You’ve tried so many different things with your hair: Colors, highlights, cuts, bangs, and perhaps even a few wilder things like neon streaks or extensions. Hankering for something new and fresh—but don’t know what you possibly could do that you haven’t already given a spin?
As it turns out, one of the hottest new hair trends is both something you may not have tried already—and is a refreshingly easy and flattering look that can be adapted for nearly any hair length, personal fashion style, or skin tone. It’s called ombré; which is a term that refers to anything that is shaded or graduated in tone. Ombré can be used on fabrics, wall treatments, paintings—and your hair! One color blends or fades into another, creating a visually stunning cohesive look.
If you’re ready to try the ombré hair look for yourself, you’ll be happy to know that most salons are up to speed on the procedure and can give you the look you want. Additionally, ombré is a very easy look to maintain, since—unlike expensive all-over highlights or single-process color—there’s no need for constant touch-ups. Showing your roots is what the look is all about!
That said, you need to decide which look you want, as there are many options within this trend.
First Step: Get Your Hair Ready
The condition of your hair matters significantly when doing ombré. Keep in mind, the ends of your hair—which tend to be the most fragile part of the shaft—are the area that will receive the most treatment. If your hair is long and has already undergone chemical processes, you may need to trim off a few inches to avoid irreversibly damaging your ends.
You will need to invest in a very good conditioner to protect your final treatment. Since you are working with, basically, two different color categories of hair (dark on top and light on the bottom), you might even consider using two different products: a shampoo designed for brunette hair on your roots, and a conditioner for highlighted hair on your ends.
Can you do ombré on short hair? Sure! Ombré can work for basically any length hair except for the most extreme pixie cut. You won’t get as dramatic a gradual contrast as you would on longer hair, but you certainly can achieve a striking look. Even more subtle ombré treatments can give short cuts a fresh, sun-kissed appearance that will lighten up your overall look.
Which Ombré are You?
When deciding to try ombré, the best place to start is by asking yourself, “what is my personal style?” There are several different types of ombré treatments you can select from, and each one suits a different type of person.
Are you a high-fashion, risk-taking type, or someone who likes to stand out in a crowd? Try doing an extreme-color ombré. You can either go for a fade into a bright or unexpected color (such as pink, red, or lilac, for example). If you want to just flirt with this type of color, you can ask for just the tips to be “dipped” (which makes it really easy when you are tired of the look—just pop in the salon for a trim and have your stylist snip the color right off!).
Or, if you wish to stick with natural colors but still be edgy, try getting dramatic with contrast. You can go from dark into very light, or just the reverse (keep in mind this will require root touch-ups if you aren’t naturally blond).
Are you more of a natural, no-fuss type? Ombré works beautifully in a more natural treatment that plays off shades that are in the same family as your God-given hair color. Brunettes and darker blonds can lighten up several shades gradually, giving the appearance of having been out in the sun…or perhaps surfing in the ocean!
Ombré for Different Skin Tones
If you are a woman of color, ombré is a wonderful way to try lighter hair and get a nice change to your look. Often, women with darker complexions and hair find an overall lightening to be harsh or artificial looking. However, ombré side-steps this problem by allowing both the natural roots to shine through, as well as allowing the eye a gradual descent into lighter hair framing the face.
The look can be especially beautiful on Asian or Latina hair. African Americans can also achieve a lovely, striking result. Don’t be afraid to try!
Are you naturally blond? If you’re on the sandy side, you’ll get a golden look from simply lightening your ends a few shades. If you’re very blond, go for a reverse ombré and darken your ends—or, you are a “natural” for the bright or neon color ombré treatment, as your hair won’t need lightening prior to adding the desired shade. Go for it!
Even natural redheads can try the ombré look. Pro hairstylists suggest staying more in a subtle range here, keeping the red intact while achieving a summery strawberry blond toward the ends. (You can, of course, go more extreme, but keep in mind it will require quite a bit of processing to remove the red pigment from your hair).
Whichever route you decide to take when trying the ombré trend, be sure to wear your new hair with the most important element of all: A shot of confidence from the knowledge you’re strutting in major style!