The Difference Between Balayage, Ombre and Dip Dye

Many clients want to know what the difference is between Balayage and Ombre, both these colour styles have gone from strength to strength over the last few years and show no sign of slowing down

I feel the reason these looks have become so popular is that in a sea of perfectly placed regimented foils all looking the same, these fresh freehand techniques speak to a more natural and youthful look and allow the colourist to tailor the placement perfectly for each individual client. It’s not your mums haircolor as I like to say! It allows for extremes from very subtle and natural as if you have been to the beach (my personal favourite) to multiple hued rainbow colours and everything in between


Balayage is a highlighting technique and is a French word that means to sweep or paint, in my opinion that means that the balayage pieces should be very close and soft at the root leading to a thicker highlight at the ends of the hair. Balayage is applied on the surface of the section and not saturated through the section until the very tips otherwise you would have a streak of  colour that isn’t very soft at all. Balayage when done nicely recreates a sun kissed feel to hair colour that grows out very softly and looks very natural. Balayage can also be called a freehand technique because no foil or meche are used to create the highlights.


Ombre on the other hand is a hair colouring technique, where the colour goes from darker at the roots gradually going lighter at the ends it also is a French word meaning ‘to shade’. The great thing about Ombre is that it can be subtle or a really strong look depending on your lifestyle, it’s really easy to maintain. Since Ombre took off, colourists and clients have been playing around and now really having fun with this technique and we can see all sorts of variations for all different taste levels.

Dip Dye

And finally we have Dip Dye this is also a colouring technique, but instead of a gradual fading of colour from dark at the roots to light at the ends, Dip Dye is much more of a sharp contrast and
the Dipped section can be any colour you want from bright pink, my little pony blue or and anything in between.

All freehand techniques can be done on anyone, I believe that clients come to colourists not only for their skill level but also their taste level so the conversation about how subtle or how strong is really in the consultation.

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