Balayage and Ombre: Hair Coloring the 21st Century Way

Jun 02

Back in the day, dyeing your hair was a closely kept secret. You did not want anybody to know that you had to resort to chemicals to keep the gray at bay, or to hide the fact that you are an unfashionable brunette. Fast forward to the 21st Century and people are flaunting the fact that they have their hair colored, and falling over themselves to get at the latest color trends.

Not so long ago, the solid color job was all there was. And then came foil highlights. Now, master colorists are coming up with clever, more natural looks that have survived several seasons of overexposure as celebrities make the trends trendier. The most sustained of these are ombré and balayage. Yes, they sound exotic, but the look is all natural as seen in the gallery on the Therapy Hair Studio website. More importantly, they are low maintenance, which means they are probably in for the long haul.

The biggest problem of people who change their natural hair color is hair growth. A couple of months after color treatment, the roots start poking up, spoiling the party for the rest of the gang. To address this, colorists started trying out the ombré technique. This is quite simply coloring the hair in gradations, leaving the top dark and the ends lighter. This works wonderfully for those who have naturally dark hair. Because this is a freehand technique, the effect ranges from stark contrast to natural fade, depending on the artist’s touch. A variation of the ombré called somber (for subtle ombré) simply starts the color application higher, about two inches from the roots. Even if the hair grows out, there is no need for a touch-up because the effect stays the same.

Balayage is also a low maintenance look that is the perfect color treatment for summer. The term means “to sweep” and it is a freehand technique of applying color using a dip-and-dye method. The result is alternating light and dark ribbons of hair, giving the hair a softer, sun-kissed look, and hair can grow out as fast as it likes without spoiling the effect. These techniques are beloved, but who knows what the future of hair coloration holds?

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