Hair Creations gives the skinny on Balayage, Ombre & Sombre



We are oftentimes asked about our hair coloring terminology so we thought we’d give you the skinny on all those names you’re seeing on Pinterest, in fashion magazines, and well…here on our Service Menu too!


Balayage (a.k.a. Hair Painting)

As opposed to the very well-known and precise technique of foiling to achieve a highlighted or lowlighted effect, Balayage is a French term referring to the free-handed approach for creating highlights or lowlights. While seemingly new and trendy, balayage has been around for a  very long time. This hair painting technique requires a brush or paddle and the colorist’s artistic eye to achieve more natural looking dimension in the hair and allows for truly customized color with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. A colorist can use any level of hair color and/or bleach to create a subtle or dramatic effect. We like to use the analogy of a little girl with long hair at the end of summer to explain what our intention is when we use a Balayage approach. So go ahead…the next time you’re waiting in line at checkout or sitting on the softball bleachers, take a gander at all of that youthful, beautiful hair color. We guarantee you’ll be scrambling to schedule an appointment with us for some Balayage…wink, wink.


Ombre refers to the gradual lightening of the hair strand. Typically, our clients are going from darker color at the roots to lighter color on the ends but one can also opt for the opposite. It’s important to note that there is a demarcation line with the ombre technique. With appropriate skill, the kind we employ at Hair Creations, that said demarcation line should be soft. The lightness of the color is also of note. While the tone of the lightest color can be soft or dramatic, there is usually around three to four levels difference in color from top to bottom and bleach is required to achieve a true ombre effect. It may take a few visits to the salon to achieve such a noticeable difference, but once you do achieve it, maintenance is minimal and at your discretion. The perfect candidate for ombre color is someone who wants a low maintenance hair color, doesn’t mind if there is a “root,” has wavy or curly hair, and is comfortable with bleach being used in her hair. So if you’ve been feeling your inner bohemian cry out for some attention this look is for you!


As the name suggests, sombre or a soft ombre is all about a more subtle graduation of lightness with a less noticeable demarcation line. What we love is that clients don’t have to go quite as dark at the root or as light on the ends. We can paint lighter strands higher around the face and lower in the back and even have some of the root color running right through to the ends. Sombre is a fantastic choice for former ombre addicts, people who already do a single palette color and would like to jazz things up, and even individuals who have never colored their hair. It’s a flattering choice that can really accentuate your features and enhance your haircut. Psst! We also know a little secret…French New Wave inspired looks are coming our way for spring and Sombre seems a perfect pairing to us!


Yours in Style,



Hair Creations | 12 Phila Street | Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 | (518) 583-4281