Hair Color Trends – Balayage, Ombre, and Highlights

If you’ve been following the buzzy summer hair color trends, then chances are you’ve heard of balayage, ombre, and highlights. But what do these terms really mean? With French origins, balayage means “to sweep.” It’s a hand-painted technique that can give your hair a sun-kissed look.

What is balayage?

Balayage (pronounced bah-lee-ahg) is a freehand hair coloring technique that gives your hair gorgeous sun-kissed dimension with low maintenance color. It’s a trend that grew in popularity around 2014 and has remained a popular choice since then.
Unlike ombre, where you gradually transition from dark to light hair, balayage highlights are painted on your strands to create a natural, blended look. It’s a great option for guests who don’t want a drastic change or who are worried about a too-intense effect on their hair. Plus, it can be customisable to a client’s haircut, facial features and skin tone.

What is ombre?

Ombre is a hair color technique that allows you to add a dramatic gradation of colors. The technique can be used on all types of hair, whether it is long or short. It is a low-maintenance color that doesn’t require frequent touch-ups like highlights do, says
Toves-Vincilione. Also, because ombre is a gradual color transition, it won’t cause any major damage to the scalp or hair. Another great thing about ombre is that it can make your hair look thicker, according to Bryant. It is also a popular choice for women who want to fix damaged or uneven ends without having to cut their hair.

What is highlights?

Highlights are strands of hair that have been lightened in various shades. They give the hair dimension and a natural-looking blend of colors.

The color used to paint the highlights can be a bleach or a hair dye. It should be one to two shades lighter than the base color, and it must belong to the same tonal family. Highlights can be hand-painted (also known as balayage) or foil wrapped, depending on what you’re looking for. Foil highlights are more intense, but they can also be gentler for those with a sensitive scalp or who have fragile hair.

What is lowlights?

Lowlights are streaks of color that are strategically placed to give a hair color more depth and dimension. They are a popular coloring technique that works well on all hair types, and they can be subtle or dramatic. They are often used as a way to add contrast after highlighting has gone too far or to correct hair that has brassy tones. Unlike highlights, which use bleach to lift and lighten the base color, lowlights are typically achieved with a demi-permanent or toner instead of a pre-lightener. They can be a great choice for blonde hair that’s too yellow or white, as they add a natural-looking tone. They also look gorgeous on red, auburn and dark brown hair shades.

What is a balayage touch-up?

A balayage touch-up is the perfect service for clients with grown-out highlights. It keeps your client’s sun-kissed hair looking fresh and vibrant between move-ups without having to dye the entire head! Balayage is a lightening technique that involves hand-painted, freehand highlights. It creates a soft, natural-looking look that blends seamlessly into the base color and results in a less obvious grow-out period when compared to traditional foil highlights. Maintaining a balayage can be tricky, however. Stylists must assess each case with care to ensure that their approach is tailored to each client’s needs and goals.