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Ombre? Balayage? Which Popular Haircolor Technique Should You Try Next?

December 21, 2016

Being stuck in a hair rut is the absolute worst. One way to breathe new life into your hair is by changing up the color. For fun ideas, check out this roundup of top haircolor techniques and haircolors below. Who knows? One of them might just be what you’ve been looking for all along. Remember to take an image to your local salon so your colorist can help you achieve the look!


Photo Credit: @kristengravityhair

This pretty-sounding French term, which means to sweep or paint, also has a very pretty effect on hair. During a Balayage service, which is a highlighting technique, a colorist paints bleach or haircolor just on the surface of your hair freehand; he or she doesn’t saturate the entire section with hairdye. The result is soft, natural-looking, sun-kissed highlights that easily blend in as hair grows longer.


Photo Credit: @signaturesalon

In this haircolor technique, your root haircolor gradually fades into a much lighter haircolor at the ends, such as blonde. If your hair isn’t already dark, you may want your colorist to deepen your natural shade at the roots for a more dramatic Ombre. Hair stylist tip: Balayage is the technique while ombre is an end look. Your colorist will use the balayage technique to achieve an ombre.


Photo Credit: @salon_vip_club

Consider Sombre the subtler, softer sister of Ombre. With this method, there’s a lower contrast between the hair at the roots and the hair at the ends, and the dark shade at the roots subtly gradates into the color at the ends for a more seamless blend. Some enchanting versions of Sombre are Bronde Sombre, Caramel Sombre and Mocha Sombre—all beautiful blurs of brunette into blonde.


Photo Credit: @franckzem

Similar to Balayage, fluid hair painting also involves painting the surface of the hair. The only difference is that with fluid hair painting, haircolor is applied with your head leaned back against a table. With your hair fanned out on the surface, your colorist will have more control over the look of your hair since he or she will be able to see how the haircolors melt with each other. The technique creates such stunning results that it’s becoming a popular way to pull off natural-looking and fantasy haircolor trends like mermaid or opal hair.


Photo Credit: @chastieb

Highlights are sections of hair dyed lighter than your natural shade. They can be used to give hair dimension, accentuate facial features or slim down your face. They’re the opposite of lowlights, which are strands of hair that are dyed darker than your natural shade. To add highlights to your hair, your colorist may use one of two techniques: foil highlighting and Balayage.


Photo Credit: @shinebysophie

The Babylight or baby blonde highlighted look consists of tiny subtle highlights that resemble the sun-kissed highlights you’d get around your hairline as a child. They get their delicate appearance due to the very small amounts of dyed hair that are separated and placed in each foil.


Redken_NYFW_Marc_Jacobs.jpgPhoto Credit: @unlistd

To achieve Splashlights, your colorist paints a streak of bleach across your hair and dyes the sections above and below it in a color similar to your natural shade. The result is a head-turning halo of color that works with any length. Draw inspiration from the splashlights that Redken Global Color Creative Director Josh Wood created for the models at Marc Jacobs FW18. The looks were inspired by nightclub strobe lights, emphasizing where the light would hit the hair with a splash of color. 


Photo Credit: @emveesalon

A hair gloss treatment closes the cuticle and the hair, leading to smoother, shinier and less frizzy hair. In tinted form, it’s a great ammonia-free, semi-permanent alternative to classic hair dye. If you already have colored hair, applying a gloss can help maintain your haircolor, correct brassiness and deepen or tone down color. If you don’t want to change your haircolor but want to reap the shiny benefits, you can use clear gloss, instead.

The Redken Shades EQ Service uses demi-permanent haircolor and features the Shades EQ Equalizing Conditioning Color Gloss to condition hair and revive faded haircolor.

Check out all 7 reasons to try a hair gloss here.


The rising popularity of this haircolor proves gray is gorgeous at any age. To achieve a dreamy silver blonde shade, hair is bleached to a very light, almost white-blonde first. Then a purple toner is applied to remove any yellow tones before a gray hair dye mixture is applied. See Redken’s interpretation of silver blonde hair here.

To prevent silver blonde hair from getting brassy, use a color-safe shampoo or a conditioner with a violet tone, like Redken Blonde Idol Custom-Tone Conditioner Violet for Cool Blondes.


Photo Credit:  @hairbyginala

A new take on red haircolor, Ronze is a blend of coppery red and bronze, making it a particularly striking, vibrant hue. In terms of how wearable it is, it flatters a range of skin tones since it’s a blend of warm (coppery red) and cool (bronze) colors.


Photo Credit: @foxandjane

Also known as Ecaille (French for tortoiseshell) Balayage, this is a multi-dimensional haircolor that combines Sombre and Balayage techniques and uses a color palette of caramels, golden blondes, chestnuts and chocolates. Just like with Ombre haircolor, hair at the roots is colored slightly darker than your natural color, while hair at the ends is lighter. Then hair painting is used to create different tones in the hair.

Since coloring your hair can take a toll on the appearance and health of your hair, consider adding a bond protecting service to your haircolor or lightening service. For example, Redken pH-Bonder will help reduce breakage for increaed strength, improve elasticity and add visible shine.

And of course, once you get the haircolor you’ve been wanting, focus on ways to maintain it. Make sure to use a color-safe sulfate free shampoo so you don’t wash your new haircolor down the drain. Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate Free Shampoo gently cleanses the hair without stripping the scalp of essential oils or fading your new haircolor.

Now go off and embark on your next haircolor adventure. Cher Horowitz would be proud.