Ombre hair isn’t anything new in the world of hair. So many hairstyling trends have become more buzzed about in recent years, like the Ariana Grande-inspired high ponytail or curtain bangs that frame your face effortlessly.
But surprisingly, ombre still hasn’t stopped being a go-to coloring style for many.
It’s a style that looks great on everyone in any era – from the Tumblr girls from way back in 2010 to supermodels strutting their stuff on the runways of New York today.
That sophisticated but still playful hair color gradient that an ombre brings to the table can pretty much be deemed a new classic.
But if you haven’t gotten an ombre or any innovative coloring job before, it can be very intimidating.
It’s scary even if you’re not doing it on your own hair. It’s like walking into a salon and blindly putting your trust in a stylist’s hands.
So today, I’ll be walking you through how to do ombre hair color technique.
After all, knowing the how-to’s and the art of this hair coloring technique is a must before you bite the bullet and get this hairstyle.
Table of Contents
What Is The Ombre Technique?
Although the ombre hair color technique first got popular in the 2000s, it looks like it’s a trend that’s here to stay forever.
You’ll still see lots of fashionable women flaunting a gradient-like hair color that has a darker base shade that morphs seamlessly into a lighter blonde or pastel at the bottom.
The word “ombre” is actually French for “shaded”, alluding to the style of lightening the shade of your hair towards the ends to make a smooth, gradient-like, naturally sun-kissed look.
Someone with an ombre hair color will seem like they have two distinct hair colors that blend nicely into each other.
It’s incredibly beautiful on the hair when done right.
It gives your mane some dimension and gorgeously captures light.
It also makes you look creative, outgoing, and up for experimenting with new things.
Why Do People Like Ombre So Much?
Let’s look at two main reasons:
Many people love ombre hair because it’s super low-maintenance.
We all know that coloring your locks one shade requires root touch-ups every couple of months.
But you don’t have to stress over that when you have an ombre color because it’s a gradient, not a solid color.
All that happens when your ombre grows out is that the lighter parts of your hair get closer to your tips.
Your root regrowth will create no demarcation line, so you can go as long as you want without visiting the salon for a retouch.
It’s perfect for those who want to look fab but have no time for fussy touch-ups.
The average person can last around half a year without visiting the salon to maintain their ombre.
At that point, your lightened hair will probably have grown out quite long.
You’ll likely only come back to lighten your locks from the mid-lengths down again, not to fix any harsh lines or hair damage.
You Can Get Creative
Another reason why people love this style so much is that you can go as wild and creative as you want when picking your shades and tones.
It’s super versatile and lets you express your personality.
You can go natural and traditional, like lightening your naturally dark hair at the bottom.
But you can also go for vibrant, eye-catching colors, like a firetruck red that blends out to a light orange, or a midnight gray that fades into metallic silver.
What’s The Difference Between Ombre And Balayage?
A lot of people get confused between a classic ombre and a balayage – a trendy and more recent type of highlighting the hair.
They both try to seamlessly blend dark and light shades together for dimension.
However, the coloring technique and the overall finish of the hair will look quite different.
While the word “ombre” alludes to changing shades, the root word of balayage “balayer”, also French – means “to sweep”.
This is the entire point of a balayage – it’s a style in which a salon expert will glide a brush into your mane to apply bleach and color for highlights.
Because the balayage method is painted into the hair with freehand, the highlights come out chunkier, thicker, and more blended into your natural color than stripy babylights and other traditional highlights.
The biggest difference is that an ombre is an overall color for your hair that is uniform for the entire mane.
Meanwhile, a balayage merely gives you highlights.
An ombre will be very obvious since it’s a neat, structured gradient.
A balayage on the other hand looks like natural highlights, giving you a more laidback look.
Another thing they don’t have in common is the coloring technique itself.
Creating an ombre usually requires foils or saran wrap.
But a balayage is done freestyle, with a stylist simple painting on the bleach and dye into random streaks of your hair.
Ombre Hair Can Be Tailored To Your Preferences
A tremendous advantage of getting an ombre for your hair is that you can customize it in many ways – from the two colors you want in your hair to where you want your gradient to start.
It’s a great way to express your creativity in your hair.
It also makes for a bold statement color for the more daring ladies.
The first thing you have to think about is what color or type of ombre you want.
The most common type of ombre is a brunette base shade that fades into a light to medium blonde at the tips.
But you can also go against the grain and do it in reverse – naturally blonde hair with darker ends.
The only difference between the two is that you need bleach if you’re lightening the bottom of your hair, and you can use just dye if you want to darken it.
You can even play around with fashion colors for a striking look.
Your deep brown or black hair can have blue or baby pink ends if you want!
And if you don’t mind the frequent root touch-ups, you can dye your hair a bold base color too, like maroon or purple fading into a lighter hue.
Nothing Too Dramatic…
Just make sure that you pick colors that are only one or two shades lighter or darker than your natural shade.
Anything more drastic than that, and you might end up damaging your hair with super-strong chemicals and bleach.
Plus, the more subtle the difference between the colors of your ombre, the more effortless and natural it will appear.
So if you want a flawless, elegant gradient, don’t do a dramatic variance in the colors.
Where The Fading Begins
Aside from the colors, tones, and shades, another important decision you must make is where you want your color fading to start.
If you choose to do it too close to your head, it might look unkempt and like you’re overdue for root touch-ups.
And if it’s too close to the ends, it will look like the dip-dye middle schoolers play around with.
A good place for your dark and light shades to meet is somewhere near the jaw.
How To Do Ombre Hair Color Technique
Curious to know how an ombre is done?
Here’s a step-by-step of what you should expect when you get it done at a salon:
Shading The Roots
First, your stylist will shade your roots.
It’s kind of like smudging a dye close to your natural hair color only to the roots of your hair.
This step is optional but makes all the difference if you have gray roots or existing highlights near the top of your head.
Basically, a root-shading means semi-permanent dye will be applied to your roots with a tint brush just to even out your starting shade.
It brings out the contrast between the dark and light gradient better later on.
Mix The Bleach/Dye
Your stylist will start mixing the bleach (for lighter ends) or dye (for darker ends).
It’s better to have a thicker, creamier mixture so that it doesn’t drip when applied to the hair.
This will give the stylist better control of the brush used to apply it to your hair.
Section The Hair
Your hair will be sectioned off into multiple chunks.
Usually, it will be parted down the middle and separated into two main sections.
The stylist will choose one section to work on first.
They might start from the bottom of your head by taking out the last half-inch or so of hair and clipping the rest up to get it out of the way.
Apply The Bleach
Bleach will be applied to the mid-lengths of your hair.
It’s usually better to put the bleach a little lower than where you want your fade to start.
Then, your stylist might use a brush or their fingertips to blend the lightener a little upwards to the area of hair that is not being colored.
This is what makes the gradient smooth and seamless without the demarcation line.
They’ll lay the hair down free-standing and then put a layer of foil or saran wrap right on top of it.
Then, another small section of hair will be let down and they’ll do the bleaching process all over again, working their way up.
This goes on until all the hair in both sections are done.
Shampoo The Hair
After letting the bleach or dye process, your hair will be shampooed with a sulfate-free shampoo.
If you’re going dark and used dye, you’re all done.
If you only got it bleached, then your stylist will follow up with a toner to get that perfect shade that you were envisioning.
Or if you don’t want a blonde or white hue, you can also dye your hair a whole new color after the bleaching process.
Blow Dry The Hair
To finish it off, your stylist will blow-dry your hair and style it accordingly.
Gorgeous, loose waves or curls are a great way to showcase your new color, so request those if you can.
How To Take Care Of Your Ombre Hair
But there’s only so much a professional can do to make your hair look gorgeous.
In the long run, your ombre’s beauty and freshness – as well as your hair’s overall health – will be in your hands.
Here are some things you can do to care for your ombre hair in the next few months:
Don’t Wash Your Hair Everyday
Remember that ombre hair is still chemically processed hair, so it can be a little drier than before.
Washing your hair too much (especially with sulfated shampoos) can strip your hair of the moisture it needs to stay healthy and shiny.
Instead of shampooing daily, do it every two or three days.
Just use dry shampoo between wash days, and your mane will still look fresh and voluminous.
Use Purple Shampoo
Use a purple shampoo to keep your lighter shade cool and ashy.
Over time, bleached hair can look brassy and overly yellow.
However, purple pigments can help neutralize these warm tones and make your ombre look good as new.
The OGX Blonde Enhanced + Purple Toning Shampoo is perfect for ombre hair for both strengthening your locks and keeping brassiness at bay.
It’s highly pigmented thanks to purple fig and iris, so canceling out warm hues is a breeze.
Plus, it has keratin to fortify your bleached hair.
Avoid Heat Styling Appliances
Using curling wands and flat irons with incredibly high temperatures can strip your hair of the dye or toner used to achieve your perfect ombre color.
As much as possible, go au naturel with your hairstyle.
If you really must heat-style, use a heat protectant beforehand.
The ombre technique is still a popular style that many women opt for when they want a fresher look to their mane.
And for good reason – it’s fun, creativity, individuality, and sophistication all wrapped into one hairstyle.
How to do ombre hair color technique isn’t as complicated as you would think.
All a stylist will do is basically lighten the mid-shafts to the ends of the hair and then tone it to achieve the perfect color for you.
Such an uncomplicated process for a hair color that is sure to turn heads as you sashay down the street.
And remember: aftercare is also super important if you commit to rocking an ombre.
It’s nothing too difficult.
Just maintain your tone with purple shampoo and make good decisions about heat-styling and over-washing, and your ombre will last you a long time.