Any of these three techniques create dimension in a hairstyle by adding a variation of colors. The main thing they all have in common is the use of lighter shades to achieve the end result. Believe it or not, the process of lightening hair has been around for centuries. Most notably, lighting hair was made a common practice in ancient Rome. Many traders from surrounding areas exposed the Roman culture to a larger variety of hair colors. Blonde became the most sought after hair color because of its association with exotic and unfamiliar looks. Over the years, men and women have used tons of different things to color their hair. Tumeric and henna are a couple of plants that were used in ancient formulas. These formulas evolved as time went on to a point where they were being mixed and would ferment for two to three months.
The Technical Differences
Typically done using aluminum foil to keep the color in place and separate it from other strands, highlighting has been the most common form of lightening hair for years. Hair is sectioned with a clip and either woven or sliced with a weaving/rattail comb and painted using the foil as a canvas. Foils are placed very strategically, usually within a quarter inch of each other.
A French word meaning “to sweep.” Balayage is a free-hand technique. Color is applied vertically to various sections that the colorist chooses. Generally, hair is lighter closer to the face and through out the top layers giving the hair a naturally lighter appearance. Cotton wool, cellophane, saran wrap or foil can be used for this technique if preferred. Although this technique is not as structured as highlights, the colorist must be very strategic with placement.
Usually a two step process, the ombre technique shows off a gradient of color. The desired result is darker regrowth and lighter ends where the color smoothly and gradually changes and appears to melt together to create one flowing look. Also a free-hand technique, ombre is accomplished by saturating hair on the horizontal plane.
While trying to decide what look would be best for you (and pinning pictures on pinterest), ask yourself these questions:
- Does seeing your regrowth bother you?
- How often are you wanting to get your hair colored?
- Do you curl your hair often?
- How do you usually wear your hair?
- Do you want to avoid using bleach on your hair?
- How light do you want to get? Where do you want to be on a scale of natural to Gwen Stefani?
Answering these questions helps to determine which lightening style, if any, will work best for you.
It is also important to note that a combination of the three techniques can be used in your hair color service. I absolutely love to use a variety of lightening styles - so just ask!
Post by Teake!