get them super light.”

Ombré upkeep is ideal.

One of the coolest takeaways from my crash-course on ombré and balayage wasn’t just Capri’s explicit definitions of the terms, but the revelation that ombré maintenance is extremely low. “Since the technique doesn’t start from your scalp, you already have roots,” she says. “Nine times out of ten, when it’s done right, someone can come into the salon literally a year later and not actually need more color.”

“My favorite inspirations are little kids and surfers’ hair,” Capri adds. “Their ends are so light and the root is so dark, yet it still looks natural, not streaky, and it all blends really well.”

Originally created from here.