You may have heard these terms "balayage" and "ombré" used interchangeably in recent years. Perhaps you’ve heard a friend talk about someone’s ombré hair or say something along the lines of “I love your hair – where did you get that balayage done?” when talking to someone with faded, natural-looking highlights. While there are some similarities that make conflation of the two more than understandable, you’re clearly interested in being able to tell the difference between the two methods. In this blog, we’ll discuss how each technique differs and what the contrasting results that they offer are. What is Balayage? Balayage is a French word that means “sweeping”. The definition of the word betrays the essence of the process – it’s a method characterized by hand-painting (with a sweeping motion) hair color onto hair. It does not involve foil applications to the hair, as some highlighting treatments do. Balayage allows for a natural, sun-kissed look reminiscent of a child’s hair: it gives an effortlessly blended look with lighter ends. Other than the summerish and stylishly beachy look that a professional balayage treatment will provide, the method has another advantage: it requires less maintenance than most hair-color. While you can touch it up every 6 weeks or so, some customers find that 6-8 months between visits is enough to maintain the look. Because of the craftsman-like nature of the work, balayage also has the advantage of being able to be tailored to the client’s features. Stylists can accentuate or diminish the prominence of facial contours by using the subtleties of the brush. It is, no doubt, more of an art than science. What is Ombré? Also developed and subsequently named by the French, ombré, which means “shaded”, is another hand-painted style that emphasizes a shorter, but still somewhat gradual transition from the ends to the mid-shaft portion of the hair. It’s a more abrupt transition that allows for less of a vertical, highlighted yet blended look that balayage offers. Ombré is often (but not always) used by those sporting “unnatural” hair colors to keep naturally-colored roots for a unique and “softer” look. Ombré also allows for easier and more infrequent maintenance, just as balayage does. Foil highlights tend to require more frequent touch-ups than an ombré or traditional balayage look do, for example. However, ombré and balayage treatments generally take more time and cost more than foil highlights. What’s the Difference? Technically, balayage is a technique and ombré is a style. In essence, ombré is a style that can be achieved through hand-painting hair. What is generally referred to as “balayage” is the longer, more vertically dispersed look achieved by painting. Ombré offers a two-toned look that doesn’t look as blended as balayage, although both looks use the same method and techniques. Both ombré and balayage do not use foil, and as a result offer softer-looking coloring and transitions than traditional foil highlights do. Thanks to the the open-air process of balayage and ombré, the grow-out stage is less pronounced than it is with foil highlighting, which is exactly what makes it easier to maintain without touch-ups for a longer period. Where can I get Balayage and Ombré Done in New York? Fabio Scalia is an upscale hair salon with locations in SoHo and Brooklyn that offers a full complement of luxury salon services including haircuts, styling, balayage, coloring extensions, and Japanese hair straightening. They offer intimate consultations and can custom tailor your look to incorporate your newly-straightened hair into your style. The SoHo location is at 311 West Broadway and can be reached at (212) 343-0523, or book at the Brooklyn Heights location at 148 Montague Street at (718) 855-5777 for your new highlights!
The often-muggy summer months in New York present a challenge familiar to many people: hair frizz. Not unique to the wavy or curly-haired, even straight-haired men and women battle the frizzly fluff that the humid East Coast air brings. It’s enough to make you wonder if you could or should just permanently straighten your hair. After all, who wouldn’t want to just shampoo & condition their hair, waltz out of the shower and let it air dry to smooth, pencil-straight perfection? This is where Japanese hair straightening comes in. An intensive procedure that requires several hours of your time, the Japanese hair straightening process will permanently straighten your hair so that it’s as straight as a rail and requires touch-ups only about once a year to ward off frizz. You may be asking yourself, “Is this a new trend? When did this become a ‘thing’?”. The answer may surprise you: Japanese hair straightening is currently undergoing a resurgence in popularity; it originally became popular years ago in (surprise, surprise!) Japan. How is Japanese Hair Straightening Done? Originating in the 1990s, Japanese hair straightening – also known as “thermal reconditioning” - initially caught on stateside right here in New York in the early 2000s. Soon after, the treatment spread to the West Coast and other major cities across America. The process begins with the application of a chemical solution to the hair, which is similar to a flat or straight perm. The solution is left to break down the bonds in the hair that cause waves and curls to occur. Once the bonds have been fully broken, the solution is rinsed out, the hair is blow-dried, and then given a flat-iron treatment – which helps to lock in smoothness and shine. Once this round is finished, neutralizer is applied to restore the hair’s pH levels to normal – because the chemical solution used works by breaking down bonds with acidity. After that, it’s a repeat of the first routine, post-chemical solution application – rinse, blow-dry and flat iron to completion. Is Japanese hair straightening a permanent treatment? Thermal reconditioning will permanently alter the bonds in your hair, which means that it is, in a sense, permanent. However, as your hair grows, it will come in with its natural frizz and curl, meaning that you’ll need to get it touched up every few months. It’s generally known to have better results and last longer than keratin straightening, without the frizz returning. The flipside is that the only way to restore your former curls is to cut the treated sections of your hair off entirely and allow them to grow back in. How should I care for my hair after Japanese hair straightening? As with certain other hair treatments, your hair should be kept perfectly dry for at least 48 hours afterward. All forms of headbands, bobby pins, hair clips and other hair accessories should be avoided, because these can permanently leave indentations in your hair if used before the “waiting period” is over. Washing your hair or a sweaty gym session are also “no-go”-s during that time. Where can I get Japanese hair straightening done in New York? Fabio Scalia is an upscale hair salon with locations in SoHo and Brooklyn that offers a full complement of luxury salon services including haircuts, styling, balayage, coloring and extensions, in addition to Japanese hair straightening. They offer intimate consultations and can custom tailor your look to incorporate your newly-straightened hair into your style. The SoHo location is at 311 West Broadway and can be reached at (212) 343-0523, or book at the Brooklyn Heights location at 148 Montague Street at (718) 855-5777 for your new, frizz-free, perfectly straight hair today!