Looking to lighten up your color for the summer but not sure what to ask for at the salon? You want dimension and contrast but not that outdated chunky streak look. You’ve heard about Balayage and Ombre but don’t quite understand what it entails.  How does one transition from the traditional highlight to that desirable ‘Victoria Secret Model’ natural sun-kissed effect.

Let’s start with some basic education. Highlighting is traditionally achieved by sectioning out pieces of hair and painting them inside an aluminum foil.  Depending on if the sections are heavy slices or light weaves, determines how substantial the highlights become. Because the sections are painted onto a foil, the color saturation is even from roots to end, creating a consistent streak throughout.

Balayage, which means for “to sweep” in French, is a custom technique typically done with cotton and saran wrap. The unique benefit of Balayage is that the sections are painted on visually in triangular shapes that at are thinner toward the root and wider toward the mid-shaft and ends. This creates a sun-kissed effect because highlights look like the ‘sweep’ out of nowhere.

Ombre, which means for “graduation of color” in French, is a fashion forward effect where the hair gradually fades from dark to light from roots to ends.  Although this look can be very dramatic, it is considered a natural look because the new regrowth of hair tends to be darker then the ends since it has not had as much sun exposure as the older hair at the tips. This effect is often achieved by teasing the hair and then painting the hair below the tease, which makes for a blended color graduation as the un-painted hair brushed up into the tease later serves to breaks up to line of demarcation.

On my before and after model, Gabriella, I up-dated her highlight look from ashy chunky streaks to a warmer combination of Ombre and Balayage. As you can see she looks more sexy and sophisticated! For more visuals on this topic check out my Pinterest board:


Highlights, Balayage, or Ombre – Before

Highlights, Balayage, or Ombre – After

Caution: Because these techniques are now just coming into the mainstream market and are custom in nature, it is wise to seek out a color specialist that has had some formal training in Balayage and Ombre. I can personally recommend advanced courses including: Color Workshop I and II at Bumble and bumble University, New York, NY and Free Form Balayage at diPetroTodd Academy, San Francisco, CA.

With – “AshLuv”

To make an appointment with me for these new color serves, call Shannon Hair @ 661.799.7272 Ltd
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About The Author

Ashlee Norman - Salon Manager / Mentor Stylist / Lead Salon Educator @ Shannon Hair, Valencia, Ca Three characteristics that describe me are ambitious, loyal, and creative. The thing that inspires me most about doing hair is my boss Shannon, own of Shannon Hair! Since she first did my hair when I was 13 years old, I knew I wanted to be like her when I grew up. She is a beautiful, strong, and hard working woman. She is my Hair Hero! Everyday I am living out my life dream and as long as my hands are in hair I am happy no matter what service I am performing. The most rewarding thing about my job at Shannon Hair Salon in Santa Clarita is the positive impact I have on my clientele and co-workers. I love each one of my clients and am extremely proud of the amazing team of stylist I have the honor to educate and manage!

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