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Ombre Hair: Everything You Need to Know

Discover one of the biggest hair color trends and how you can achieve wow results at home. Combining a sweeping color gradient and low maintenance, Ombre is one of our favorite techniques.

Ombre hair has been one of the biggest hair color trends over the last two decades, showing no signs of losing popularity. Let’s dive deeper to find out exactly what it is, what makes it different from balayage, and how you can get stunning results at home.

What Is Ombre Hair?

Ombre is a French word that means “shadow” or “shade”. Ombre hair typically gradually moves from dark to light with deep roots lightening towards the ends – from grown-in to sun-kissed, completely two-toned and dip-dyed.

Are Balayage and Ombré the Same?

Ombre hair color gradually transitions from dark color at the roots to light color at the ends with a gradient effect. On the other hand, balayage highlights are hand-painted on selected hair sections, often starting from the middle of the section and sweeping upwards towards the root. They create a piecy, dimensional look rather than a more uniform color.

How Do You Create Ombre Hair?

Ombre techniques differ from salon to salon and can also be achieved at home. One way to naturally lighten the ends of hair is to tease locks just above the transition line to avoid any demarcations. Your stylist applies color from the ends up onto the teased area and wraps the section in foil to set. This is called the “foil technique” – also used for highlights. Some stylists prefer applying the dye or bleach freehand for greater control over the results and a more natural finish.

Can You Create Ombre Hair at Home?

You can get amazing results at home with DIY ombre lightening kits featuring easy-to-use applicators, a gentle lightening formula and after-care conditioning. Alternatively, use bleach to lighten your hair and then apply semi-permanent color to the pre-lightened strands.

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What Color Is Ombre?

Ombre isn’t a particular color, the hair just needs to graduate from dark to light. You could use pretty much any shade from red to black. However, one of the most popular color combos is brunette and blonde – a low-commitment yet stylish look that is flattering for everyone. Not sure which color to pick? Try a semi-permanent shade that will wash out or get some pointers for inspiration.

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How to Look After Your Ombre Highlights

The great thing about ombre hair is just how low maintenance it is. However, there are still some tips and tricks to optimize your hair care routine and make the color last longer.

  • Wash your hair less often – you could opt for dry shampoo in between washes
  • Try purple shampoo to neutralize brassiness
  • Deep condition using a hair mask
  • Choose Elseve Color Protect Shampoo and Conditioner that nourish and protect to extend vibrancy
  • Limit hot styling as it can strip away color – let your strands air dry every now and now
  • Cover any grey roots, so you don’t have to redo your whole hair color

Beyond Classic Ombre

  • Sombre (soft ombre) is a subtler version with almost imperceptible highlights. It’s the most natural option to add dimension without too much upkeep.
  • Reverse ombre. If you have blond or light red hair, you may well need to darken or smudge up the root with a deeper shade for more contrast. Why not opt for a complete reverse ombre that goes from light at the roots to darker at the ends?
  • Flamboyage combines traditional ombre with balayage highlights for distinct color that still looks natural.
  • Bold colors. Take ombre further by experimenting with bold colors like blue. Choose your favorite shade and create a gradient that flows from lighter to darker and more vibrant.
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Find your hair color shade

Not sure where to start? Use Virtual Hair Color Try-On to experiment with the latest hair colors and makeup trends. Wear multiple products at once to see the effect on your face and hair.

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