Foils vs Balayage vs Ombré.

As hairstylists up-to-date on the latest fashion trends, we know the difference between a head full of foils, balayage, and ombre. But, as style seeking clients, do you know which is what? We are here to share with you the difference between these styles to help suit your needs, desires and keep you on trend. But, most of all help you know what to ask for.

Full-Head/Half-Head of Foils:

Traditionally, full or partial highlights and lowlights isolate selected strands of hair and treat them with a colour, lightener, or toner within foils. If applied evenly throughout the entire head, using weaving and slicing techniques, foils create a natural blend that mimics the way hair changes colour over time in the sun. Thus, adding a sense of dimension, texture, and complimentary hues to the existing hair. Foils are the most traditional way of restoring radiance to dull hair or infusing a few different shades to the hair, but do not have as a dramatic result as block colouring.


Balayage involves a stylist hand painting highlights so they look even more natural, with depth and dimension that resemble the effects of the sun. Balayage means ‘sweeping’ in French, and is a reference to the sweeping motions of the painting process. When painting, stylists start at the middle of the strand and sweep out toward the root or tip. As a result, there is no severe line of colour at the root and the grow-out is more natural looking, which translates into longer-lasting results. Dark pieces are left throughout the bottom to create dimension and keep a more natural look.


Unlike, foil and balayage techniques, ombre is the actual style. The word ombre comes from the French word “shadow”. It is the seamless transition of a darker shade to a lighter shade and can be achieved through foil or balayage techniques. Ombre is a type of soft colour blocking, where a deep shadow root is left on top and no dark pieces throughout the bottom, with a nice transition between the colours. While ombre is a beautiful low maintenance look, it is also a style that needs to be done right! Though this look suits complexions of all shades, only a careful consultation with a professional stylist can determine which colours will flatter your look. For example, those with darker skin can aim for deep to lighter caramels, while fairer tones can experiment with multi dimensional blondes. Daredevils of all skin types can adventurously play with fashion colours like rose gold or smoky silver for an even more dramatic effect.

Now, that you have a better understanding about these different looks, are you ready for a change? The hardest part about finding someone to achieve these looks is making sure your stylist know the proper techniques to keep your hair beautiful and healthy. As masters of our craft, we have been receiving so much buzz for our work at Hair By The Collective. So be sure to make an appointment today and stay on trend!