Balayage, Ombré and Baby Lights, Explained

What's the difference between Balayage, Ombré and Baby Lights? Hairfairy explains!

Every week at my studio I see so many clients all trying to explain the desired hair colour they would love to achieve.

In hairdressing at the moment there are so many different techniques, used to create totally different looks with colour.

So I will explain the 3 Most popular hair colouring techniques of the moment, so next time you go to the salon you and your colourist can be on the same page!


Balayage is a French word meaning sweep or to paint, it’s a really soft natural result. This technique is meant to mimic a child’s hair that has been lightened on the mid length and ends by summer sun.

So think about the base being a really natural soft brown colour, then the outsides and the tips being much lighter and around the face.

Balayage is applied freehand mostly, using a paddle spatula for painting colour direct on to the hair.

It is a really hot trend right now because of the A list celebrities that are now wearing this trend so well , think Khloe Kardashian or Jessica Alba.

This is perfect for the girl who wants low maintenance colour and maybe wants to give the hair a break from all the full head foil highlights.


Ombre again another French word meaning shaded or shading. This look has really dark roots and then a gradual fade to lighter ends.

The Ombre word is now not only being used in the hairdressing world, but now extends over to the beauty world, think Ombre lips and nails!

Ombre can be a great way of darkening your hair down if it has gone to light, it just gives the hair some depth, but just be warned if you are used to being all over blonde then having dark roots can take time to for you to adjust to.

Ombre is also really easy to maintain and looks great!  lots of people now play around with some pinks and purple creativefashion colours, for a daring creative look.

Baby Lights

Baby lights are super fine highlights that are weaved and put in to foils, my prediction is this summer these will be huge! I think the two other techniques people have been wearing lots the last two years, and I think its time for a change.

So with Baby Lights I use this technique when someone has had Ombre or Balayage and is now looking to go back to some highlights near the roots of the hair.

These can be placed in with Foils or Meche.

They are so fine and natural looking and still you can have some shade with these but it just breaks up the two tone effect.

All of these techniques are fantastic for regrowth and if done correctly should grow out beautifully.


The best thing you can do before the appointment is have a picture of what you love and bring it with you so you can discuss with the colourist.