The hair world borrowed the term "ombre" from the French word meaning shaded or shading. Ombre hair color is generally darker at the roots through the mid-shaft and then gradually gets lighter from the mid-shaft to the ends. It is usually achieved using a balayage technique and is ideal for clients looking for a low-maintenance style.
The ombre hair coloring technique has taken the hair color world by storm. From professional models to the girl next door, everyone's getting in on the action of this awesome hair coloring trend. The style has been adopted by many celebrities, such as Alexa Chung, Lauren Conrad, Nicole Kidman and Beyoncé.
The ombre technique can seem intimidating to stylists that are used to the control of foils but as difficult as this technique can look, the results are always gorgeous and way easier than you think.
Benefits of Ombre Hair Color
One of the many reasons this technique is so great is that it looks good on almost anyone, but there are other benefits.
- It's a great technique for your low maintenance clients or people that are just trying out hair color for the first time.
- Ombre requires very little upkeep, making it easier for it to remain on-trend.
- Using this technique allows you to stay current by introducing your clients to new trends.
Stepping Away From the Foils
Balayage is the technique that is used to achieve an ombre look. Do not be tempted to try this technique with foils as you will end up with harsh lines of demarcation.
Keep in mind that when you're working with a lightener that is not incubated by foil, it's going to act a bit differently.
Keep your lightener moist (so it will stay activated) and work with a higher volume developer on clients who have layers of color on their ends.
How to Keep the Ombre Process Clean
Ombre hair color is usually a two-step process with the base color being done first and then the highlights added to clean, dry hair. You can do the all over color and highlights at the same time, but this is where is can get pretty messy.
Keep in mind how long the hair will take to lift with the lightener. You don't want your base color to be finished processing before the highlights and, in my experience, the hair always takes longer to lighten outside of a foil packet.
Mix it Up
This hair dye technique is a great option for both natural and unique looks; keep it subtle by going only a few shades lighter than your base hair color, or contrast with a colorful shade such as blue or pink. It's a great way to work a bold shade into your hair in a more subtle way than simply dying the whole head.
It's also possible to get the ombre look at home with some clever deployment of boxed dye. You may want to consider buying an ombre-specific kit, like L'Oreal Paris Feria Wild Ombre ($16) which will include everything you need to achieve the look on your own.