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Foils, Balayage, & Ombre: The Difference Between the Techniques

August 30, 2015

Ever wonder the difference between the methods?

When you walk into the salon you might hear your stylist using a number of terms that may leave you slightly confused. Fear not: we have got you covered, below we have complied a short lesson in hair color terminology. Here is the breakdown;


The most traditional form of separating pieces of hair for coloring. The stylist picks up pieces of hair with a rattail comb, holds a foil beneath them, and paints the color on the foil. The foil is folded up and the hair color processes. This is a great way to put multiple colors in the hair while keeping everything clean and even. Stylists have the most control using this method of coloring–it can look very natural when small pieces are used, or more bold when chunkier pieces are used.

foiling examples at BreCyn Salon in Everett, WA


Balayage Is a French word meaning to sweep. This French method of coloring pieces of hair results in a more natural looking, softer result. The hair color is painted directly on sections of hair, and brushed down the hair shaft in soft strokes. Sometimes cotton strips are used at the base of the sections to keep the color separate from other hair, saran wrap is also used to separate the sections. The color is placed around the face to give the look of naturally sun-kissed strands. The principal here being, less is more.

balayage examples at BreCyn salon in Everett, WA


Ombre is a method in which the colors shade into each other and fade from dark to light. Balayage is a technique that is commonly used to create this look, it is especially concentrating on the ends of the hair to get them more solid and leaving the base darker for a high contrast look. There are many methods to create the same look, some stylists may use foils as well.

ombre examples at BreCyn salon in Everett, WA

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