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The Struggle is Real: Balayage vs. Foils

Many people know the term balayage due to the growth in social media. But do you really "know" what a balayage is? As a stylist, it surprises me to learn that a lot of women don't really know the differences between a highlight, balayage or an ombre. Many clients know the terminology of each technique but they don't understand what's actually involved. Before entering a salon here are some basic tips!


balayage highlights hair color newton boston andrae devon

Balayage is the french word for the technique in which hair color is painted on the strands in a sweeping motion to give a natural sun-kissed look. The majority of the color that the client will see is in the mid-lengths and ends of the hair while softly transitioning from the base. As a result this technique requires much less maintenance.

When to Choose This Technique....

- When a client requests less maintenance

- When introducing someone to a color services

- Softening the regrowth of a foil

- BRB...Blondes. Redheads. Brunettes. "The Balayage" doesn't discriminate

Color by Andrae Devon


foils amanda natale icon hair salon newton hair color

Foil highlights produces a much more controlled look than balayage. If you're looking for a symmetrical look, foiling might be the way to go. Foiling involves sectioning off hair and weaving strands in a thick or thin manor depending on the look you're going for and the texture of the hair. The foil has two purposes: To keep the lightening agent from touching the surrounding hair and to keep the product from weakening while processing.

When to Choose This Technique...

- For a controlled application

- Blending gray hair

- Strategic placement

- When you want less of a "rooted" look

Color by Amanda Natale


romilda da silva ombre hair color balayage wella

Ombre is the french word for "shadow." It is used when wanting to transition a darker shade into a lighter shade. The Ombre and balayage are both hand painting techniques, but have a much different end result and look . Ombre is meant to have a dark root, blended into a lighter mid-shaft, into a much lighter shade at the ends.

When to Choose This Technique...

- When looking for a less subtle look

- When looking for more of a transition from dark to light

- Fantasy color blending

- Bold look

Color by Romilda DaSilva


The problem with using trendy terms is everyone has a different way of perceiving things. The best way you can show your stylist what you really want is by bringing in 3 different photos.

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