We love a hair colour refresh; it’s just the commitment and upkeep involved can be off-putting. That’s why ombre hair needs to be on your radar, since it’s one of the most easy-going colour techniques when it comes to delivering on a pretty shade switch-up that’s beautifully low maintenance.
The technique is a classic for a reason, and its a hit amongst celebs like Hailey Bieber, Beyonce, Kendall Jenner, Serena Williams and Vanessa Hudgens thanks to it’s relaxed cool-girl appeal. But with other hair highlighting techniques like balayage, and ‘foilayage’, to choose from, it can be confusing to know the difference and to pick the right one for you. So to clear things up, here’s everything you need to know.
What is ombre hair?
The word “ombré” comes from the French for “shadow”. Essentially the technique sees colours fade into one another seamlessly, from light to dark. Ombré hair starts with a darker root, then moves towards a lighter colour, (although reverse ombré has become a breakaway statement trend with lighter roots morphing into darker ends).
Classic ombre hair tends to feature deep brunette or dark blonde roots fading into caramel and honey mid-lengths and light blonde ends.
Even better it can solve the problem of root regrowth and ‘graduated roots’ (where roots are grown-out) has become a cool feature. The best part about the look? If you skipped your last highlights appointment, you’re probably already rocking it.
What is the difference between a balayage and ombre hair?
While balayage focuses on multi-dimensional sweeps of colour applied to entire strands to create more contrast horizontally across hair, ombre’s focus is less on highlights and lowlights blended seamlessly amongst other shades, and is more geared towards your colour graduating vertically from lighter ends at the bottom of your hair to dark roots at the top.
How long does ombre hair last?
“Ombre grows out slowly and it will only completely come out when it is cut out. It lasts longer than highlights as it is not from the root so has a softer grow,” explains Kelly Lloyd, colourist at John Frieda Salons. Although, you can always paint over the top of the hair colour if you want a new look.
Does ombre hair work on all hair types?
“Normally ombre is designed for clients with long layered hair,” says Kelly, but we’ve seen it work beautifully on bobs. As for textures, it will be more visible on straight hair, but for curly girls who don’t want to take a colour-change all the way up to their roots, it’s a smart option, too.