Ombre, Sombre, Color Melt and Balayage - Whats the difference?
Balayage is the technique used to achieve a look. The word Balayage is french meaning to
“sweep” Stylists use this technique in a freehand color painting process to give our clients the
look they are trying to achieve. Ombre and Sombre are the look, balayage is the technique.
However the understanding of this has become confusing. There are many photos available on
social media platforms and many of them are labeled as Balayage when if fact they are all some
version of an Ombre. I’ll explain further:
Ombre also french for “shadow” It is the transition of a lighter shade from a darker shade.
Ombre leaves for no highlights at the root so the roots are darker and the color gets lighter at
the ends. The desired goal is a natural, low maintenance hair style with natural tones. The
technique used is Balayage
Sombre is a lighter version of an Ombre, it includes soft highlights that are feathered just off the
root and transitions to lighter ends. The highlights frame the face then gradually het heavier
farther off the root to blend into an Ombre. The technique used is Balayage, however in most
internet photos this is what is often confused as a Balayage look.
Color Melt is made up of 3 or more colors that transition at the crown from dark to light on the
ends. A reverse color melt has lighter color at the crown and transitions darker at the ends.
Colors are overlapped so they create a seamless blend throughout the hair so that you cant tell
where one color begins and ends.
These looks can be confusing when booking your salon appointment. The appropriate amount
of time is necessary to achieve the desired result. In most cases the time necessary for these
appointments is anywhere from 2-4 hours. Your stylist will determine during the consultation
which products to use to achieve the look, but we strongly suggest bringing an inspiration photo
with you to ensure you and your stylist are both understanding the end result of the salon visit.
Here is where it can get complicated… home box hair color can be much harder to lift to lighter
shades. The reason for this is, most clients when applying color at home will apply product from
root to ends multiple times and the amount of color deposit on the mid length to ends takes time
and patience to lighten also those using very dark brown or black may take multiple applications
to achieve a lighter look. Henna users beware, most stylist will shy away from attempting to
use professional product on your hair! Henna comes in two forms, one being derived from
metallic salts along with vegetable dye and the second being all vegetable dye. We have no
way of knowing the difference. Professional color product used on a metallic salt based henna
has been know to cause the hair to melt. Never a good thing. A strand test is always
necessary. Clients using home hair color or henna are always considered corrective color,
pricing for this service can get very high, schedule a consultation first, your stylists will be able
to provide more information and schedule your service with the appropriate amount of time.