The Difference Between Ombré, Sombre, Balayage and More

To be completely honest, I never even heard of ombré hair until recently. However, now there are all these new terms floating around for similarly highlighted styles. For instance, sombre, flamboyage and the second most common term, balayage. But what do all these words mean, and what is the difference between ombré and sombre and all these other words? Or is there even a real difference?

Ever wonder what the difference between ombré, sombre and balayage was?  Learn all about the different types of highlights.

Let’s start with Ombré…

1. Ombré Hair

Ever wonder what the difference between ombré, sombre and balayage was?  Learn all about the different types of highlights.

The term ombré literally refers to the graduation of one color to another. It typically consists of a dark color at the roots that fades into a much lighter color with no transition line. The hair tends to all fade around the same area, creating a soft line, but still, needs to be pretty blended to be called “ombré.”

2. Dip-Dye

Ever wonder what the difference between ombré, sombre and balayage was?  Learn all about the different types of highlights.

Dip-dyed hair is pretty similar except there is a hard transition line between the two colors. It literally looks like you dipped your hair in a bucket of color. Get it?

3. The Difference Between Ombré and Sombre

Ever wonder what the difference between ombré, sombre and balayage was?  Learn all about the different types of highlights.

Sombre is the exact same thing as ombré hair color, except there is little contrast between the colors. The term “sombre” comes from the words “soft ombré” put together.

4. Balayage

Ever wonder what the difference between ombré, sombre and balayage was?  Learn all about the different types of highlights.

Balayage is similar to ombré. However, the difference between ombré and balayage is that balayage looks more natural and blended. This effect is created by freehand painting the color onto the hair. Surely you have seen one or two Instagram videos of a stylist doing balayage hair by now.

(This technique is called “Fluid Hair Painting.”)

The result is a much more natural look, while still adding contrast to the hair.

5. Flamboyage

Ever wonder what the difference between ombré, sombre and balayage was?  Learn all about the different types of highlights.

Flamboyage is similar to traditional foiled highlights, except using an adhesive strip to separate out the hair you want to paint from the hair you don’t. It has been described as using a huge piece of tape to separate sections of the hair. The term “flamboyage” actually refers to the technique more than the type of hair color style. Like fluid hair painting, you can create balayage with this technique.

Here is a cool video to show you how it’s done…

Flamboyage hair color demonstration at Festoon Salon

 6. Traditional Foiled Highlights

Ever wonder what the difference between ombré, sombre and balayage was?  Learn all about the different types of highlights.

I just threw this in, since some of you might not know what this is, but this form of highlights has been popular for many many years. Literally, foils are used to separate the parts of the hair you want to color from the rest.

Here is an example of how this is done…

How to do Thick, Chunky Highlights with Foils

Your Turn: What do you think of all these different techniques/looks? Have you tried any of them? Can you tell the difference between ombré and these other forms of highlighting? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below…

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