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
Whether you're growing out blonde hair or trying to brighten up a darker 'do, you can't go wrong with this cool-toned brunette ombré look.
Here's an example of sun-kissed, light brown ombré hair 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 welcome volume and texture.
Short hair ombré makes a statement with this cool-toned color that ends with hints of ash blonde. Whether worn tousled or sleek and straight, the result is stunning. "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. Shay Mitchell's rich locks fade seamlessly into a milk chocolate shade, adding a new dimension to her long waves.
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, or rock a middle part like Gabrielle Union for a more subtle look.
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.
We also love a look that goes all out with sunny color, with the blondest pieces placed at the front. It makes the hair look beachy and sun-kissed.
In this memorable brown ombré hair look, Miley Cyrus's color started out chocolatey and slowly transformed to a light oak brown. 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 Rosanne's 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 hair doesn't have to be dramatic unless that's what you're going for. Lily Aldridge proved less is more with this color, which stays dark further down the shaft and embraces slightly lighter ends, especially near the face.
Brown ombré hair combined with curls is a match made in hair heaven. We love how Zendaya's natural hair texture makes the look subtle and a major statement, all at the same time.
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 all dark at the top? No one. We love this style with bright, '90s-inspired face-framing pieces.
We love how a ponytail can highlight the drama of your ombré hair color, including in a sleek, twisted style like this.
Looking for a subtle change? Ease your strands into a brown ombré with these perfectly placed honey-tipped ringlets.
Face Framing Ombré
Crossing a bit into blonde territory without a full head of bleach, one of the best ways to dramatically lighten up is to add face-framing highlights to your ombré look. Here, Sofia Vergara kept her roots fairly dark, but the rest of her color reads sun-kissed.
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 brown ombré 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 face-framing blonde and interspersed lowlights, creates 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."
This chocolate, walnut, toasted chestnut, and honey bronde ombré hair is subtle and perfectly melded. (And yes, the hue names are making us hungry, too).
Another mouth-watering hue of chocolate brown with a subtle transition from dark to light. To keep dyed strands healthy and soft, consider adding a shine serum like the Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Working Serum ($14) to your routine.