To sweep or not to sweep?

  • July 25, 2018
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TO sweep or not sweep?

Balayage, Ombre, Highlights?

What is the damn difference between these 3 techniques you ask?

WELL, first off I would like to point out that balayage and ombre are very similar.  Except for one or two features,some will go so far as to say they are the same thing, while others will say there’s no real difference. Here is my 2 cents on the matter!


Liiterally means sweeping. If you don’t believe me, here is a dictionary link:

So now that we know sweeping is involved, I’d like to think of balayage as a lighter sweep. It’s like painting the basic outlines of what I want the final painting to look like, while tailoring my work to the specific canvas (person). Balayage can be very subtle and natural, or it can be more extreme and noticeable, but the important trademark is that there are still natural pieces of colour left! And the hair is usually also lighter around the face and front.


Ombre, the close relative to balayage and highlights doesn’t have a French translation, and in my opinion she’s the less attractive relative. If we talk in sweeping terms, you are still using sweeping motions, BUT they are much heavier and more thorough and you aren’t leaving any natural “ends”. Some would say that ombre is a full length of hair that goes from dark to light. In my opinion a good ombre is a perfect graduation of colour, starting from dark going into lighter and lighter shades! SO basically Ombre takes more work for upkeep, while balayage is the less maintenance cool babe.

And last but not least,


These bad boys are a whole other ball game! Again so so many different ways to do highlights and no one will ever do them exactly the same, so don’t lay blame on your new hairdresser by saying your highlights aren’t the same as they were before when your last hairdresser did them! Eeek, everyone is different!!

The main upkeep involved with highlights is lightening up regrowth in either the most natural way (finer foils, baby lights), or going towards more coverage where the foils get thicker and thicker, leaving less space in-between each section to try and get as much hair as possible. So if there’s a lot of hair this can be a LONG TASK. Going in with an ombre technique closer to the root might be easier. I like to combine both so you get more colour in different areas of the hair.


We may as well throw in one more term that is due an explanation…


Same technique as highlights, without foils. Lighter strands of hair are reversed and coloured darker, to add dimension to the hair or actually darken the look in a more natural, subtle way. This can be done solely by painting on in-between foils! Lowlights are slightly more time consuming but definitely worth it – especially to add dimension to the hair and really make the highlights stand out.

Just to make things more confusing, there are different versions of these techniques… you have “Blorange”, “Grombre”, “Bronde” (erhhh I still hate this word combo), but fear not, they are not that different! These offshoots are still related to the other guys, but they are all like distant cousins that have a slightly different look.

So there you go! There’s a lot being said out there about these different techniques. I hope this short guide helped clear up any confusion!

Happy sweeping!


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