Prepare Your Mood Boards: Ombré Hair Is Back
If there's one good thing that came out of the Victoria's Secret era circa the 2000s, it was the Gisele Bündchen–inspired ombré hair movement. The popular hair-color trend, typically defined by lightened color starting from the midpoint of hair to the ends using a gradient method, was everywhere in the early aughts. Now, like most nostalgic fashion and beauty trends, ombré hair is making a comeback 20 years later — and it couldn't come at a better time.
The summer months usually call for brightening your color or touching up your highlights, but ombré hair color isn't limited to light shades. Whether you want to try pink, red, brunette, platinum blond, or even blue hair, this trend knows no bounds. As you put together your summer mood boards, an ombré hair color will give you a fresh look that will stand out from the pack.
The look is definitely a more technical one as it relies on making your hair look as though it naturally shifts from one shade to the next, so you'll want to leave this one up to the professionals if you want to try it yourself. Otherwise, when it comes to upkeep, you'll also want to consider a color-safe shampoo and protein treatment to keep the color vibrant. As for everything else you need to know about the ombré hair-color revival? Keep reading for tips from a top hair expert, as well as inspiration photos should you want to try the trend yourself.
What Is Ombré Hair Color?
Ombré hair can be described as "a gradual gradation from one color into another," says Jason Backe, master colorist and cofounder of Starring by Ted Gibson. One of the most popular versions of this is brunette roots gradually turning into blond ends, but Backe adds that it can be any color you desire — even the most vibrant shades like lavender hair or a fiery red: "I love to see a deep chestnut root shift to a fiery copper at the ends."
You can even mix shades like red, orange, and yellow if you want — the key is to make sure you have a dark, medium, and light shade to ensure it creates that gradient effect.
Balayage vs. Ombre
Balayage has become a popular method for lightening hair, but is it any different than an ombré? The answer is yes. "The main difference is balayage is a technique used to create many different looks or trends, while ombré is a trend and not a technique," Backe says. "You can use the technique of balayage to create ombré, but not all balayage is ombré and not all ombré is created with balayage."
When you use this technique, you're basically free-handing highlights all over, which, if done right, will create a natural gradient effect.
How to Get Ombré Hair
Much like with any trend that requires hair dye, it's a process — and this one especially, which is why you want to make sure to go to a professional. Not only do you need to ensure it seamlessly blends into the next shade, but it requires applying three different shades onto the hair in a specific order, according to Backe.
"The darkest color [should] be applied to the new growth, the medium shade on the mid-lengths, and the lightest color on the ends," he says. "I would use my fingers or a tint brush to slightly blend the dark into the [medium shade] and the [medium shade] into the light. In a perfect ombré, you can't decipher where the shift in color happens, it's a very subtle transition."
Most colorists will know how to execute an ombré hair look, but because there are so many variations, keep scrolling for our favorite takes on the trend.
Ombré Hair-Color Ideas
Brown Ombré Hair
For natural brunettes, take your color up a shade or two with a classic brown ombré. The effect will be what looks to be a natural lightening, taking your hair from dark to light brown.
Brown Ombré Locs
The hair color truly is enough to replicate on all hair textures and protective styles, including locs. No matter how dark your hair is, you can easily go from dark brown or black to light brown or even blond.
Blond Ombré Hair
Take your roots across the blond color spectrum with n blond ombré. In this example, you can see the hair go from more ashy shades to a timeless golden blond.
Pink Ombré Hair
Barbie pink is everywhere, so we wouldn't blame you if you wanted to ride the pink ombré hair wave. These colors go from hot pink to a bubblegum-like shade that even short styles can pull off.
Burgundy Ombré Hair
For a shade that would look gorgeous in the fall and winter, go for a burgundy look. Those with darker hair will enjoy how effortlessly it blends.
Purple Ombré Hair
Purple is one of the more versatile shades as it looks lovely year-round. While this look starts with platinum blond roots and works to a dark purple, you can also start with a lavender shade and go to a deep plum.
Green Ombré Hair
We're practically green with envy over how gorgeous this gradient looks. Instead of having stages of each shade, only the roots feature a deep-emerald green before quickly shifting to lighter shades.
Gray Ombré Hair
Gray is all the rage these days, so why not add a little spice to your hair color with an ombré. No matter if you have blond, brunette, or black hair, just make sure your roots start with the darkest shade and work its way gradually to a gray or white hair color.
Blue Ombré Hair
Bring the sea to your hair with a blue ombré that almost reminds us of Dua Lipa's mermaid hair in the upcoming "Barbie" movie. This one uses black as the darkest shade and slowly lightens to a hypnotic gray-blue.
Red Ombré Hair
This red gives off fire-hot vibes that are perfect for summer. If you're looking to take the classic red ombré color up a notch, have it go from dark red to orange — and in some cases yellow depending on the result you're looking for.
Reverse Ombré Hair
Traditionally, ombré hair goes from dark to light shades, but that doesn't mean you can turn it around. Natural blondes can easily do this style as their hair is already the lightest shade (depending on what you want to do), but even dark hair can do this will a little bleaching.
Pink and Purple Ombré Hair
If you're looking for the embodiment of a fairy princess, this is it. Choose your base color — whether it's a dark pink going to a light purple or vice versa, it's a versatile look that can bend to your color preferences.
Purple Ombré Highlights
For anyone scared of commitment, money-piece highlights are an easy way to experience the ombré trend without having to color your entire head. It doesn't just have to be purple, either; the style extends to all colors.
Dark Ombré Hair
It doesn't matter how dark your hair is, you can still achieve an ombré hairstyle — without having to go blond. For those with darker colors, simply go from black to brown, or you can even incorporate a dark gray.
Pink, Red, and Orange Ombré Hair
Consider this the sunset version of an ombré look. It takes shades of pink, red, and orange resulting in a hypnotic gradient that will really pop.