No doubt you’ve heard of them, seen them and maybe even tried them – but do you really know the difference between hair colouring styles and techniques?

From ombre and balayage to baby lights and scalp bleaching, the world of hairdressing can be a confusing blur. You may know what look you want, but what it’s actually called can be a different ball game. And, when you’re in the hairdressers chair, communication is key. Consider this your translation guide to your next dream look!


Deriving from the French word ‘balayer’ which means ‘to sweep’, balayage references the way in which colour is applied to the hair, rather than the colour itself.

The technique is used to gradually build colour for a more natural looking effect. It can be a free-hand technique which means the end product is less stripy and blocked.

Unlike traditional hair colour application, no foils are needed! Balayage is also an ideal way to keep your hair looking beautiful while transitioning from dark to light.


Now, this style in particular is often mistaken for balayage. And, fair game – it’s very similar!

Yet, there’s one defining factor to spot the difference between the two like a pro. Again, it’s freehand colouring technique but it’s the colour graduation that melts.

With balayage, the colour transition can be elongated and stretched down as the hair flows.

With ombre, it’s a much quicker transition from darker roots to lighter ends. More so, balayage is a technique whereas ombre is a style.


The little sister to ‘highlights’, babylights are much more delicate, imitating a natural, brighter hue the sun usually induces.

They’re an ideal way to subtly add a little change to your look without taking a leap.

They’re great for any length and of hair and most importantly, very low maintenance!


You may ask for highlights expecting a scalp bleach result, but there’s certainly a difference!

A scalp bleach is one tone, rather than a mixture of tones and hues.

The name also gives the technique away – colour is applied to your scalp and entire hair instead of applied to just the roots onwards. If you want blonde, white or silver then a scalp bleach is the way to go.


The answer to a low maintenance hair colour. If you’ve ever struggled with the routine regrowth touch ups then thank us later because this will no doubt become your holy grail.

Put simply, a root stretch blends out your natural colour into your chosen hue seamlessly.

The result: effortless hair, natural colour and dreamy transitions. This style is becoming much more popular for the ‘just woke up like this’ look.