Lighter Brighter: A Closer Look at Balayage, Ombriage, Sombre and Babylights
Balayage: Balayage means “to sweep” or “sweeping” in French.Photo 1 of 4
Ombriage: Ombriage is a combination of ombre and balayage application, also called balayombre.Photo 2 of 4
Sombre: A softer version of ombre, but not as soft as balayage.Photo 3 of 4
Babylights: Babylights are finely painted highlights that give a sun-kissed result.Photo 4 of 4
THE EXPERT: Eva Scrivo, New York City salon owner and educator
THE 101: Balayage means “to sweep” or “sweeping” in French. “It’s been around for decades, prior to foils or frosting, brought to New York from France in the ’70s and ’80s, and has been continually refined,” Scrivo says. She says a common misconception of balayage is to underestimate its complexity and think it’s just free-style highlighting. One thing everyone can agree on: balayage allows one to create the ultimate in color customization.
THE CREATIVITY: “Balayage allows the colorist to connect with his or her inner artist, which is why most of us chose this industry in the first place,” Scrivo says. It also enables complete customization for every client in a way that can’t be duplicated by another colorist, whereas foil patterns, however, can be mimicked. “This creates a stronger bond between the colorist and client, as each visit you paint her very own palette,” she says. “Balayage is gentler on the hair, and since hair lightens in stages, you can maintain more tonal value and be less dependent on glazing.”
THE EXPERTS: Ulta Artistic Team
THE 101: Ombriage is a combination of ombre and balayage application, also called balayombre. Ombriage is soft, natural and sure to please, according to the Ulta Artistic Team.
THE CREATIVITY: Using light pressure, pinch the sections to be lightened about 2-3 inches from the scalp and paint the hair using the side of the brush in a diffused V-shape. To help expedite processing time and for added dimension, increase the developer intensity once you reach the back of the head.
THE EXPERT: Marco Pelusi, West Hollywood, California, salon owner and Aloxxi educator
THE 101: A softer version of ombre, but not as soft as balayage. “This is a much softer progression than the strong lines of demarcation from dramatic ombres of the past,” Pelusi says. “Gently sun-kissed or tipped ends of a gradually lighter color is a welcome change.”
THE CREATIVITY: Pre-lighten the lengths and add a pastel for a low-maintenance look that grows out gently for the client looking for change without the commitment.
THE EXPERT: Rona O’Connor, celebrity colorist and co-owner of Lukaro Salon and Spa in Beverly Hills, California
THE 101: Babylights are finely painted highlights that give a sun-kissed result.
“These little strands of highlights can be painted through balayage,” O’Connor says. “I like them to start off the root by about an inch and be randomly placed to accent the framing of the face, the tips of layers and areas where it looks like they were kissed by the sun.”
THE CREATIVITY: “Mix them up by painting midlengths through the ends and finely place the strands to frame the face,” O’Connor says. “It’s all about keeping the final look natural and defined with accents of light not on the surface.”