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What's the Difference Between Balayage & Ombre Hair Coloring?

Balayage and Ombre Hair Coloring at Inspire Salon Parker


First of all balayage (pronounced bah-lee-AHZGE) is a technique a stylist uses to highlight your hair, and can be used to achieve many different looks. With balayage, also known as hair painting, the lightener or hair color is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect from end to root and is all about creating beautiful blends of multi-dimensional color.

Sometimes a stylist will use cellophanes, foils or mesh strips to separate the sections from bleeding on each other. That part doesn’t matter — it’s still called balayaging. Every stylist has their own unique method to get the job done.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that balayage is old news or so not in style.

It is and always will be. First of all, it’s not just a look. Balayage is a very difficult technique that stylists have to pay thousands of dollars (and hundreds of hours) to master and perfect. And while that might sound like a steep investment to learn something called “hair painting,” those hours and dollars are well spent! Stylists who are good at creating this ultra-versatile effect get to charge the big bucks. Especially because, when done right, balayage results in a very low-maintenance look, unlike your 6-8 week foil touch up.


Ombré is a popular look defined by hair that is dark at the root, and blends into a lighter and lighter shade as it gets to the ends. To achieve this stark dark-to-light dip-dyed look, a stylist will use the balayage or hair painting technique.


The names may change and sound more sophisticated, which is great for ladies looking to feel a little luxe — but don’t be confused!

The best way to explain to your stylist what you want is by showing them an inspiration picture.

The problem with using trendy terms is that everyone may imagine them a little differently. That’s why your best bet is printing out an image that your stylist can use for inspiration anytime they’d like, while working on your hair.

Also if there is something you really love about that picture? Be sure to mention it! The same goes if there is an element of the color that you don’t like — be sure to mention that, too. There more information you give the more everyone can be on the same page.

The awesome thing about all these looks and techniques? They’re low maintenance!

Inspire Salon in Parker, Colorado has the best stylist in the Front Range. Schedule an appointment today!

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