The Difference Between Ombré, Sombré & Balayage Hair (2023)

Comparing Ombré, Sombre, and Balayage Style Hair Extensions.

The Difference Between Ombré, Sombré & Balayage Hair (2023)

If you’re still struggling with hair industry buzz words and don’t know what they mean or you don’t understand the difference, read on. You probably heard of ombré, sombré, and balayage a million times, but what do they mean? Everything is simple. After reading this article, you’ll have no problem discussing and understanding different hair tone options.

Wearing colored hair extensions is easily the hottest craze right now and known celebrities from Nicki Minaj to Katy Perry have joined the bandwagon. Now, before you jump right in and get your own set, let’s compare balayage, sombré and ombré.

1 What is Ombré Hair?

Cool Ombrés

Ombré is a gradient that transitions from dark to light color, or in some cases, from one color to another. When this style first came out, it looked like a dip-dye technique. Females with blond hair dyed their roots dark while brunettes had very stark blonde tips. Since then, however, the method has evolved.

It was very harsh and there was no real gradient or blending. Now, ombré has progressed more into softer blending and there is more transition. It just depends on who does your ombré. Such a coloring technique has been trending now for quite a few years. Although it has been popular in the fashion world and with celebrities, it took a while to get ordinary people interested. Now everybody is crazy about ombré!

Thanks to hair extensions, it has widespread in every part of the world. Pre-colored strands make the process much simpler and cheaper. Since ombré is a complicated technique, it is not always done right. But even if it is, it’s very hard to maintain.

Ombré Hairstyle Examples

Simple Ombré Look

This is a very simple ombré look, going from dark to light. It is one of the most common ombrés you can see. Although it is simple, it’s a great look!

Although ombré started from dark to blonde hair, now ombré is used with all kinds of colors. There are infinite numbers of color combinations you can come up with.

If you like to experiment more and love strong, vivid colors, ombré gives you the chance to play around with all kinds of colors. There are also great extensions with amazing colors that you can use to create the ombré look.

2 What is Sombre Hair?


Sombre is a great, toned-down version of ombré and it’s great for someone who wants something simple and natural-looking. It’s the sister of ombré and it’s coming more and more into a trend. Sombre is a soft ombré. So, if you’re not into the strong ombré look, this is a great, more natural-looking hairstyle.

The transition and blending are much subtler, but you still get that ombré-looking style. As a rule of thumb, mix sombré with more natural colors like different shades of brown and blonde. Now, it can be used with any color.

Sombre Hairstyle Examples

Sombre Hairstyle Examples

Here we have 4 more pictures of sombré hairstyles. While the majority focus on blond to brown highlights, it’s also possible to pull a classy look with black hair.

The key is smooth transitions, so all you have to do is pick a color that closely matches your hair and voilà.

3 What is Balayage Hair?


People always mix balayage extensions with ombré. People think it’s the same thing and they don’t know the difference. Balayage can be ombré but it doesn’t have to be ombré. It is simply hair painting. That’s means it’s only a technique rather than a hairstyle like ombré is.

You can certainly use the balayage coloring technique to create the ombré look. Balayage is a free-hand painting! Instead of pulling a piece of the hair, coloring it, and then separating it in a foil, the color is free hand-painted directly on the pieces of the hair you want. So, you just pick up the pieces and paint it freehand – it’s as simple as that!

As a result, you can have an ombré that’s completely done with foils. In other words, a foil is laid flat with the hair, and the colors are blended on the foil, then the next foil is placed on top of it. Still, you can also do an ombré by just hand painting it on the top, which would make it balayage. There are different techniques and ways to get the same style.

Balayage Hairstyle Examples

Balayage Hairstyle Examples

Here’s how hairstylists to approach balayage. It is a great technique that can be used to create a variety of styles, including ombré and sombré.

4 Hair Extensions or Hair Dye?

Long story short, hair extension is a clear winner. If you plan to achieve an ombré look by coloring your natural strands, a lot of things can go wrong.

First of all, hair dyes are not exactly healthy. They contain strong chemicals that can severely damage your strands, especially if you’re going for a lighter color. Unfortunately, there is still no 100% safe way to dye your hair.

Secondly, that process is not permanent, and all hair dyes wash off pretty quickly which means more dyeing and more hair damage. Not to mention frequent coloring is expensive and takes a lot of precious time.

Another troubling thing with dyeing your strands to create an ombré hairstyle is that it might not end up looking the way wanted it to. The ombré coloring technique is not simple and takes a very skilled hairdresser to do it.

Lastly, if your hair is very short, you can forget about getting an ombré the usual way because you need length so that the two colors can blend properly.

You can avoid all these issues by simply installing hair extensions. There will be no damage to your strands, the color will not fade at all, and you don’t need to have long hair to do it. Not only that, but you can buy extensions with different ombré combinations and change your look whenever you want to!

5 Ombré, Sombre & Balayage Hair Extensions

Ombré, Sombre & Balayage Hair Extensions

If you’re looking for ombré (or other) extensions for a special occasions, we recommend using clip-ins. Mostly because they’re easy to attach, even for beginners, and don’t have to be worn for long. For a permanent solution, you can’t go wrong with our Remy tape-in hair extensions.

6 Other Colored Hair Extension Trends

Not all textures are easy to do on your hair! Let’s play around with colors and explore other options. What if you want to use a single color instead of mixing them up? You would naturally go for the hair extension color that matches your hair if you want to achieve a relatively understated look. However, if you want to project a dramatic and bold image, then you could try something new and wear one that has a vibrant and bright color. Colored hair extensions are available in all rainbow colors, and you can easily find the right set that will complement the character and look that you want to project.

Pink Hair

One of the trendiest and most dramatic picks that are available in the market today are the hair extensions that are colored pink. If you want to inject an element of adventure into your appearance, then this colored hair extension should be one of the best choices.

A popular pick of known celebrities like Carrie Underwood and Avril Lavigne. Pink-colored hair extensions evoke a fresh and youthful character while maintaining a vibe that is distinctively edgy but with girlish elements.

Animal Prints

Animal Prints

You should also check out patterned hair extensions, one of the most popular colored hair extensions today. The leading picks are those with animal prints such as tiger, zebra, and cheetah prints.

Wear these hair extensions to highlight the wild side of your personality. Check out the selection of animal prints in your local store and choose one that matches your wild and adventurous mood. Be wary of synthetic alternatives that are often labeled and sold as Remy’s hair, especially when it comes to this color.

Purple Hair

This is another hot trend when it comes to colored hair extensions. If you don’t want to go for the extreme highlights that result in a daring and bold look, then this should be the perfect set for you. This colored hair extension strikes a perfect balance as it delivers a fair degree of elegance and mystery with its purple color.

Hair Highlights

Hair Highlights

Various color highlights is another option to consider. Often ordered by younger audience or women that want to revive their hairstyle.

Whether you get red, pink, or yellow highlights will depend on your mood. In the end, however, you are sending the message that there is a fiery streak inside of you and that you are proudly flaunting this aspect of your personality.


By now you must have learned about the differences between all hair coloring techniques. If any of these pictures inspired you to try this look, consider hair extensions. That’s the easiest, hassle-free way of achieving a dream look in minutes rather than hours.


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