What Is Ombre Hair
Ombre is the French word meaning “to shadow” or “to shade.” Ombre is a hair painting technique where the colorist keeps the hair darker from the roots to midshaft and then lighter from the midshaft to the ends. Ombre was probably the trend you heard about first and can be considered the O.G. hand-painting technique. It’s the perfect way for brunettes to transition into blonde or for bold women to rock a vibrant hair color without it saturating your roots and possibly overpowering your skin complexion. Ombre does not include foils and is a great low-maintenance look.
What the process looks like: The process includes painting on the color from dark roots to saturated, light ends. If hair is already colored or highlighted, the hair stylist may paint on roots at the base that match your natural hair color. It’s a good idea to bring a photo of your ideal “tip” color so your hair stylist can gradually work the color from mid-shaft to the ends.
The best way to differentiate it from balayage? It’s a solid, gradual look.
Perfect for: Those wanting super saturated blonde hair but without the high maintenance. It’s also very popular among those with crazier colored hair (such as green, purple or silver) to rock that trend in a softer way by allowing the roots to remain a natural color.
Balayage vs Ombre
It is easy to confuse ombre and balayage because they are two low-key looks going from dark to light. You may even be thinking: Is ombre and balayage the same thing? There are subtle but important differences when comparing them side by side. Ombre was the first technique to take over the A-lister looks and it lead the way for other painting techniques like balayage to have a place at the table. Ombre moved us away from foils and into a more creative and modern direction.
However, balayage quickly took over in popularity and left ombre in the dust due to it’s more natural lived-in and sun-kissed look. Because the hair stylist can choose where to hand-paint the color, the balayage technique can frame the face in a more customized way as the colorist places highlights where the sun would naturally hit.