Ombre or Balayage? Here’s the Ultimate Sunkissed Hair Guide

For hair aficionados like us, nothing says summer like having sunkissed hair. As soon as the heat kicks in, this popular hair color is often the most requested by clients.

Here are the different ways you can achieve natural-looking sunkissed hair without ever going out in the sun!

Sunkissed Hairpainting Styles & Techniques



If you’re going for an all-over brighter look, this technique is the best approach. Highlights are sections of hair that are painted a few levels lighter than the base color, brightening it up. This technique helps add softness and dimension to the hair color by mimicking areas where the sun naturally hits the hair.


Babylights are microfine highlights that add a subtle contrast to the hair’s base color. Designed to imitate a child’s natural sunkissed hair, Babylights are not easily detectable to untrained professionals as it is often applied from roots to ends to make it seem the client is born with it. Using foils is necessary to create that superfine blend and separation.



Ombre is a style that shows a stark contrast between the base color and the ends. It often requires a darker base hair color which gradually fades into lighter ends. To create this effect, a lightener like Original & Mineral Paint Powder Clay Lightener is painted from mids to ends, then backcombed to marry them together and form a seamless blend. The process ends with a toner to remove any unwanted yellow tones.


Considered the sister of Ombre, Sombre creates a more subtle contrast than the latter. To achieve this hairstyle trend, take the darker hue at the regrowth and faintly weave it through the mids and ends to create a less dramatic contrast and soft graduation from roots to ends.

Sombre is a low-maintenance, sunkissed look that can work for just about any hair color.



Balayage is a freehand technique which means “to sweep” in French. It is done by sectioning the hair usually in small triangle sections or bricklay patterns and sweeping the lightener on the surface, making sure to paint areas where the sun naturally touches.

But the key to balayage is tension. This technique requires a flat surface to paint on for creating that super soft, smooth blend. Hence why many prefer to use a board when doing balayage.


Teasylights is another style that closely resembles an Ombre. Like Ombre, the hair is lightened from the mids to ends but leaving a few sections unpainted. This style is perfect for clients who are looking to break up their dark hair color and give it a sunkissed glow.



Also known as Tortoiseshell, this hair color combines balayage and sombre, but instead of lifting sections to blonde – Ecaille uses lush colors like caramel and chestnuts to mimic a tortoiseshell. This technique will come in handy when a natural client wants to give her hair some dimension and tonality.


When blonde meets brunette. Bronde combines the beachy glow of blondes and the warmth of brunettes. This hair color will look amazing on dark hair clients who are not quite ready for the blonde commitment but want a lighter look.


Which of these styles and techniques have you tried behind the chair? Sound off in the comments!

Start painting with our Hairpainting Packages!