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Baffled about blonding? Dimensional hair color terms demystified

The current trends in hair color are most definitely transitioning away from the uniformity of foil highlights and solid all-over color to softer, more natural, dimensional color. Ombre, sombre, balayage...everyone wants it, everyone is talking about it, but what do all these terms mean? Let me explain.


Balayage, comes from the French word meaning "to sweep", and is a freehand method of highlighting hair. It is a technique, not a look, and it is applied by hand painting sections of hair to create a variety of desired results .

It is fully customizable, and is generally used to

produce a natural, sun-kissed effect in the hair.

Ombre refers to gradient color, generally transitioning from a darker root to lighter ends. In contrast, Ombre IS the look, and we use a many different techniques to achieve it. It can be a high contrast effect, or a more subtle ombre look, or Sombre.



Babylights refers to foil highlights that are micro weaved to produce a delicate, baby-blonde result, similar to that of a child.

Bronde is a combination of both brunette and blonde woven through the hair.

Ecaille, the tortoise shell technique, is the result of weaving a variety of golden and caramel tones through brunette hair.


Shadow rooting is a method I use in the salon where I slightly darken or "shadow" the root area to give a client a more lived-in dimensional look, and to allow for a more subtle regrowth. You may also have heard of teasey-lights. This is a method we use to achieve a blended, gradient or ombre result.

Very often it is necessary to combine two or more of these techniques to offer my clients a personalized hair color experience. Foil highlights are still very popular and definitely necessary for certain circumstances. For example, color corrections, blond clients seeking an icy blonde, or a dark brunette client seeking a lighter blonde result, the use of foil or meche is generally required. The possibility of multiple sessions to achieve the desired effect, may also be necessary.

Hope this helps! XOXO


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