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If ombres are the skinny jeans of the hair world, balayages are the flares of the future. Just when you thought nothing could be trendier than the ombre, the balayage takes salons — and Hollywood — by storm. So what exactly is the difference? And is a balayage a good look for everyone or only certain hair colors?

Ombres, Balayages, Oh my

“Ombre” means shadow in French and describes a style of coloring. An ombre transitions from a darker shade at the roots to a lighter shade at the ends. It is a little high-may, requiring a professional to do it and quite a bit of upkeep. The ombre hairstyle doesn’t leave any dark at the ends, creating a bold look.

By contrast, the balayage is a subtler, more natural-looking technique. “Balayage” is a French word that means “to sweep.” The balayage technique requires the stylist to sweep the color through small, triangular pieces of the hair. This method is what gives it a more natural transition from dark to light.

A Balayage with Benefits

The balayage is sort of like a friend with benefits in that it offers all the perks of the ombre, but without all the effort and commitment. Because the balayage’s transition from dark to light is more subtle than the ombre’s, it is less time-intensive both to do and to maintain. The balayage leaves some dark pieces at the end of the hair, which is what makes it subtler and fairly low-may compared to the ombre.

Who Can Rock a Balayage?

While we typically only recommend the ombre for brunette ladies, the balayage is more versatile. It works on dark or light hair — case in point, both RiRi and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have rocked the balayage on the red carpet. The exact hues in your balayage can be customized to bring out your features and complement your coloring. That’s why finding an experienced colorist is important to create the balayage that’s most flattering for your skin and hair tones.

Sold on the low-may look that’s all over the A-list and catwalks? Make an appointment with an experienced colorist to get the balayage of your dreams.

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