These three (very popular and trendy) services can be easily mistaken and sometimes cause confusion. How do you know which one is the one you are looking for? Leave that up to the professional. Your stylist will be able to suggest which is best for you based on your hair, and your wants and expectations.
Balayage (pronounced bah-lee-AHZGE, French word meaning “to sweep”)
This technique can also be referred to as hair painting. The lightener, or hair color, is painted on in such a way to create a subtle, graduated highlighting effect from root to end. This style of ‘highlighting’ is used to create beautiful blends of multi-dimensional color. The balayage color also is popular due to its natural-looking effect, which can be used to achieve many different looks.
Balayage is here to stay! Reason being, because it can (as stated above) achieve so many different looks, and due to the fact that this service allows you to go longer in between appointments, unlike your 6-8 week foil touchup.
In order to accomplish the seamless transition from root to end, stylists have to be extremely educated in this craft. There is a steep investment in learning how to create the perfect natural highlight, and this is why this service may come with a heavier price tag. BUT keep in mind, like stated above, you can go 3-4 months in between appointments! It is a worthwhile investment.
Ombre (French for “shaded” or “shading”)
This trend color is defined by hair that appears darker at the root, blending into a lighter and lighter shade as it reaches the end. To achieve this (more drastic) look, stylists may still use the balayaging technique. Generally, ombres work best on brunettes because it is the least subtle of all the techniques.
Ombre is kind of like color blocking, there are no dark pieces left on the bottom to help keep it natural like the balayage, just a nice transition between the colors. While the ombre is also a beautiful look, it must be done right by trained professionals! This technique also requires advanced education, which may be accompanied by a higher price tag. Don’t try the ombre at home ladies!
Babylights (also known as fine foils)
In this method, separating the hair into tiny sections creates micro-highlights – maybe only a couple of strands each. This technique also achieves a very natural look that is meant to mimic the fine, natural highlights you used to get as a kid, hence the name babylights.
Babylights are also very low maintenance, just like the balayage and ombre. Since the highlights are so fine, as the hair grows out the overall style appears subtle, and there are no defined line of demarcation. With this method you can go about 12-14 weeks in between appointments!
Another important thing to note is that babylights can be applied to any hair color or type! While the effects on blondes are fabulous, brunettes and redheads can have fun with highlighting and babylighting as well.