To set the record straight once and for all, we are sharing the key differences between balayage and ombré so you can choose which coloring technique best suits your personality!

The word ombré in French means “two-toned,” and involves the gradual lightening of the hair strand, fading from darker (at the roots) to lighter (at the ends). The technique can be done with nearly any color-be it pink or grey-and can be customized to suit your taste. There are striking ombrés and those which are subtler, but nonetheless the result is always chic and beautiful!

The word balayage in French means “to sweep” or “to paint,” and is a technique of free-handing soft, painted lines to create streak-free, sun-kissed highlights with less noticeable roots on the hair. The result? Natural looking highlights that are customized to your taste! Balayage is also a low maintenance style, which is part of the reason why it’s favored among tastemakers and celebrities alike! “In the old days of foil, clients were in the chair every four to six weeks for upkeep,” says L’Oreal Professionnel Artist Nancy Braun. “The most beautiful thing about balayage is it’s customized for each person based on hair length, hair texture, skin tone, and desired level of maintenance.”

Ombré and balayage may look similar to you, but they are-in fact-different. Ombré features different shades of color throughout the hair similar to what you would expect with color blocking. With balayage, those shades are woven together and painted into the hair to reduce lines of demarcation and streaks. The main takeaway is that ombré is an end result, which can be achieved using foils, balayage, or a hand-painting method. Balayage, on the other hand, is a technique, which can be used to achieve a myriad of customizable looks.