What’s the difference between Balayage, Ombre and Dip Dye?

Balayage, Ombre and Dip Dye are all hair colouring techniques, which all offer different results! Jack Howard at Paul Edmonds London brought balayage over from across the Atlantic in America, straight to the UK. In this piece, we ask him about the difference between Balayage, Ombre and Dip Dye, how these hair colouring techniques are done and who has itSteven, Creative Colour Director tells you everything you need to know about Coffee Balayage, what it is, how it’s applied and this hair look is achieved. Here is everything you need about this trend.

What is Balayage?

Balayage comes from the French word meaning to sweep or to paint. This hair colouring technique allows for a sun-kissed natural looking hair colour similar to what nature gives us as children with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. The principal idea being less is more when creating soft, natural looks. Balayage hair colour should be very close and soft at the root leading to a thicker highlight at the ends of the hair.

How is Balayage achieved?

Balayage is applied on the surface of the section resulting in a seamless blend of the natural-looking highlights and your natural hair colour. It is not saturated through the section until the very tips otherwise you would have a streak of colour that isn’t very soft at all. It can also be called a freehand technique because no foil or meche are used to create the highlights.

Different Types of Balayage

When it comes to Balayage, there are different types of techniques you can use to create a multitude of styles and results. The main Balayage techniques are: 

Classic Balayage

Creative Balayage

Micro Balayage

Californian Balayage

Coffee Balayage

What is Coffee Balayage?

Steven, Creative Colour Director at Paul Edmonds explains “Coffee balayage is a technique designed for brunettes to create multi-tonal, textured looks.” Coffee Balayage gives a subtler effect and doesn’t involve colouring your entire head of hair, making it perfect for ‘hair colour virgins’ who don’t want anything too drastic.

Coffee Balayage Application

Coffee Balayage also minimises hair damage associated with colour application.  “The technique used to create coffee balayage is called surface balayage meaning that the colour is only applied to the top layers of hair strands. Unlike ‘normal’ balayage which involves coating all hair strands, coffee balayage is applied freehand to the upper hair strands only. It’s a gentle technique which creates ultimate shine.”

Coffee balayage can be applied and maintained every three months. A glaze and gloss can be applied every six weeks to refresh your coffee tones and add shine.

Celebrities with Balayage

Rihanna has been known to rock a very glossy balayage look. Jack Howard loves Kate Beckensdale’s dark balayage. Rosie Huntington-Whitely is a blonde balayage and of course, Poppy Delevigne always sports Jack’s balayage.

What is Ombre?

Ombre is a hair colouring technique where the colour goes darker at the roots, while gradually going lighter at the ends. It’s also a French word, which means ‘to shade’. The best thing about the Ombre hair colour is that you can have it either in a subtle or strong look, depending on your lifestyle and it’s very easy to maintain.

Since Ombre hair dye took off, clients and colours have been experimenting and playing around with this hair colouring technique. Now, there are all sorts of Ombre variations to suit various taste levels.

Balayage and Ombre are very similar to one another as they both use the same hand technique, but they have noticeable differences between each other. Balayage is described as the technique, while Ombré is the colour.

Celebrities with Ombre

“Alexa Chung has gone darker but her ends are slightly lighter giving her a softer more ombré feel rather than the stronger dip dye she has been known for.”

So, what’s the difference between balayage and ombre?

The ombre colour is darker at the roots while gradually getting lighter towards the ends of the hair. While with Balayage, it’s described as a technique in which dye is painted onto the hair, thin at the root, leading to a thicker highlight at the end of the hair. Both hair colouring techniques result in a low maintenance style, creating a soft and natural look.


What is Dip Dye?

Dip dye is a classic two-tone colouring technique, whereby there is no real blend between the two colours. Compared to Balayage and Ombre, which are much more subtle, dip dye can be achieved by using a creative colour that is usually 4-5 shades lighter than your main body of hair. When you book an appointment at either our Knightsbridge and Battersea salons, our leading expert colourists will be able to help you decide on the perfect colour technique for you.


Book The Look

Like the look of balayage, ombre or blonde dip dye? You can book a colour consultation with our colour experts. Our team offers various hair colouring techniques - from Balayage and Shatush to Ombre and Dip Dye - we’ll help you discuss which hair colouring technique is right for you. 

If you want to see the team, you can book an appointment at our Battersea Power Salon today.