Hairdressing technical colour terms.

I realise a lot of the time in hairdressing we end up talking about colours in numbers and letter.  I have seen the blank look across clients faces wondering what on earth we are on about. Throw into the mix all the different technical terms like Ombre, Balayage, Ecaille and its understandable it all gets confusing.

Heres my run down on a few of them to make your salon visit a bit easier.

Balayage is a French word meaning to sweep or to paint.  The purpose of balayage is to create natural sun-kissed highlights with less noticeable regrowth lines.  Balayage is only applied on the surface of the hair, It can also be called a freehand technique because you do not need to use foil. Many hairdressers believe clay based lightener is best for this technique as the lightener drys on the outside but stays wet internally. I follow TheBusinessofBalayage on Instagram. This is a picture of their work below.


Babylights are highlights that are so fine and delicate that it looks as though you have had them since a baby. This is a great technique for giving dimension to blonde whilst looking natural.

Ecaille is the French word for tortoiseshell.  When I Think of Ecallie I think of golden highlights paired with darker, rich caramel tones.  In fact very like my tortoiseshell cat.  Check out Shannon Keel on instagram, one of my favourite stylists.


Ombre –
Ombré describes the gradual blending of one color hue to another. This technique requires very little upkeep when blended from your natural base colour. However you can go to the opposite extreme using bright fashion colours blended.  My Instagram

Sombré Hair Color
Sombre ( Subtle Ombre) is a version of the Ombre but a more wearable, natural look . Breaking up the base bringing the highlights higher particularly around the face and using more blending tones. Think Bronde – A Natural looking browny blonde.

Splashlights are meant to mimic a flash of light hitting the hair.  I personally don’t like this technique when the colours are high in contrast, Dark with a Platinum splashlight.   However there are a few that are created flawlessly and done where it actually looks like light reflecting off the hair. Black with a navy blue splash light etc.

Sounds simple doesn’t it, hair colour that looks like pixels.  I can assure you it certainly isn’t easy though.  Few have mastered this look and in all honesty I can’t see myself trying anytime soon.  When done pixel hair can look awesome though. Check out Phildoeshair definitely the master of this technique.



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