Dimensional Color

Hair Highlighting Techniques Compared

One of my favorite hair trends is dimensional color. I absolutely love the lived-in, effortless look of this approach to hair color.

In the student salon here at the Cinta Aveda Institute, I have seen a lot of demand for this type of hair service. The truth is there are many ways to achieve this type of hair.

Everyone has heard of ombre and some have heard of balayage. But what many don’t know is that there are countless more techniques that hair stylists use to achieve beautiful, rich, dimensional color. There is free-hand hair painting, baby lights, sombre, and flamboyage. It is our job as hair stylists to know what our clients want (and need) and then deliver the right results.

To better understand the difference between these techniques, it is important to break down what it is that distinguishes one technique from the other.

  • Ombre was a huge trend a few years back and is still somewhat in demand now. Ombre is characterized by having two distinct colors in the hair that are diffused and blended at the point where they meet in the hair. This point is usually right below the occipital bone, about halfway down the hair.
  • Balayage is very trendy right now as it is universally flattering because its look is so natural and blended. Balayage is a form of freehand highlighting that is not brought up all the way to the scalp in order to give off a lived-in, very natural look. This technique is great for clients that do not desire a style that requires a lot of maintenance.
  • Baby lights is a lesser known method, much like balayage, that produces a very natural effect. Baby lights are characterized by very selective placement of highlights on the hair, so as to give just a little tease of color. Baby lights require fewer foils than a traditional highlight or partial highlight.
  • Sombre is a much softer version of ombre. It is more subtle and its color variation is not quite as drastic.
  • Flamboyage is a combination of ombre and balayage. It gives a client the ultimate marriage of dimension and a pop of color.

As a hair stylist, and as someone who goes to the salon to get my own hair done, I believe being well informed and educated on your options brings you one step closer to getting the perfect outcome at the salon.