Balayage, Ombré, Sombré… The Lowdown

Balayage, Ombré, Sombré… The Lowdown

The Elusive Trends Explained


We’ve all been there. We want to try the newest hair trends, but we really don’t know what we want! And what are the subtle differences between them?
Most importantly, how do you ask for the look you want without confusing your stylist?

The hair trend gurus at Voodoo are here to break it down for you!

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Balayage (pronounced bah-lee-ahj) is a French word which translates to “sweeping”. In English, it just means “How the heck do I say that?!” Just kidding! In the beauty world, it is a freehand technique where the hair color or lightener is applied by hand sweeping for a more natural effect. If you desire a sun-kissed look with dimension, then this technique is for you.
Believe it or not, this is not a new trend. This way of coloring and lightening hair has been around for decades, and has always been a hit due to its low-maintenance appeal; touch-ups are required less frequently unlike traditional foil highlights.

Magma from Wella Professional Color is a wonderful medium used in hair painting application. It is a lightener that also deposits color for a toning effect.

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Another term that seems to confound even the most savvy beauty experts is Ombré which means “having colors or tones that shade into each other”. Ombre is a dip-dye effect, where the hair gradually goes from dark to light from root to ends. It achieves a more dramatic result than balayage, and one that is more noticeable.

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Sombré, or “subtle ombre” is yet another incarnation of hair painting. Essentially it is an ombre that “packs half the punch”. Instead of lightening selected pieces of hair, all of the hair is lightened with a subdued effect.

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Another technique that is on everyone’s radar is Colormelt, which does exactly as it sounds. Two or more colors are blended into a seamless “melt” between shades. This trend is generally used with vivid dyes such as Pravana, which is our go-to creative color line at Voodoo.


Understandably, these terms and their pronunciations can be a little bit intimidating. We suggest that the best way to communicate with your stylist about a desired look is to show them an inspiration photo. Everyone defines something in their own unique way. That’s why a term like “ombre” can mean something different to two different stylists. If you bring in a photo, talk with your stylist about the elements of the color that you like. That way everyone can be on the same page, without using perplexing terms.

Don’t be afraid to ask about the season’s hottest trends just because the name is intimidating! Your Voodoo Hair Lounge stylist will know what to do because they are well-versed in these techniques and they are constantly educating themselves with the latest beauty trends.