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.
Here's an example of a sun-kissed light-brown ombré that feels attainable and elevated at the same time.
Ash Blonde Highlights
If you want to keep a dark mahogany tone, try this ombré color, which slowly melds into a light brown/ash blonde shade. The waves also provide some welcomed volume and texture.
Garrison shows us how short hair ombré is done with this cool-toned color that ends in a beautiful ash-blonde. It's edgy and perfectly tousled. "I recommend shoulder length being the shortest [for ombré]," says de Souza.
Long Brown Ombré
If your hair is naturally dark brown and you'd rather keep that as your base, look no further than this soft, subtle ombré also courtesy of Garrison. Her raven locks are perfectly melded with chestnut highlights that frame the face and fan out to the tips.
Auburn Brown Ombré
Brown ombré looks that are on the verge of being auburn are right up our alley. Style it to the side to show off the darker roots and pop in a few hair rings for a rocker chic vibe.
Honey Brown Meld
Ombré doesn't have to end in blonde, as proven by this dimensional honey brown transition.
Subtle Brown Ombré
Many ombré styles showcase fairly dramatic transitions from brown to blonde, but this style is a much more understated deep brown to chestnut. Be sure to let your stylist know if you don't want the color shift to be bold.
Summer Blonde Waves
To us, this is the epitome of summer hair goals. The color transition is more stark and makes a bold statement.
The same goes for this look. We love when the blondest pieces are placed at the front. It makes the hair color look beachy and sun-kissed.
Influencer Amy Serrano's hair starts out black and slowly transforms to a light oak-brown color. Warning: this style will certainly make you want to run your fingers through your tousled waves constantly.
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.
Brown ombré combined with curls is a match made in hair heaven. We love how the hair texture makes for an edgy short cut, with highlights adding even more dimension.
A caramel brown ombré and smooth strands are the epitome of chic. The ends are multi-dimensional, yet the color transition is seamless throughout the mid-lengths.
Brunette Ombré With Face-Framing Highlights
Who said ombré has to be from brown to blonde? No one. We love this dark brown to honey brown style with '90s-inspired face-framing pieces.
We like how this client's ombré hair is perfectly parted from dark brown to light brown by this dark green bow.
Looking for a subtle change? Ease your strands into a brown ombré with these perfectly placed honey-tipped ringlets.
From this unique angle, you can see just how seamless the color meld is when ombré hair is done well. Bravo!
For statement-making curls, go for golden blonde ends and an unstructured middle part. De Souza says that color safe shampoo is a must for keeping ombréd hair in tip-top shape. We like Verb Ghost Shampoo ($18).
Creating a half-and-half style has the potential to result in a boxy look, but the seamless transition here, along with the blonde framing her face and the lowlights in the bottom half of her hair, create the perfect balance.
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.