Different Hair Colour Techniques:

Whats the difference?

Trends come and go, but it looks like gradient hair is here to stay. Over the past few seasons, we’ve transitioned from foil highlights and solid all-over colour to softer and more natural looking dye jobs.

These days, the look is sun-kissed, grown out and slightly unkempt. The slow-fade styles add depth, dimension and you don’t have to be visiting the salon every few weeks for a touch-up – and that’s perfect for salon slackers like us.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Rihanna arrives at the The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage) Photo: Steve Granitz

Yet despite the styles’ popularity, we’re still tripping over the labels. Ombré? Sombré? Balayage? Babylights? What’s the difference? Get familiar with these low-maintenance styles before your date with your colourist.

Then: Foils Now: Balayage

They’re both highlighting techniques, but create subtly different results. With traditional foils, the highlights are uniform and defined. Balayage, taken from the French word meaning “to sweep”, is a freehand technique in which swatches of hair are sectioned and 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, beachy finish.

Unlike ombré, which worked best for brunettes in the past, sombré works for everyone. Olivia Wilde presents a fine example of balayage, while Poppy Delevingne wore them at her wedding recently. You can balayage a short pixie crop, but for best results, work it on thick, heavy hair that sits below the shoulders. Balayage is a great option if you like the look of chunkier highlights with more contrast and less blonde.

Then: Ombré Now: Sombré

The demand for dark roots and lighter ends started a few years back, worn by everyone from Alexa Chung and Rachel Bilson to Drew Barrymore and Dree Hemingway. Ombré can feature quite a stark dark-to-light fade – making sombré (“subtle ombré”) a much more nuanced take on the dip-dye trend.

With sombré, championed by celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Cara Delevingne and Jessica Alba, the lighter sections start up a bit higher and the lower lengths have ribbons of dark colour for a more gradual transition. Just like its predecessor, the worn-in look is perfectly low-maintenance. There’s no need for constant touch-ups due to there being no clear demarcation line or regrowth – making it an economical option, too. Have a read of these expert tips before booking your salon appointment.

Then: Highlights Now: Babylights

We’ve gone into highlights by way of foils and balayage, but did you know there are different degrees of highlighting? As opposed to splashlights – which see sharp flashes of laser-like blonde on dark tresses – babylights are much finer.

The hair is separated into itsy-bitsy sections and colour is applied to each group of strands and left for more than an hour. Yes, it’s costly and time-consuming, but you’re left with a more multidimensional, radiant, natural-looking dye job. Basically, it’s recreating the hair colour you had when you were a precious young one. Unfortunately, the technique only really works on blondes – Suki Waterhouse, Dominika Grnova and Karlie Kloss, for example, have it nailed.

http://www.dailylife.com.au/photogallery/dl-beauty/hair/celebrities-who-have-perfected-the-look-20141017-3i96x.html

ba·lay·age

ˌbalāˈyäZH/

noun

  1. a technique for highlighting the hair in which the dye is painted on in such a way as to create a graduated, natural-looking effect.

"she specializes in balayage, color corrections, restyles, and extensions"

om·bré

ˈämbrā/

adjective

  1. having tones of color that shade into each other, graduating from light to dark.

"a blue and white ombré silk shift"

high·light

ˈhīˌlīt/

noun

plural noun: highlights

Hair with blonde highlights. Hair highlighting/lowlighting is changing a person's haircolor, using lightener or haircolor to color hair strands. There are four basic types of highlights: foil highlights, hair painting, frosting, and chunking.

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