Sombres, Ombres, Balayage, and Flamboyage

Hi friends!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the week, and enjoying some of the warm weather we’ve been getting, even if it is a little rainy!

As the weather is warming up, I have been busy lightening a lot of my guests hair. So I wanted to write a post comparing the ombre, sombre, balayage highlights and flamboyage highlights because I feel like everyone has been asking. If you are interested in one of these techniques, make sure you are very clear with you are stylist about exactly what you are looking for, because these styles are all very similar it can be confusing, so I wanted to distinguish between the four so that you know exactly how to express the look you are going for to your stylist!


I have already created a post on the ombre so I will keep my information short and sweet. The ombre is your classic dark roots to lighter ends. This transition can STILL be natural while being noticeable. It can include an in between color on the mids of the hair for a softer transition but this is not necessary, it just depends on what you are looking for! I would almost classify the sombre, balayage highlights and flamboyage highlights as different branches of the ombre tree, because that is where this look initially got popular. You  cannot go wrong with choosing the ombre! It is easy, because when your roots grow out, you don’t have to worry about getting them done, you just enjoy your beautifully lightened ends. Just make sure you express how soft or natural you would like the ombre to look. Even people who are not stylists can notice a box ombre. Nothing worse than that straight line through the hair!

Here are a few different examples of ombre’s I have done.

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This specific lovely guest of mine has slowly been going lighter and lighter with her ombre. She wants the more intense dark to light contrast. In order for her to get this light we had to lighten her slowly, which is why she had more of a transitional in-between color (on the left), which we were able to tone to give her really soft golden and copper undertones. We are continuing to lighten her to get her to the color on the right, so that you can really see the contrast.


This is your every day ombre. You can really see the transition but there is no line, it is soft and natural. That is the key to a good ombre. This lovely lady was looking for something dramatic yet still very natural. I first did a root color to darken and enrich her base color and then we lightened her ends and toned them to that perfect light golden honey color. One of my favorites!


This was a fun dramatic short hair ombre I was able to do! You can see the lighter pieces are higher in a few places to add to the dimension of the hair.


This ombre was so much fun! She was looking for a red base color with a coppery undertone to her light pieces, that wouldn’t turn pink or fade to a weird brassy color. We lightened her ends a bit more so they could be an even lighter and brighter blonde, with the pretty copper color on her mids.


Lastly, I wanted to make sure I shared a picture of a much more intense ombre. Brittany wanted something very dramatic and noticeable. We lightened ALL of her ends and did not leave a single piece out. I was SO happy with the results! It was perfect for her hair as she got ready for the warm weather 🙂


One of my recent posts was all about the 2014 hair trends and I expressed that the sombre is certainly one of them. It is an incredibly natural way to lighten the hair for the ombre style. You can still have the darker roots to lighter ends contrast, but if you look closely there are some very finely weaved foils throughout the hair to create a much more natural look. It is so soft that you can’t even see the major contrast. This is a great way to ligthen your hair if you are not looking for that extreme ombre look, although both styles can be beautiful : )


Leanne was looking for something different. She wanted to be a little bit lighter but did not want to be blonde, and still wanted dimension. If you look closely at this picture, you can see the contrast from her darker roots to the lighter ends, but as you can tell it is so soft. We did a few heavy face framing foils in the front with a few very soft and natural foils throughout the hair so that the transition would be incredibly subtle. We were both so pleased with the results!

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This transition is slightly more noticeable as you can see the lighter pieces that come to the root. But the biggest thing you notice when looking at these pictures, is how much lighter the ends are. The highlights that come to the root are thin enough that Allison will not notice her roots quite as much when they begin to come in, but she is still noticeably blonde. This was perfect for Allison because she wanted to be light without having to deal with such a dramatic root.

Balayage highlights

Balayage highlights do not necessarily have to look like an ombre. You can just balayage a few pieces so that you have some slight dimension in your hair. It is a great way to lighten the ends of your hair while still looking very natural.


Beth was looking for some lightness through the ends of her hair without looking like an ombre. I brought a few pieces up a little higher and left a few just towards the ends of the hair. We went for a red/brown base and balayaged some warm golden pieces. As you can tell this is clearly not the same as an ombre, but there is some great dimension, without coming to the root!

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I brought these balayage pieces a little bit higher up so that they would appear even more natural. This way, when her roots grow out, you will not be able to tell at all, but she is noticeably significantly lighter!


I wrote so little about balayage highlights because I figured I would further explain them here. The flamboyage highlights are very similar to balayage highlights, but they are a specific technique to Davines. The only major difference is that there are actually flamboyage strips designed to get this exact type of look. Bringing the hair up however high will create more, or less, of an ombre effect. I have become obsessed with flamboyage highlights because a.) it is a unique technique designed by Davines, and b.) it is an easy way to softly and naturally highlight the hair, allowing as much dimension as I choose!


This beautiful young woman wanted an ombre but she wanted it to be incredibly natural, so the flamboyage was perfect for her! I just took quite a few sections and flamboyaged them so that she would have an ombre effect but it would be incredibly soft.


For Mary, I used flamboyage highlights for a more natural effect coming close to the root, and did a more normal ombre technique on her ends. This gave her a lot of dimension, with a softer and more natural transition, but still allowing her roots to be her natural color.


Jen wanted a red to copper ombre that would not be too extreme since the colors were already so dimensional.

The flamboyage technique can be used for an ombre style, or you can just add a few pieces to create a sun-kissed look. Either way, it can be really beautiful!

I hope this information was helpful. Please do your research if you are going to go for one of these styles, so that you will know exactly what to express to your stylist! Can’t wait to keep lightening away : ) Thanks for reading!



5 thoughts on “Sombres, Ombres, Balayage, and Flamboyage

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