Hair trends come and go, but season after season, there has been one color look that’s always in demand – balayage. Over the past few years, trendsetters in the beauty world have transitioned from foil highlights and solid all-over color to softer and more natural looking styles. These days, the slow-fade styles add depth and dimension, and this means you have to visit the salon a lot less frequently. But when you do see your colorist, what exactly do you ask for? Ombré hair? Sombré? Balayage? Babylights? Below, we break down the differences between these four low-maintenance styles so you know exactly what you want before you book your next appointment at the salon!
Balayage gives you more random highlights
Unlike the traditional foil method, where the highlights are uniform and defined, the balayage hair color technique – taken from the French word meaning “to sweep” – is a freehand technique. Strips of hair are sectioned and hand painted against a backing board with a lightening agent. After painting, each strip is covered in cellophane. As blonde balayage highlights are less systematically placed, you end up with thicker, less symmetrical and more random highlights, resulting in a more casual, sun-kissed finish. Balayage hair color technique works on both short and long hair, and is a great option if you like the look of chunkier highlights with more contrast.
Ombré: much more defined and less subtle than balayage
For the last few years, ombré has been an extremely popular color trend. Another freehand technique, ombré simply means shaded or graduated in tone. While ombré was initially the gradual lightening of the hair from dark to light, it has expanded to take on various other techniques, including the fading of natural color from the roots to a more unnatural color (such as turquoise or lavender) at the tips. The variety of this trend is witnessed season after season, on celebrities, designer runways and on the streets.
Unlike ombré, sombré is a much more subtle take on the dip dye hair trend. The name is actually a combination of ‘subtle’ and ‘ombré’! With sombré, the lighter sections start up a bit higher and the lower lengths have ribbons of dark color for a more gradual transition compared to blonde balayage. Just like its predecessor, the worn-in look is perfectly low-maintenance. There’s no need for constant touch-ups due to there being no clear line of root-growth.
Babylights: the finest choice for highlights
Babylights are much finer highlights, and basically mimic the natural highlights of a child (hence the name). Hair is separated into tiny sections and color is applied to each section of strands and left for an hour or longer. The process is a bit more time-consuming than balayage at home, but you’re left with a more multidimensional, radiant, natural-looking head of highlights. We recommend Keratin Color products with K·Bond-Plex™, which repairs the hair’s inner structure and coats the surface, resulting in strong and healthy looking hair.
Whether you decide on ombré, sombré, babylights, or balayage for your next hair color, your at-home maintenance routine is the key to keeping your highlights looking gorgeous! There are certain shampoos and conditioners that are designed specifically for highlighted hair. Infused with intense moisturizers, these products will leave you with sleek, soft hair without stripping the color. So, book an appointment with your colorist, stock up on your Schwarzkopf products, and lighten up for summer.