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Hair colouring has come a long way from simple highlights and lowlights.  The traditional techniques will always have their place, but in recent years there has been a rise in popularity for hair colour that looks more natural and has a gradual transition with no visible or harsh lines. It is achieved using the technique of balayage which translated from French means to sweep.  The hair is painted in sweeping motions free hand by the colourist.  Balayage uses a variety of light and dark tones to create multiple dimensions of colour, leaving the hair with a blended, natural looking, sun-kissed effect.  Think of celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Olivia Palermo and Chrissy Teigen and you can see how balayage creates a beautiful glossy, multi-faceted kaleidoscope of colour with depth on both straight and wavy hair.  The unique thing about balayage is that it is always bespoke to the client. A skilled hair colourist will look at the hair type, hairstyle, face shape and use the colour effectively to frame the face and paint the hair to enhance the facial features. The result is uber flattering and also gives the complexion a lift. So is Ombre the same as balayage? No, read on to find out the difference…



Ombre means shadow in French.  This type of hair colouring creates a transition from dark to light tones.  Usually, this means that hair is darker at the root, and as it transitions towards mid length it becomes lighter and then is brightest at the ends. It can be a more dramatic look especially if the hair is dark at the roots and using blonde tones for the tips. It is vital to use a colourist that is experienced and skilled as if the stylist is inexperienced the effect can be very disjointed and look harsh and blocky.

So which do you choose?  

Take a look at inspiration from online sources.  Pinterest and Instagram have a plethora of images to help you research your perfect colour.  Take these along to show your stylist. A picture speaks a thousand words! Have a thorough consultation where you feel comfortable that your stylist understands what it is you want and if it is achievable.  Our Instagram page @msnhair has real client images of hair that has created by the Creative Colour Director.

Is it easy to maintain?

The fantastic thing about balayage is that it does not grow out with any harsh lines.  So there is no constant root touch up (unless you are going grey – we will discuss this in a future blog post).  Good news for all the low maintenance ladies out there. Also, with ombre, if the roots are close to the natural hair colour, it will last longer as the dramatic tone is through the ends of the hair. Both styles of hair colour can be achieved using ammonia free products and are less damaging than foils.   For longer lasting colour always use products specifically designed for coloured hair and ensure hair is protected when using styling tools or exposed to the sun or chlorine.

So what’s next?  Balayage’s popularity shows no sign of waning.  Multiple offshoots use the balayage technique which caters for the more trend-conscious client.  Always keep in mind that a good stylist will adapt the trend to suit you and not the other way around.