There is a time and place for foil highlights and solid all-over color however there are many more current hair trends in hair color. The gradual faded colors add depth, dimension and mean much more time in between salon visits. Below are the descriptions of Ombre, Sombre, Balayage and Babylights. (click on the Color tab to see photos)
Balayage: Taken from the French word meaning “to sweep”, is a freehand technique which is hand painted against a backing board with a lightening agent. After painting, each swatch is covered in cellophane. As balayage highlights are less systematically placed, you end up with fatter, less symmetrical, more random highlights, resulting in a more casual, sun-kissed finish. This is a great option if you like the look of chunkier highlights with more contrast and less blonde.
Ombre: Another freehand technique, ombre simply means shaded or graduated in tone. While ombre was initially the gradual lightening of the hair from dark to light, it has expanded to take on various other techniques, including the fading of a natural color from the roots to a more unnatural color (such as turquoise or lavender) at the tips.
Sombre: The name is actually a combination of ‘subtle’ and ‘ombre’. With sombre, the lighter sections start up a bit higher and the lower lengths have ribbons of dark color for a more gradual transition. This is perfectly low-maintenance. There’s no need for constant touch-ups due to there being no clear line of root-growth.
Babylights are much finer highlights, and basically mimic the natural highlights of a child (hence the name). Hair is separated into tiny sections and color is applied to each group of strands and left for an hour or longer. The process is time-consuming, but you’re left with a more multidimensional, radiant, natural-looking head of highlights.
Whether you decide on ombre, sombre, bayalage or babylights, please use good quality salon products to protect your color investment.