Last Updated on December 8, 2022 by Gaga
What is Ombre Hair Color?
Ombre hair is a look created by a colorist that leaves a darker root color extending downward more than 4 inches until the color shifts to something blonde or vivid. An ombre can also consist of a dark root that extends down to a lighter color than the original base color. But the darker color will be 4+ inches before the next color begins.
This style is easy to maintain and creates long lengths of time between appointments.
How is Ombre Different from Balayage?
Ombre and Balayage do not mean the same thing. It’s important to know the difference so that language doesn’t confuse you or the colorist creating your look.
An Ombre hair color has a darker root that extends downward more than 4 inches. A balayage look may have a natural, darker root as well but it will extend down only 1-3 inches and not more.
Think of an ombre as primarily just two colors. Dark hair extending past 4 inches then suddenly you get a color change. Once you reach the portion where the hair changes to a lighter color, the color can be anything: blonde, pink, grey, rainbow, etc.
With balayage, you will typically have ribbons of light and dark color that start just after a natural root color that extends down no more than 3 inches.
Ombres are often nice for people who want their natural hair color at the top, then something vibrant or exciting just at the bottom.
How Long Will Ombre Hair Color Last?
In short, a very long time. Many people will go 5-12 months before touching up an ombre. It’s a very low-maintenance hair color that keeps you relaxed along the way.
The only part of an ombre that may need more maintenance is the lighter, vivid or blonde color. To maintain the vibrancy of vivid color or fight unwanted yellow tones in blonde ends, you may need to re-tone the hair regularly.
Is Ombre Hair Color Hard to Maintain?
Low maintenance is one of the main reasons for the popularity of the ombre hair trend. Your ends are the only part of your hair that require special attention.
Maintenance for your ombre hair color largely depends on what you get. We can cover some common looks to give you the best idea of what to expect.
Ombre with vivid colors at the ends: expect to touch up a vivid color anywhere from 4-8 weeks after the initial application. For people who want to maintain a bright bold color on their ombre, 4 weeks between appointments isn’t unrealistic.
Ombre on Dark Brunette Hair with Blonde Ends: once the dark brunette color is lifted to a level 9 or 10, a toner can be applied for a softer, cooler blonde. Maintaining the blonde will require more toners about every 6-8 weeks.
Ombre On Brown Hair with Red Ends: this all depends on how vibrant you want your red. To keep it bright and bold looking, a toner every 6-8 weeks may be needed. But always consult with your colorist to know the length of time for brightening the ends of your ombre hair.
Ombre on Dark Blonde Hair with Lighter blonde ends: this look is extremely low maintenance. If you’re naturally a dark blonde, that means the lighter color at the ends of your hair may not need a toner very often. You can expect to do a touch-up when you want to bring your color higher again after growth. The range of an ombre re-touch on dark blonde hair is anywhere from 5-12 months between appointments.
What Shampoo to Use on Ombre Hair
Use a mild color-safe shampoo and avoid products that contain sulfates. Apply conditioner after each shampooing to replenish moisture and make brushing bleached ombre hair easy. Focus on your ends and leave the conditioner for 1-3 minutes before rinsing. To brighten the blonde parts of your hair, use a purple shampoo once a week. Alternatively, you can use a purple mask if your ends are very dry.
To avoid dryness due to frequent shampooing, use a natural-based dry shampoo, preferably one in powder form. However, make sure to use dry shampoo sparingly to refresh your locks without unwanted effects. Frequent use of dry shampoos can lead to product buildup and scalp problems.
How to Protect Ombre Hair Color?
Moisture will always be imperative to maintaining your ombre hair color. Use an oil and a cream-based heat protectant after each time you wash your hair. Apply a deep conditioning mask once a week or biweekly.
Formaldehyde-free keratin treatments are also a good idea to rebuild keratin protein into the core of the hair shaft.
Then there are also metal detox products that can remove unwanted buildup, so your hair stays healthier.
Bleaching can leave your hair overly dry and prone to breakage. To restore strength and softness to your bleached hair, use Olaplex Hair Perfector once a week. Apply the product to damp unwashed hair and leave it on for just over 10 minutes. Then wash and condition as normal. Have a professional colorist assess the damage to your hair and create a plan with you. By figuring out how dry or damaged your hair is after your ombre lightening service, you can create a plan to recover moisture, strength, and the overall integrity of your hair.
Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.