Officially, ombre is a style and balayage is the technique used to create it, but both words are often used interchangeably to describe an overall look.
Ombre means having tones of colour that merge into each other, graduating from dark at the roots to light at the ends. It doesn’t have to be striking brunette to blonde, but you should be able to see a clear difference.
Balayage (which must be said with a French accent) means ‘to sweep’. Gentle strokes of colour are swept through the hair to create sun-kissed highlights, but the re-growth is still darker, much like an Ombre style.
I think there’s a real difference when clients want a block colour that’s different at the ends (ombre) or subtle highlights throughout the mid-length and ends (balayage), but that’s just my opinion and another reason why thorough consultations are so important.
As long as my client walks out happy because I’ve succeeded in creating her desired look, I don’t really care what we call it!
See you in the salon!