Balayage and Ombre in Sydney

Is Ombre the same as Balayage?

Hair colouring and styling has gained in notereity over recent years. With the changes in technique, some of them subtle, hair has developed its own set of buzzwords to describe the finer details and techniques that we like to use. 

A common one that we’re asked to identify and distinguish between is balayage and ombre. As colourists refine their techniques they use rebranding to identify their innovative work. Instead of getting an ombre treatment you might be receiving a balayage treatment. So what precisely are the similarities and what are the differences between balayage and ombre? 


Well for starters, both of them are massively popular trends and both of them are a less structured approach to colouring compared to a more defined approach like foils. Ombre and balayage can work for blondes, brunettes, auburns and bright colours. If it’s a fade or a blend you are looking to achieve the balayage and ombre can provide the ideal blend or fade effect for your hair.


It will come as no surprise to learn that balayage is a french technique that became popular in Europe in the 1970s. It has become immensely popular over the last 10 years because it requires less maintenance and it is far more adaptable to all hair colours and lengths.  

Balayage means to sweep. Balayage is very much a generic term because stylists are free to use the ‘sweeping’ technique that suits them the best. Most commonly t’s a freehand technique that paints in and blends highlights compared to foils which colour the hair from route to end. Colourists may, in the course of their development as balayage colourists, use different free hand techniques, heat tablets, free lights and even foils. 

The purpose of the balayage technique is the blended sweeping effect which softens as it progresses to the roots. It is the foundation for other techniques like ombre and bronde.


It will come as no surprise to learn that ombre is also a french technique and term that means to blend.

To achieve an ombre effect, colourists first use the balayage process of sweeping but rather than creating a multi-dimensional highlight to a portion of your hair, all of the ends are lightened so that your base shade blends into a solid, highlight at your hair’s ends.

Depending on the contrast between your base and highlight shades, the effect is either dramatic or subtle. Much also depends on you and how adventurous you want to be. To add another term to the colourists vocabulary, ‘sombre’ is used to describe a subtle, shadowing effect.

Elle J Hair are highly skilled at both techniques. Subtle, dramatic, summer centric or business friendly. Call and say hi and we’ll schedule you for a great chat about what will work best for you based on your hair colour, lifestyle and personality. Summer is just around the corner, so it’s a great time to think about an exciting new hair colour. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.