Here's the thing about balayage and ombré hair color: It's effortless. We're not only referring to the relaxed vibe it gives off, although it does radiate a certain carefree energy that we love, but the post-salon upkeep and maintenance as well. Thanks to the seamless color transition between lowlights and highlights, ombré grows out naturally without the need for color-correcting shampoos, conditioning treatments, or toners. Anyone who has ever gone platinum or pastel knows that this is a major bonus.
"Ombré is a technique of hand-painting color from dark at the roots to gradually lighter on the ends. This color change includes all of your hair going from dark to lighter, subtly starting around the mid-shafts," explains Erica Conan, Director of Education at ColorProof. "Most ombre colors are based off of your natural hair color to allow for easy maintenance and give dimension throughout your hair."
According to celebrity colorist Denis de Souza, ombré is "low maintenance and looks good on pretty much everyone." He adds that the look is highly customizable because "it’s a smooth transition from your natural hair color that melts into subtle highlights and the brighter pops towards the end."
Choosing a Shade: The most important aspect is talking to your stylist about the end result you hope to achieve with ombré. "Your stylist will be able to help you choose colors that not only compliment your complexion but also base the decision on how much maintenance you want to commit to," says Conan.
Maintenance Level: Low-to-medium. "By design, ombre is going to be a lower maintenance color choice allowing you to go longer between salon appointments, so long as the root color you choose is similar to your natural hair color," says Conan.
Goes Great With: Hazel, brown, or green eyes, olive-toned complexion
Price: "On average, you can expect a starting price around $160 for the color service alone (meaning cut not included)," says Conan.
Keep scrolling to see 25 stunning examples of brown ombré hair to show your colorist before your next salon appointment.
Cool-Toned Brunette Ombré
Stephen Garrison is an expert colorist who works between Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and San Francisco. He's responsible for this subtle, cool-toned brunette ombré look.
Strawberry Blonde Ombré
We love the way Janibell's (of @janibellrosanne) hair transitions from dark brown to caramel brown and strawberry blonde.
Ombré works on most hair textures, however the end result may vary. "When going to your consultation, you should arrive with how your hair looks most of the time to give your stylist an idea of what is realistic," suggests Conan.
Ombré with Ringlets
Can we talk about Cleo Wade's brown ombré hair from her exclusive Self-Directed Byrdie shoot? Her ringlets are accentuated by honey blonde tips.
The golden-blonde ends complement olive skin and brown eyes, while the side part helps create an ombré wave beside her face. "Color safe shampoo is a must" for keeping ombréd hair in tip-top shape, says de Souza. We like Verb Ghost Shampoo ($18).
Here's another half-brown, half-blonde ombré color. Even though the two colors are distinct, the line between them is blended and diffused in true ombré fashion.
According to de Souza, "hair when highlighted is like a sponge." He recommends avoiding any shampoos, conditioners, or styling products that are not clear in color. "Using pigmented products will eventually darken your highlights."
Nikki Lee is an expert colorist and co-owner of Nine Zero One Salon. This walnut, toasted chestnut, and honey bronde ombré is subtle and perfectly melded. (And yes, the hue names are making us hungry, too).
Another mouth-watering hue of chocolate brown with bronze ends. To keep dyed strands healthy and soft, consider adding a shine serum like the Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Working Serum ($14) to your routine.